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The Last of Us

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Subject: 2013 in video gaming, Sam Raimi, Sony Computer Entertainment, Reference desk/Archives/Science/2014 August 16, European Gaming League
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The Last of Us

The Last of Us

Box art for the PlayStation 3, featuring protagonists Joel and Ellie.

Developer(s) Naughty Dog
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s) Bruce Straley
Neil Druckmann
Designer(s) Jacob Minkoff
Programmer(s) Travis McIntosh
Jason Gregory
Artist(s) Erick Pangilinan
Nate Wells
Writer(s) Neil Druckmann
Composer(s) Gustavo Santaolalla
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action-adventure, survival horror
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

The Last of Us is an action-adventure survival horror video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment on June 14, 2013 for the PlayStation 3. The player controls Joel (voiced and motion-captured by Troy Baker) escorting the young Ellie (Ashley Johnson) across a post-apocalyptic United States. The player uses firearms, improvised weapons and stealth to defend against hostile humans and zombie-like creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus.

The Last of Us received widespread critical acclaim for its writing, voice acting, sound design, level design, music and art direction. Its narrative was praised for its characterization, subtext, exploration of the human condition, and depiction of LGBT characters. Considered one of the most significant titles of the seventh generation of video games, and by many critics as one of the greatest video games of all time, The Last of Us received over 200 "Game of the Year" awards, and was the second-largest PlayStation 3 video game launch of 2013 (after Grand Theft Auto V), selling over 1.3 million units in its first week. By July 2014, the game had sold over 7 million units worldwide.

An updated version for the PlayStation 4, The Last of Us: Remastered, was released on July 29 in North America, July 30 in Australia and Europe, and August 1 in the United Kingdom. It includes the downloadable content episode Left Behind, previously released on PlayStation 3 on February 14, 2014.


The Last of Us uses a third-person perspective. The game involves gunfights, melee combat, and a cover system. For most of the game, the player controls Joel; Ellie and other companions are controlled by the AI. The player must traverse post-apocalyptic environments, fighting off infected and gangs of hostile human survivors. The player can attack enemies directly, or use stealth tactics to pass undetected.[1]

A player creating an item
The real-time crafting system, which can be accessed in the backpack.[2]

To defeat enemies, players can use long weapons such as rifles, shotguns and bows, and short-barreled guns such as pistols and revolvers; they can also scavenge limited-use melee weapons such as pipes and baseball bats. Bottles and bricks can be thrown to distract, stun or attack enemies.[3] Weapons can be upgraded using collectable parts at workbenches,[4] and Joel's physical abilities, such as his health bar and crafting speed, can be upgraded by collecting pills and medicinal plants.[5] Equipment such as health kits and [4] The game does not pause while crafting or swapping unholstered weapons, forcing the player to manage their time effectively in combat.[4]

The game features periods without combat, often involving conversation between the characters.[6][7] The player must solve simple puzzles; for example, by using floatable planks to move Ellie (who cannot swim) across bodies of water, and using ladders or dumpsters to reach higher areas.[8] Story collectibles, including notes, maps, and comics, can be scavenged and viewed in the backpack menu.[9]

The game features an AI system called "Balance of Power".[10] This new system allows enemies to react realistically to any combat situation they are placed in by taking cover if they see the player, calling for help if they need it and even taking advantage of the player's weaknesses, such as when Joel runs out of ammunition, is distracted, or when he is being attacked by other enemies. In turn Ellie is able to help out Joel by throwing objects at threats to stun them, announcing the location of enemies Joel is unable to see (such as when he is flanked) and, in the latter half of the game, using a pistol.


The Last of Us has three multiplayer game types, each hosting a maximum of eight players.[11] "Supply Raid" and "Survivors" are both team deathmatches, the latter without respawning. In "Interrogation", teams "interrogate" enemies after defeating them to learn the location of the enemy team's lockbox; the first team to capture the enemy's lockbox wins.

In every mode, the player picks a faction, Hunters or Fireflies, and must keep their clan alive by collecting supplies during matches. Each match counts as one day; by surviving 12 "weeks", the player has completed a journey and can choose their faction again.[12] Killing enemies, reviving allies, and crafting items earn parts that can be converted to supplies; parts can also be scavenged from enemies' bodies. As the clan's supplies grow, its members earn more load out points to carry more equipment.[13] Players can personalize their characters with hats, helmets, masks, and emblems, and customize their loadouts to suit their playing style.[14]


In 2013, Joel (Troy Baker) is a single father living near Austin, Texas, with his twelve-year-old daughter Sarah (voiced by Hana Hayes). One night, an outbreak of a mutant Cordyceps fungus ravages the United States, which transforms its human hosts into cannibalistic monsters. As Joel, his brother Tommy (Jeffrey Pierce) and Sarah flee the chaos, Sarah is shot by a soldier and dies in Joel's arms.

In the 20 years that follow, much of civilization is destroyed by the infection; survivors live in heavily policed quarantine zones, independent settlements and nomadic groups. Joel works as a smuggler with his friend Tess (Annie Wersching) in a quarantine zone in Boston. They hunt down the arms dealer Robert (Robin Atkin Downes) to recover a stolen weapons cache. Before Tess kills him, Robert reveals that he traded the goods to the Fireflies, a rebel group fighting against the quarantine zone authorities. The leader of the Fireflies, Marlene (Merle Dandridge), promises to double their stolen cache in return for smuggling a teenage girl, Ellie (Ashley Johnson), to Fireflies hiding outside the quarantine zone.

Joel, Tess and Ellie sneak out in the night, but after an encounter with a patrol, they discover Ellie is infected. Full infection normally occurs in under two days, but Ellie claims she was infected three weeks ago, and that her immunity may lead to a cure. The three fight their way out of the quarantine zone to the drop-off point, but find that the Fireflies there have been killed. Tess reveals she was bitten during an encounter with the infected; believing in Ellie's importance, Tess sacrifices herself against pursuing military soldiers so Joel and Ellie can escape.

Joel decides to take Ellie to his brother Tommy in hope that he knows the remaining Fireflies' whereabouts. With the help of Bill (W. Earl Brown), a smuggler who owes Joel a favor, they acquire a working vehicle. Driving into Pittsburgh, they are ambushed by bandits and their car is wrecked. They ally with two brothers, Henry (Brandon Scott) and Sam (Nadji Jeter); after they escape the city, Sam is bitten by an infected but hides it from the group. He attacks Ellie when he is turning. Henry shoots Sam and commits suicide.

In the fall, Joel and Ellie finally find Tommy in Wyoming, where he has assembled a fortified settlement near a hydroelectric dam with his wife Maria (Ashley Scott). Joel contemplates leaving Ellie with Tommy, but after she confronts him about Sarah, he decides to stay with her. Tommy directs them to a Fireflies enclave at the University of Eastern Colorado. They find the university abandoned, but learn that the Fireflies have moved to a hospital in Salt Lake City. As they leave, they are attacked by bandits and Joel is severely wounded.

In the winter, Ellie and Joel shelter in the mountains. Joel is on the brink of death and relies on Ellie to care for him. While hunting for food, Ellie encounters David (Nolan North) and James (Reuben Langdon), scavengers willing to trade medicine for food; David reveals that the university bandits Ellie and Joel killed were part of his group. They kidnap her, intending to force her to join their group of cannibals. She escapes after killing James but David corners her in a burning restaurant. Joel recovers from his fever and sets out to find Ellie. He reaches Ellie as she kills David; Joel consoles her before they flee.

In the spring, Joel and Ellie arrive in Salt Lake City and are captured by a Firefly patrol. In the hospital, Marlene tells Joel that Ellie is being prepared for surgery: to produce a vaccine for the infection, the Fireflies have to remove and examine Ellie's infected brain, killing her in the process. Joel battles his way to the operating room and carries the unconscious Ellie to the parking garage. There he confronts and kills Marlene to prevent the Fireflies from pursuing them. On the drive out of the city, Joel lies to Ellie about what happened, telling her that the Fireflies had found many other people who are immune, but were unable to create a cure and have stopped trying. The pair arrive on the outskirts of Tommy's settlement. Ellie expresses her survivor guilt and asks Joel to swear that his story about the Fireflies is true; he does.

Left Behind downloadable content

After the fall segment of the main story, Ellie scavenges for supplies inside an abandoned mall to treat the wounded Joel. She contends with infected and the hunters that attacked them at the science lab.

In flashbacks set weeks before the main story, Ellie's friend Riley (Yaani King) has joined the Fireflies and convinces Ellie to sneak away with her to an abandoned mall. Riley reveals that she is being deployed to another city. The pair argue and reconcile. Ellie begs Riley to stay; they kiss. Drawn by the noise of their activities, infected pursue Ellie and Riley through the mall, and both are bitten. They consider suicide, but choose to embrace their final hours together.


The Infected, a core concept of the game, were inspired by a segment of the BBC nature documentary Planet Earth (2006), which featured the Cordyceps fungi. These fungi can grow from an ant's head, and take control of the ant's motor functions, forcing it to help cultivate the fungus.[15] The Infected were developed to explore the question: What if a strain of Cordyceps could infect humans?[16] Could the fungus grow from a human head? Could it animate human corpses to shamble about while lacking in intelligence or consciousness?

Other inspirations included the films True Grit (2010), Road to Perdition (2002), The Road (2009), 28 Days Later (2002), Children of Men (2006) and The Day of the Triffids (1962);[17] the graphic novel and TV series versions of The Walking Dead (2003); the non-fiction books The World Without Us (2007) and Polio: An American Story (2005); and the novels The Road (2006), City of Thieves (2008) and The Last Town on Earth (2006).[18]

Naughty Dog began work on The Last of Us after completing Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in 2009. For two years, Naughty Dog kept the new intellectual property secret; and for the first time, the company, led by co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Ballestra, split into two teams to work on both projects concurrently. This was a bold move for Naughty Dog, who had never before introduced two new intellectual properties within the same hardware generation.[19] One team developed Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (2011) while the other began work on The Last of Us.[20][21][22] The new project was headed by studio game director Bruce Straley, who brought on Mark Richard Davies, lead designer for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010).[23]

Concept art illustrates the stealth and cover mechanics that are prominent features of The Last of Us. Joel and Ellie frequently hide from survivors hunting for them, in addition to wandering Infected.

The Last of Us did draw from the Uncharted series, according to creative director Neil Druckmann. In Uncharted 2, protagonist Nathan Drake bonds with the Tibetan guide Tenzin through collaborative gameplay. This proved to be an effective method for storytelling, so the The Last of Us team developed Joel and Ellie with this in mind, using gameplay to build a dynamic and complex bond between the two characters. Although Druckmann and Straley researched post-apocalyptic and dystopian films, books, and television shows, they found historical fiction to be an unparalleled study of humans in quasi-apocalyptic settings. Humanity has been threatened by global epidemics before: The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic illustrated the depths of self-protection and paranoia that humans are capable of under threat of extinction, whereas the polio epidemic of the 1880s demonstrated the influences of socioeconomic classes when assigning blame in a great disaster. Druckmann realized that The Last of Us would not need a stereotypical villain to provide karmic foil to his protagonists—not when humanity itself was eroding.[24] Finally, Naughty Dog also took cues from video games like Ico and Resident Evil 4, in story development, character building, interaction, tension, and action. Designer Ricky Cambier stated that they wanted to create as realistic a survival game as possible, with clear character motivations and responses.[25]

Druckmann endeavored to create a compelling and rich narrative in The Last of Us, and to raise the bar and the industry whose storytelling has grown lazy.[26][27]

After learning that the research firm was planning on running focus tests exclusively with male gamers, Naughty Dog requested that focus groups be expanded to include women. Druckmann stated, "My big surprise during this process is that the research group wasn't planning on focus-testing female gamers—it's something we had to specifically request. I hope this is a relic of the past that will soon go away".[28]

The game went gold on May 15, 2013.[29]


The Last of Us (Video Game Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Gustavo Santaolalla
Released June 7, 2013 (2013-06-07)
Genre Classical, acoustic
Length 56:21
Label Sony Computer Entertainment

The team wanted an emotional soundtrack rather than a horrific one.[30] In an interview with GameStar, director Neil Druckmann explained why: "Typically, films and video games use music to help define or enhance a mood. In No Country for Old Men, the lack of music actually helped intensify the tension between the characters that was very palpable. Because creating an elevated sense of danger and tension was important to us, we took inspiration to use music only judiciously and find other ways to make your palms sweaty."[31]

The soundtrack to the The Last of Us was composed by the two-time Academy Award for Best Original Score winner Gustavo Santaolalla.[22] Much of the score features Santaolalla on guitar and other instruments. The main theme is acoustic guitar-led, an arpeggiated figure in a minor key over tribal percussion, building to a dissonant climax of fiercely strummed chords. The orchestral portions of the score were recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville by the Nashville Scoring Orchestra.[32]

The score was released on iTunes on June 7, 2013[33] and was included as pre-order DLC in The Last of Us Sights & Sounds DLC Pack.[34] It has received critical acclaim.[35]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[36]

One week prior to the release of the Left Behind downloadable content, another soundtrack was released, featuring compositions from the downloadable content along with additional compositions from the main game, including works from additional composers.

Aside from the official soundtracks, licensed tracks also appear in the game. In the main game, during the section aptly titled "Alone and Forsaken", Joel and Ellie listen to the songs "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" and "Alone and Forsaken" both by Hank Williams. In the Left Behind downloadable content, Ellie and Riley dance to the Etta James' cover of the song "I Got You Babe". "String Quartet No. 3 in E-Flat Minor, Op. 30" by Tchaikovsky and "String Quarter No. 4 in E-Minor (B.19)" by Antonin Dvorak are also present in the DLC.


The game was first teased before the [39]

Sony Computer Entertainment officially unveiled the game, a brand new intellectual property from Naughty Dog, created by a previously unpublicized Naughty Dog development team, at the Spike Video Game Awards 2011. A gameplay trailer, made up of in-game footage,[22] showed a man and a teenage girl fending off other survivors and what appeared to be people with unusual fungal growth before running out into a dilapidated city covered in greenery, reminiscent of the film I Am Legend.[40] Shortly after the unveiling, Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells posted new details of The Last of Us on the PlayStation Blog:

The Last of Us is a genre-defining experience that blends survival and action elements to tell a character-driven tale about a modern plague decimating mankind. Nature encroaches upon civilization, forcing remaining survivors to kill for food, weapons and whatever they can find. Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave young teenage girl who is wise beyond her years, must work together to survive their journey across what remains of the United States.[41]

At E3 2012 the first publicly released gameplay demo for The Last of Us was premiered. It introduced a combat scenario to the audience, showing firsthand the tools of the trade Joel and Ellie must use to attempt to defend themselves from a small group of bandits, as well as how the bandits would coordinate and respond based on Joel's current situation and amount of bullets he had.[42] The first official television spot for the game was aired on the season finale of AMC's The Walking Dead on March 31, 2013.[43] On May 31, 2013, a playable demo was released via God of War: Ascension disc-owners. The demo features the Outskirts level of The Last of Us in which Joel and Ellie, along with Tess, encounter multiple Infected enemies.[44]

A four-issue comic book miniseries titled The Last of Us: American Dreams, written by Druckmann and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, was published by Dark Horse Comics. The comics serve as a prequel to the game taking place a year before the events in the game and chronicles the journey of a younger Ellie and another young survivor Riley.[45] The first issue was published on April 3, 2013.[46] In a show of demand for the comics and the game, the first issue sold out and a reprint was made available on May 29, 2013. The second issue of the comics was published on the same day. This issue was set is the same mall the Ellie and Riley revisit in the DLC, providing many ties from the game to the comic.[47][48] The third issue was published on June 26, 2013.[49] The fourth issue was published on July 31, 2013.[50] All four issues were republished as one single package on October 30, 2013.[51]


The Last of Us was first officially released on June 14, 2013, worldwide, with the exception of Japan, where it was released on June 20, 2013.[52][53] Although first stated to be released on May 7, Druckmann later revealed via the PlayStation Blog that the studio had decided to push the release date five weeks back to June 14.[54] The European release of the game was censored and does not feature dismemberment and exploding heads in the multiplayer mode.[55]

Retail editions

Contents of Post-Pandemic Edition

Exclusive to North America was the Survival Edition, which included a steelbook edition of the game, full-size hardcover artbook by Dark Horse Comics, and the first issue of the The Last of Us: American Dreams comic also published by Dark Horse. The Sights and Sounds DLC Pack and a Naughty Dog sticker sheet were included as well.[56]

Exclusive to GameStop locations in the United States was the Post-Pandemic Edition. It included a twelve-inch premium statue of Joel and Ellie by Project Triforce, a steelbook edition of the game, The Last of Us: American Dreams first issue comic, Sights and Sounds and Survival DLC packs, and a Naughty Dog sticker sheet.[56][57]

Exclusive to Europe was The Last of Us: Ellie Edition and the The Last of Us: Joel Edition. They came with character themed steelbook cases and Blu-ray Discs, screen print effect posters, DualShock 3 controller skins, and LittleBigPlanet player character costumes. Miniature The Last of Us artbook and first issue comic editions were included also, as well as the Sights and Sounds and Survival DLC packs.[58]

The Last of Us is also available in a download edition, downloadable on the PlayStation Store. It features a unique download installer that lets the player start the game halfway through the download process.[59]

Downloadable content

Two bonus downloadable content (DLC) packs were included with certain pre-ordered editions. The Sights and Sounds Pack included the official game soundtrack composed by Gustavo Santaolalla, The Last of Us Dynamic Theme for the PlayStation 3, and two winter Joel and Ellie avatars. The Survival Pack featured bonus skins for Joel and Ellie for after the single-player campaign is completed, in-game cash and for the multiplayer part, bonus XP called supplies, early access to special customizable items and brawler skill.[60]

On May 28, 17 days before release, community strategist Eric Monacelli of Naughty Dog posted on the PlayStation Blog showcasing the Season Pass. The pass included reduced price access to three unreleased DLC packs, of which the one will be single-player, a first for Naughty Dog, with the other two for multiplayer maps and other expansions. It also gave the player access to a few helpful single-player bonuses for their firearm and physical abilities, as well as to the downloadable 90 minute developmental documentary Grounded: Making of The Last of Us[61] which was later release for public download and viewing on February 28, 2014.

On September 27, 2013, Naughty Dog announced the release schedule for The Last of Us downloadable content. The first DLC called the Abandoned Territories Map Pack was released on October 15, 2013 in North America and on October 16 in Europe along with patch 1.05.[62][63] The pack includes four new multiplayer maps including Suburbs, Bus Depot, Hometown and Bookstore, all of which are based on locations found in-game.

A DLC titled Nightmare Bundle was released on November 5, 2013 in North America and November 6, 2013 in Europe. The bundle contains a collection of ten head items, nine of which are available to be purchased individually, and a Nightmare Mask which is available exclusively to those who purchase the Season Pass or the Nightmare Bundle DLC.[64]

At the PlayStation 4 Launch Event on November 14, 2013 a new DLC, Left Behind, was announced. The content, which serves as a prequel to the main storyline and sequel to the American Dreams comics, features Ellie and her friend Riley.[65] Left Behind was released on February 14, 2014.[66]

A third DLC bundle was released on May 6, 2014 in the United States and May 7, 2014 worldwide. The Reclaimed Territories Map Pack features new multiplayer maps including Wharf, Water Tower, Capitol and Coal Mine. The Grounded DLC adds a new difficulty to the main game and Left Behind. The Professional Survival and Situational Survival Skills bundle DLCs include 8 new multiplayer skills, and the Survivalist Weapons bundle DLC includes four new weapons. Along with the patch also came a new multiplayer weapon, a Full Auto Rifle, and new trophies for both the Abandoned and Reclaimed Territories Map Packs.[67][68]

A fourth set of DLCs, again focusing on the multiplayer mode Factions, was announced in late July 2014. The DLC features new maps, guns, masks and gestures, which were shown off during a live Twitch stream on July 24, 2014.[69] The new masks and gestures were released on July 29, 2014, to coincide with the Remastered release on PS4. The new maps were included in the game's August 30, 2014 patch for free while the new guns were made available on the same day for a price. This is the only DLC bundle not included in the game's Season Pass.

The Last of Us Remastered

On April 9, 2014, Sony announced The Last of Us Remastered, an improved version of The Last of Us for the PlayStation 4; the game was released on July 29, 2014 in North America.[70][71] The Last of Us Remastered has improved visuals, native 1080p display at 60 frames per second (a 30fps lock is also available), new advanced audio options, in-cinematic director commentary, in-game Photo Mode, and bonus downloadable content, such as the Left Behind single-player expansion chapter, the Abandoned Territories multiplayer map pack, and the Reclaimed Territories multiplayer map pack.[70][72] Development of Remastered started immediately after the development of the PlayStation 3 version ended.[73] On July 14, 2014, Naughty Dog lead animator Mike Yosh posted a photo of a gold bar on Twitter hinting that The Last of Us Remastered has "gone gold".[74] Like the original title on the PlayStation 3, The Last of Us: Remastered received critical acclaim, with particular praise given for its high FPS rate and increase in graphics.



The Last of Us was exhibited for the general video game audience at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 (E3 2012), where it won five Game Critics Awards for Best of Show, Best Original Game, Best Console Game, Best Action/Adventure Game, and a Special Commendation for Sound.[75] The game received several other E3 2012 Best of Show awards from media outlets such as Cheat Code Central,[76] The Daily Telegraph,[77] Destructoid,[78] The Electric Playground,[79] Electronic Gaming Monthly,[80] GameSpot,[81] and PlayStation Universe.[82] The Last of Us was nominated for Most Anticipated Game at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards,[83] while the game's Gamescom 2012 trailer won for Best Trailer at the 4th Annual Inside Gaming Awards.[84]

Critical reception

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 95% (PS3)[85]
96% (PS4)[86]
Metacritic 95/100 (PS3)[87]
95/100 (PS4)[88]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 10/10[89]
Destructoid 10/10[90]
Edge 10/10[91]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 9.5/10 [92]
Eurogamer 10/10[93]
Famitsu 38/40[94]
Game Informer 9.5/10 (PS3)[95]
10/10 (PS4)[96]
GamesRadar 10/10[97]
GameSpot 8/10[98]
IGN 10/10[99]
Joystiq 5/5 stars[100]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 10/10[101]
Official PlayStation Magazine (Australia) 10/10[102]
Polygon 7.5/10[103]

The Last of Us received critical acclaim. Reviewers particularly praised its story, acting, sound design, graphics and emotional depth. According to review aggregating website GameRankings, The Last of Us received an average review score of 95.04% based on 67 reviews;[85] according to Metacritic, it received an average review score of 95/100 based on 98 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[87] Both GameRankings and Metacritic rate it as the fifth-best PlayStation 3 game.[104][105]

Edge described The Last of Us as "the most riveting, emotionally resonant story-driven epic of this console generation"; Oli Welsh of Eurogamer called it "a beacon of hope for its genre"; Matt Kamen of Empire wrote that it was "a masterpiece that will be looked back upon favourably for decades."[91][93][106] Matt Helgeson of Game Informer wrote that the game's "graphical chops are unmatched in console gaming", and Colin Moriarty of IGN wrote that "everything that happens is immediately more memorable, more powerful, and more poignant because your surroundings are so believable".[95][99] Phillip Kollar of Polygon wrote that "The Last of Us '​ graphics, animation and sound design are some of the best I've ever experienced."[103] Tom McShea of GameSpot wrote that "the music and sound design are exceptional," and the Edge review praised the way that the soundtrack "adds to the earthiness of the game without stepping on the toes of every moment of calm."[91][98]

The game's plot, particularly the interaction between Joel and Ellie, was praised. Helgeson of Game Informer wrote that the story was a "high mark for interactive storytelling," due in part to "one of the most poignant, well-drawn relationships I've seen in video games."[95] Moriarty of IGN said "the interplay between Joel and Ellie, as well as the other characters you meet on your adventure, is one of the great highlights in The Last of Us."[99] Welsh of Eurogamer wrote that the relationship between Joel and Ellie "has been heralded as a powerful emotional hook," and Kollar of Polygon said that "because the game spent so much time convincing me to care about these characters, its emotional high notes were even more effective, and its many sad scenes even more devastating."[93][103]

Moriarty of IGN wrote the gameplay was "incredibly satisfying", and praised the combat, stealth, and crafting aspects of the game.[99] Welsh of Eurogamer praised the "breathtakingly confident game-making", while Hegelson of Game Informer called The Last of Us "an impressive action game that distills the strengths of the survival horror genre into something that's both deeper and more accessible."[93][95] Kollar of Polygon was critical of the gameplay, writing that it "leans more on the traditional trappings of third-person shooters," and that forcing the player to fight waves of enemies were contradictory to the rest of the game, which generally presented more options and showed violence as uncomfortably necessary and disgustingly realistic.[103]

LGBT themes

The Last of Us was praised for its LGBT people in the media, named Bill one of "the most intriguing new LGBT characters of 2013", calling him "as deeply flawed but wholly unique a gay character found in any storytelling medium this year."[108]

In the DLC Left Behind, released on Valentine's Day 2014, Ellie and her female friend Riley share a kiss. Kotaku described the kiss as "video gaming's latest breakthrough moment ... a big deal because video games have never suffered from an overabundance of queer characters (let alone two young women in a queer, mixed-race coupling)."[109] Writer Druckmann said the reaction to the kiss was "a mixed bag" but mostly positive.[110]


The Last of Us was a commercial success. In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number one in the sales charts and stayed there for six weeks, beating records set by FIFA 12 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II.[111][112][113] The Last of Us also topped the charts in the United States, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Spain and Japan.[114] It sold 1.3 million copies in the first week,[115] and 3.4 million copies worldwide in three weeks,[116] making it the fastest-selling PS3 game of 2013 prior to the release of Grand Theft Auto V.[117][118] As of July 2014, The Last of Us had sold over 7 million copies worldwide.[119] In its first week, The Last of Us: Remastered sold 632,000 copies.[120]


The Last of Us won Best New Action Adventure Game from Games,[121] and won User Choice Prize at the PlayStation Awards 2013.[122] It was ranked #1 on Empire '​s list of the 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time.[123]

Adaptations and possible sequel

On March 6, 2014, Sony announced that Screen Gems will distribute a film adaptation of The Last of Us.[185] On July 25, 2014, it was announced that Neil Druckmann will write the film and Sam Raimi will produce, and that Maisie Williams was in talks to star as Ellie.[186][187][188]

The cast of The Last of Us performed a live reading of selected scenes in Santa Monica on July 28, 2014, with live music by composer Gustavo Santaolalla. The performance was directed by Druckmann, with graphics by Alex Hobbs.[189]

In a February 2014 interview with Eurogamer, writer Neil Druckmann said the possibility of a sequel to The Last of Us was "about 50/50", but that Naughty Dog needed to find a story "really worth telling, and that's not repeating itself." He stressed that the team had no definite sequel plans.[190] In July 2014, Naughty Dog community strategist Arne Meyer said that not considering a sequel to The Last of Us “would be a disservice" to the studio and the fans.[191]


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