When you think about some of the greatest games released over the past few decades, I know for a fact that The Last of Us will always be on that list. The game has been at the top of my list since it was released a few years ago alongside its sequel.
Both its main characters, Joel and Ellie, have remained some of the best and most dynamic characters in video game history. However, there is still a lot more to learn about the games and their wonderful characters. Here are the top 15 amazing facts about The Last of Us.
The Infection Is Kinda Real
In The Last of Us, we already know that the world was engulfed in an infection that causes zombie-like creatures to roam around the Earth. This was highly inspired by a real-life fungal infection from a species called Cordyceps fungi that affects insects.
Much like in the games, the fungal infection would target and grow out from their heads. This fungus infects insects and can gain control of their motor functions causing them to act strangely.
Thankfully, there is no record of it being transmissible to humans, or else it would be a nightmare come true for all of us in the real world. This became the inspiration for the monsters in the game.
The Early Concept
Many believed that creator Neil Druckmann first had the concept of The Last of Us when he saw a documentary about a fungus. This inspired him to create the idea of the game however, there is still more to the story.
It was during his days at the university that Druckmann struck with the idea of two leads fighting for their lives as well as understanding their place in this post-apocalyptic world.
In this iteration, he described the two main characters as an old police officer who was tasked to protect a young girl. The police officer was bound to have a heart condition which barred him from doing a lot of the action which allowed players to take on the role of the young girl.
The Game That Sold Millions
For a game as groundbreaking as The Last of Us, I would not have thought that it would reach world record-breaking heights. In the first week of its release, the game sold around 1.3 million copies across the world. It then went on to sell more than 3 million copies in its first three weeks.
The game continued to climb the charts afterward and soon became a hit worldwide. Many thought that the positive critical reviews aided in the sales but it was the word of mouth that truly became the game’s ultimate promotion.
Soon after, developer Naughty Dog announced that it was working on a sequel.
RUN YOU R NEARLY THERE DONT QUIT!!
Many fans know that the game is riddled with a lot of Easter eggs. However, there is one near the end of the first game that was cheekily inserted by the developers to help inspire the player to finish the game.
This happens around the time when Joel is running around the Firefly hospital to save Ellie where he encounters different eye charts. At this point, Joel encounters one chart that has a very different set of letters.
The letters would form the words “RUN YOU R NEARLY THERE DONT QUIT!!” I was too caught up in the game around this time to notice this Easter egg however, it was one way to help encourage players to never give up especially when we’re this close to the end of the game.
Going Full Circle
A lot of players have discovered something quite similar between the game’s beginning and ending. At the beginning of the game, we see Joel and his daughter Sarah fleeing from the rampage of the Infected and as he carries his daughter to safety, they are shot by a soldier killing his daughter.
This soon sets the game in motion and by the time we near the end, we see Joel in almost the same predicament where he carries Ellie to safety from the Fireflies while being shot by Marlene.
Both Joel and Ellie were able to make it back home safely which ties the story in a nice bow with how Joel was able to save the young girl under his care this time.
A More Personal Experience
Many fans noted that the best part of the game was the relationship between the two leads.
I was also one of the millions that were rooting for both of them from the beginning with how dynamic their relationship was even though they were not technically father and daughter.
However, in an interview with Druckmann, he mentioned that the relationship between the two characters was a very personal experience for him when he became a father. He even mentioned that he would do everything for his kid.
The Last of Us was in development for two years before it was revealed to the public. It wasn’t until the intro segment of the Uncharted game at the time where a newspaper revealed that scientists were baffled with a deadly virus that the game was somewhat revealed.
Many fans of the Uncharted series were also baffled by the newspaper article about a virus but some fans pieced together the information that a new game was about to be released and The Last of Us was later announced.
Split Into Two Teams
Speaking of Uncharted, Naughty Dog’s popular franchise at the time was developing a follow-up to their massively successful game.
It was also this time that the studio decided to split the team into two. The one team would work on the next Uncharted game while the other team was sent to do something else.
It was at this point that the studio decided to make another franchise with the new team and The Last of Us was in production.
Tess Was Supposed To Be The Main Villain
Tess was initially planned to be the game’s main villain. After being betrayed by Joel, she would hunt him for the entire game and capture him. This would leave Ellie to rescue him and kill Tess.
However, the developers thought that it was too bland to have such a generic villain and a very vanilla plot.
Their Last Name
It is quite impressive that none of us have been asking the last names of our beloved characters. This shows that players and fans don’t care that much about basic information as long as we are indulged by the game’s story.
However, for those who are curious, the Japanese manual of the game revealed Joel’s last name as Miller and Ellie’s as Williams. There are still no claims that these are true or official.
Naughty Dog Tried To Deceive Us
When the game was revealed, fans were eagerly asking a lot of questions about whether or not Ellie would be a playable character.
Naughty Dog tried to lie about this on several occasions to avoid spoiling the entire gameplay.
The studio hoped that it would be a big discovery for players to know that they can play Ellie in the game.
The Voice Actors Also Played A Huge Role In The Story
Many fans often give praise to Neil Druckmann for creating the main story of The Last of Us.
However, both voice actors of Joel and Ellie also provided a lot of contributions to the story, especially with their dialogues.
The two had a lot of input especially with their relationship especially when it comes to the dialogue. This resulted in a collaboration that proved to be highly successful.
Ellie Was Supposed To Be Mute
Another interesting fact about Ellie is that Druckmann, while developing Uncharted 2, initially conceptualized Ellie as a mute.
He wanted to have a character that was able to form a bond and a relationship with one another without having to say a word.
However, things were changed to have Ellie being able to speak which proved to be very significant to allow players to connect with Ellie.
Llewelyn Moss Was The Inspiration For Joel
Druckmann has mentioned that while conceptualizing Joel, he was inspired by the character in the film No Country for Old Men played by Josh Brolin named Llewelyn Moss.
Both characters were fatherly figures and had a very rugged approach to things. However, it was Bruckmann’s role as a father that solidified Joel’s character in the end.
I’ve noticed that many of the locales used in The Last of Us were almost covered in vegetation.
It was already given that the modern world had crumbled and nature had taken back the metropolis.
Much of the game’s environment was inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina specifically in New Orleans.
It’s amazing how one video game could have so much amazing details hidden from the players let alone the entire inspiration of the game. It is very interesting to discover that many of the game’s plots and details came from a very personal place from the developers.
Nevertheless, this makes The Last of Us even more awesome than it already is.