Just a thought from someone who hasn't played any of the TLOU games, but I absolutely respect them from a distance. Just putting this out as a question that's been in my head for the last couple of days amidst the discussion surrounding TLOU2 since it's release. I don't care about spoilers for the franchise either. A quick summary was fine for me so respond however way you want, but try and keep it civil.
The first game is about Joel using Ellie as a clone for what he lost at the beginning of the game and not recognizing that Ellie's life is hers decide. I mean kids grow up and live the life they want to live and that's totally fine. He was going to get that struggle with his daughter, but if it was Joel's daughter who was immune then she wouldn't get a chance to take a single step in the direction of the Fireflies with Joel standing in front of her. Joel was calm enough to allow Ellie to get on the operating table, but she was still rescued with a huge cost. I honestly can't blame Joel for stopping the vivisect of a child if every promise they met on the way to the Fireflies ended up with terrible results.
So Ellie is saved, humanity is doomed, and everyone gets to play a game about living together with the impending doom looming over everyone, but most important of all is that we're playing a game with Ellie cutting that time short on people who absolutely are justified in their right to do what they do at the beginning of TLOU2. Joel's decision not only secured the worst result for everyone, but Ellie living makes the process horrible on the way there.
I guess what I'm wondering is if Naughty Dog absolutely needed around 30 hours to show how horrible that life is? Most important for me is if Naughty Dog nails the job of putting the gravity and the fault of the violence in TLOU2 squarely in Joel's hands? Her life takes more from characters than what her death could have given them even if it meant moving the needle one step in the direction of a cure, but she didn't make that decision.