The Last of Us is an action-adventure survival horror video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 3 in June 2013. Players control Joel, a smuggler tasked with escorting a teenage girl named Ellie across a post-apocalyptic United States. The Last of Us is played from a third-person perspective; players use firearms and improvised weapons, and can usestealth to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus. In the game's online multiplayer mode, up to eight players engage in co-operative and competitive gameplay.
Development of The Last of Us began in 2009, soon after the release of Naughty Dog's previous game, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The relationship between Joel and Ellie is the focus, with all other elements developed around it. Actors Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson portrayed Joel and Ellie respectively through voice and motion capture. Both assisted creative director Neil Druckmann with the development of the characters and story. The original score was composed and performed by Gustavo Santaolalla.
Following its announcement in December 2011, The Last of Us was widely anticipated. It was acclaimed for its characterization, subtext, exploration of the human condition, and depiction of female characters. The Last of Us became one of the best-selling PlayStation 3 games, selling over 1.3 million units in its first week and over eight million units within fourteen months. Considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time, it won year-end accolades, including multiple Game of the Year awards from several gaming publications, critics, and game award shows, making it one of the most awarded games in history.
After the game's release, Naughty Dog released several downloadable content additions; The Last of Us: Left Behind adds a new single-player campaign following Ellie and her best friend Riley. An enhanced edition of the original game, The Last of Us Remastered, was released for the PlayStation 4 in July 2014.[a] A sequel, The Last of Us Part II, was announced in December 2016.
The Last of Us is an action-adventure survival horror game played from a third-person perspective. Players traverse post-apocalyptic environments such as towns, buildings, and sewers to advance the story. Players use firearms, improvised weapons, and stealth to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus. For most of the game, players control Joel, a man tasked with escorting a young girl, Ellie, across the United States; Ellie and other companions are controlled by the artificial intelligence. Players also control Ellie throughout the game's winter segment.
In combat, players can use long-ranged weapons, such as rifles, shotguns, and bows, and short-range weapons such as handguns and short-barreled shotgun. Players can scavenge limited-use melee weapons, such as pipes and baseball bats, and throw bottles and bricks to distract, stun, or attack enemies. Players can upgrade weapons at workbenches using collected items. Equipment such as health kits and Molotov cocktails can be found or crafted using collected items. Attributes such as the health meter and crafting speed can be upgraded by collecting pills and medicinal plants. Health can be recharged through the use of health kits.
Though players can attack enemies directly, they can also use stealth to attack undetected or sneak by them. "Listen Mode" allows players to locate enemies through a heightened sense of hearing and spatial awareness, indicated as outlines visible through walls and objects. In the dynamic cover system, players crouch behind obstacles to gain a tactical advantage during combat. The game features periods without combat, often involving conversation between the characters. Players solve simple puzzles, such as using floating pallets to move Ellie, who is unable to swim, across bodies of water, and using ladders or dumpsters to reach higher areas. Story collectibles, such as notes, maps and comics, can be scavenged and viewed in the backpack menu.
The game features an artificial intelligence system by which hostile human enemies react to combat. If enemies discover the player, they may take cover or call for assistance, and can take advantage of players when they are distracted, out of ammunition, or in a fight. Player companions, such as Ellie, can assist in combat by throwing objects at threats to stun them, announcing the location of unseen enemies, or using a knife and pistol to attack enemies.
The online multiplayer allows up to eight players to engage in competitive gameplay in recreations of multiple single-player settings. The game features three multiplayer game types: Supply Raid and Survivors are both team deathmatches, with the latter excluding the ability to respawn; Interrogation features teams investigating the location of the enemy team's lockbox, and the first to capture such lockbox wins. In every mode, players select a faction—Hunters (a group of hostile survivors) or Fireflies (a revolutionary militia group)—and keep their clan alive by collecting supplies during matches. Each match is equal to one day; by surviving twelve "weeks", players have completed a journey and can re-select their Faction. Killing enemies, reviving allies, and crafting items earn the player parts that can be converted to supplies; parts can also be scavenged from enemies' bodies. Players are able to carry more equipment by earning points as their clan's supplies grow. Players can connect the game to their Facebook account, which alters clan members' names and faces to match the players' Facebook friends. Players have the ability to customize their characters with hats, helmets, masks, and emblems.
In September 2013, an outbreak of a mutant Cordyceps fungus ravages the United States, transforming its human hosts into cannibalistic monsters known as infected. In the suburbs of Austin, Texas, Joel (Troy Baker) flees the chaos with his brother Tommy (Jeffrey Pierce) and daughter Sarah (Hana Hayes). As they flee, Sarah is shot by a soldier and dies in Joel's arms. In the twenty years that follow, most 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 partner Tess (Annie Wersching) in the Boston, Massachusetts, quarantine zone. They hunt down Robert (Robin Atkin Downes), a black market dealer, to recover a stolen weapons cache. Before Tess kills him, Robert reveals that he traded the cache with the Fireflies, a rebel militia opposing the quarantine zone authorities.
The leader of the Fireflies, Marlene (Merle Dandridge), promises to double their cache in return for smuggling a teenage girl, Ellie (Ashley Johnson), to Fireflies hiding in the Boston capitol building 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 trio make their way to their destination through hordes of infected, but find that the Fireflies there have been killed. Tess reveals she has been bitten by an infected; believing in Ellie's importance, Tess sacrifices herself against pursuing soldiers so Joel and Ellie can escape. Joel decides to find Tommy, a former Firefly, in the hope that he can locate the remaining Fireflies. With the help of Bill (W. Earl Brown), a smuggler who owes Joel a favor, they acquire a working vehicle. Driving into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Joel and Ellie 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. As his infection takes hold, Sam attacks Ellie, but Henry shoots him dead and commits suicide.
In the fall, Joel and Ellie finally find Tommy in Jackson, 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, Utah. They are attacked by bandits and Joel is severely wounded. During the winter, Ellie and Joel shelter in the mountains. Joel is on the brink of death and relies on Ellie to care for him. 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. Ellie manages to lead David's group away from Joel, but is eventually captured; David intends to recruit her into his cannibal group. She escapes after killing James, but David corners her in a burning restaurant. Meanwhile, Joel recovers from his wounds 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: in hope of producing a vaccine for the infection, the Fireflies must remove the infected portion of Ellie's brain, which will kill her. Unwilling to let Ellie die, Joel battles his way to the operating room and carries the unconscious Ellie to the parking garage. He is confronted by Marlene, whom he shoots and kills to prevent the Fireflies from pursuing them. On the drive out of the city, Joel claims that the Fireflies had found many other immune people but were unable to create a cure, and that they have stopped trying. On the outskirts of Tommy's settlement, Ellie reveals that she was not alone when she was infected and expresses hersurvivor guilt. At her insistence, Joel swears his story about the Fireflies is true.
A four-issue comic book miniseries, titled The Last of Us: American Dreams, was published by Dark Horse Comics from April to July 2013. Written by Druckmann and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, the comics serve as a prequel to the game, chronicling the journey of a younger Ellie and Riley.
On March 6, 2014, Sony announced that Screen Gems will distribute a film adaptation of The Last of Us, written by Druckmann and produced by Sam Raimi. By January 2015, Druckmann had written the script's second draft, and performed a read-through with some actors. Very little work occurred following this, as Druckmann stated in April 2016 that the film had entered development hell. On November 15, 2016, Raimi told IGN that the film was at a standstill after Sony had a disagreement with Druckmann. On July 28, 2014, the cast of the game performed a live reading of selected scenes in Santa Monica, California, with live music by Santaolalla. The performance was hosted and directed by Druckmann, with graphics by Alex Hobbs. Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams expressed enthusiasm in playing Ellie, and was in talks with both Druckmann and Raimi to take the role.
In February 2014, Druckmann said the possibility of a sequel was "about 50/50", and the team needed to find a story "really worth telling, and that's not repeating itself". In July 2014, community strategist Arne Meyer said that not considering a sequel "would be a disservice" to the studio and the fans. In June 2015, discussing his future with Naughty Dog on a Q&A panel, actor Nolan North mentioned: "I know they're doing a Last of Us 2"; Druckmann later responded to these comments, stating that a small team at Naughty Dog had explored ideas and begun building prototypes relating to a sequel, but were interrupted when the team shifted development to Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, which was eventually released on May 10, 2016.
At the PlayStation Experience event on December 3, 2016, a sequel titled The Last of Us Part II was announced to be in early development. The game's first trailer revealed the return of Ellie and Joel, and takes place about five years after the first game; players will assume control of Ellie. Santaolalla will return to compose the game's music, and Druckmann will return to write the story, alongside Halley Gross; Straley will not return as game director.
- It is said that Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is the closest proof we have to an actual zombie apocalypse.
- The Ophiocordyceps unilateralis disease can also be found in the works of The Girl With All The Gifts.