The Last of Us franchise also contains many interesting things that even hard fans are not sure about, even if the game’s original idea was not recognized.
Invite readers to join me in discovering the last five interesting things of The Last of Us. Surely few people know that the original idea of The Last of Us has not been recognized. The development of a new project is just a superficial moment of the development team at Naughty Dog.
5 / From comics to PlayStation and vice versa
In 2004, Neil Druckmann was studying at Carnegie Mellon University for a master’s degree in entertainment technology. There, he had a project to develop a video game based on Night of the Living Dead. Then, director/writer George A. Romero will select a winning project from the participants.
Druckmann devised a game based on the elements of the game Ico (PS2) and the movie Sin City, in which a police officer had to protect a girl from a bunch of undead and at the same time fight. With heart disease. Later, the policeman died, and she became the main character. However, Romero chose another project instead of Druckmann.
Neil Druckmann doesn’t always want to be a game designer. Initially, he wanted to work more on comics. After failing with the project based on Night of the Living Dead, Druckmann intends to rely on that failure, transforming it into a comic book called The Tune. Unfortunately, Image Comics seemed to dislike the idea, so he temporarily shelved the series.
However, Druckmann’s dream of writing comics came true. With the help of artist Faith Erin Hicks, Neil Druckmann has released a comic series called The Last of Us: American Dreams, which serves as a prequel to the official storyline of The Last of Us.
By now, Neil Druckmann must thank Mr. Romero for rejecting his project. Because otherwise, The Last of Us would not have been born. And his dream of writing comics also turned in another direction.
4 / The Last of Us is the result of boring development Jak and Daxter
After the success of Uncharted 2, Naughty Dog divided its development team into two groups. One group is devoted to the Uncharted brand. In contrast, the other, including Neil Druckmann and Uncharted two director Bruce Straley, are tasked with bringing Jak and Daxter to the gaming needs of the next generation of gamers present.
However, Neil Druckmann did not want to develop Jak and Daxter anymore. He tried to make a more realistic idea. In the end, the developers realized that they only used the names Jak and Draxter for marketing purposes and sought advice from higher people. The board of directors agreed, the development team started to come up with the idea. And from there, The Last of Us, based on Neil Druckmann’s failure in school, was born.
3 / Campaign against gender stigma in the gaming industry
In The Last of Us, players will spend most of their time controlling Joel. Ellie primarily plays a side-kick role (the protagonist has less chance to shine). However, she plays a significant role in the main story. Sadly, at first, the board of directors tried to reduce Ellie’s position to a minimum in promotional campaigns.
Before the game’s release, Ashley Johnson, aka Ellie, talked about many people’s feelings and thoughts that games would not seem to sell well when there was a female-centric cover image. In another interview, Neil Druckmann admitted that he was pressured to push Ellie back in The Last of Us box art. In the end, he and the others at Naughty Dog did the opposite, taking Ellie to the center and leaving Joel behind.
It is one of Naughty Dog’s beautiful acts against gender discrimination, which has long existed in the gaming industry. Even in the early stages of development, there was the idea that parasitic fungal disease only affects women. Druckmann immediately objected to it, arguing that a game based on shooting women would show fans that those who make games are hypocrites.
2 / Phone number of the service adults
The Last of Us contains a lot of exciting elements. Though not related to the game, it makes gamers very curious. For example, right after the game was launched, fastidious gamers discovered two full phone numbers in an ad on a wall. Do you know? It turned out to be a hotline serving senior adults.
Druckmann had to explain, those phone numbers are not a feature, not Easter Eggs or intentionally included. It was just an accident. The developers thought changing the phone numbers to 555 would make them invalid because the movie often does so. Shortly after that, a patch was quickly released to remove those two numbers from the game.
1 / Joel’s last shot was to correct the mistake with Sarah
Many gamers see that the beginning and end of The Last of Us are relatively similar in structure, albeit in the opposite order. In the prologue, Joel and her daughter Sarah flee their homes, using cars to escape those who are infected. To flee, Joel carried Sarah and ran to the edge of town. In the end, Sarah was killed by a soldier’s shot.
After saving Ellie from the researchers, Joel carried her to the car parking area. The way Joel carried Ellie reminded gamers how he had carried Sarah before. And Joel’s last shot seemed to redeem the mistake of not protecting Sarah from the soldier’s bullet.
This hypothesis was further reinforced when Neil Druckmann also admitted that the opening shot was for Sarah, and Joel was the one who fired the shot, rescuing Ellie. Although Joel’s actions were controversial, perhaps after that, Joel was relieved a lot more. I thought that if I didn’t save Ellie at that time, Joel would feel even sorer for letting the two girls go before her eyes.