(Photo Credits: Screengrab from HBO Max’s Official YouTube Account)
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
If you are a gaymer, chances are you’ve either already heard of this action-adventure game called The Last of Us or you’ve already played it.
This post-apocalyptic survival game was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2013 initially for PlayStation 3. A decade later, the game—which has had several iterations already plus a second part released for PlayStation 4 (released in June 2020) and a remake version of the first game for PlayStation 5 (released in September 2022)—has developed an occult following.
I think that it’s understandable, given the fact that The Last of Us is not just your typical zombie game. As a player, you have to be great at stealth. But that’s not all, the game is story-driven, and you’re not just fighting the zombies alone, you have to fight other people as well for resources: food, weapons, and medicine.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that HBO created a television adaptation of the game. The show remained faithful to the game in that its story follows the journey of Joel Miller (played by Pedro Pascal), one of the main protagonists. Joel is one of the survivors of the plague that devastated mankind. Twenty years into the pandemic, Joel is now a hardened man. He’s lost everything and practically everyone except for his brother and is literally living on the edge.
Like in the game, Joel has to smuggle Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey)—a 14-year-old girl—out of the quarantine zones (QZs) and bring her to the base of the Fireflies. To say that the task is hard is an understatement seeing as the pandemic is not over yet, the infected are everywhere, as did the FEDRA soldiers who check people whether they are infected or not.
FEDRA is short for the Federal Disaster Response Agency. Originally a military arm of the government, FEDRA replaced the United States government following the outbreak of the Cordyceps fungus. They declared martial law and having developed the Mycotoxin Containment Protocols, FEDRA ensures that people observe their guidelines.
I don’t want to go into much detail, because I think that you should watch the series yourself, even if you’re not a gaymer. Be warned though, if you are a crybaby like me you’ll probably end up crying every episode just as I have done so far but for me, it’s all worth the grief because both the show and the video games are amazing. There were some differences in that of course, the series is more detailed story-wise as they really took the time to explain the origins of the pandemic: what caused the outbreak and how it spreads.
So far, there have been three episodes out and the last one featured the story of the gay couple Bill and Frank. And here lies another key difference. In the video game, their story was not highlighted but in the third episode of the TV series, their backstory was told to the viewers.
I love that they took the time to do this because it showed that even if it’s practically already the end of the world, love will still be there. Love will remain inside of us in spite of everything.
The Last of Us also stars Gabriel Luna as Tommy Miller, Joel’s brother; Merle Dandridge as Marlene; Jeffrey Pierce as Perry; Nick Offerman as Bill; Murray Bartlett as Frank; Nico Parker as Sarah Miller, Joel’s daughter; to name a few.