The Last of Us is one of the greatest games to have ever been released for the PlayStation 3. Joel and Ellie have become timeless characters in the history of video games, and the mettle of Naughty Dog had finally been proven with the launch of this masterpiece. The game has gone on to become one of the most critically acclaimed bestsellers of the seventh generation of gaming, also shipping out a million units when its remaster released on the PS4. Director Bruce Straley and Creative Director Neil Druckmann have managed to develop an extensively detailed work of art that will remain in the minds of players for decades after its launch.
With the announcement of The Last Of Us Part II at PSX 2016, gamers can't wait to get their hands on the sequel to this fantastic game — a game rife with various secrets and details that can still blow your mind even four years after its release. Here are 15 of the most WTF things you never noticed or knew about The Last Of Us.
And —of course— SPOILERS!
15 Peculiar Message On An Eye Chart Near The End Of The Game
Near the end of the game, when Joel is rushing through the Firefly hospital in order to save Ellie, there are various eye-charts that can be seen at one point of the level. One of these eye-charts has a rather interesting message, which reads as follows — "RUN YOU R NEARLY THERE DONT QUIT !!"
It's almost as if the game is trying to make you not lose hope as you trek through the hospital in order to save Ellie. Or, y'know, it's just a way to tell an eagle-eyed player that the end of the game is approaching.
While this particular easter egg is quite humorous, there's another deeper secret in the ending that most players might've missed...
14 The Ending Sequence Is Similar To The Beginning Of The Game, Albeit In Reverse Order
Many gamers have theorized that the beginning and end of the game were meant to be similarly structured, albeit in a reverse order. In the prologue, Joel and his daughter Sarah flee their home, using the car to escape the infected and survey the damage before it crashes. In order to flee Joel carries Sarah, who dies in his arms as they are shot at by a soldier.
In the ending, Joel carries an unconscious Ellie (reminiscent of how he carried Sarah), shooting Marlene as he places Ellie in a car in order to get away from the Fireflies. The duo eventually head back home — in this case, Tommy's settlement.
This theory is reinforced by the fact that Neil Druckmann stated in one of his interviews that it was intentional that the opening shot in the game was of Sarah and the ending shot was of Ellie.
13 A Newspaper Headline Almost Spoiled The Surprise Announcement
The Last Of Us originally came into conception after Naughty Dog split its teams into two groups. The game was supposed to be announced before the launch of Uncharted 3, but the announcement was delayed. This led to an oversight on Naughty Dog’s part that led to a rather interesting newspaper headline, which can be found on the counter of the bar at the beginning of Uncharted 3.
The headline of this particular newspaper reads: “Scientists are still struggling to understand deadly fungus.” This is a reference to the Cordyceps Brain Infection that has destroyed most of humanity in The Last Of Us. Thankfully, no one picked up on this blunder, and the announcement of The Last Of Us went ahead as planned.
Speaking of the bar at the beginning of Uncharted 3…
12 O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub Bears A Striking Resemblance To The Bar At The Beginning Of Uncharted 3
Uncharted 3 starts you off in the shoes of Nathan Drake as you defend yourself in a bar brawl after a deal goes south. Keen-eyed gamers have noticed that this bar bears a striking resemblance to O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub that you need to traverse in The Last Of Us once you reach Pittsburgh. This is also the same bar in which you can find the newspaper mentioned above, leading many gamers to believe that The Last Of Us and Uncharted share the same universe. The name O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub itself is a reference to Sully, Nathan’s trusted friend and advisor in the Uncharted series.
There’s another unusual thing in Pittsburgh that is not quite as wholesome as this one though...
11 A Billboard Displays Some Rather Unsavory Real-Life Phone Numbers
There’s a billboard in Pittsburgh that has a pest control flyer posted on it, which displays two 555 numbers that one might presume to be fake. However, dialing these numbers can prove to be rather… interesting, for lack of a better word. Both numbers have been verified to be legit phone sex hotlines that were added in the game by mistake. Quite a ‘Naughty’ Dog indeed (I'm sorry).
Neil Druckmann had stated that this was a genuine mistake, and the numbers were patched out in the 1.02 update. You can still dial the numbers if you want to confirm this for yourself. Y’know, for research purposes.
10 Bill’s Reaction To Frank’s Suicide Note
Most of the people who've played The Last Of Us already know about Bill's homosexuality. This is implied through various subtle hints, such as the single mattress in Bill's room, the two deck chairs on the debris block, his anger at Ellie when she moves a chess piece of what seems like a game in progress. Or, y'know, the mag that Ellie steals from him.
One of the secret interactions players can have with Bill happens when you find the hanging body of his — implied — partner Frank. The player can pick up his suicide note, where Frank mentions that he hated Bill's guts. This note can be handed over to Bill, who'll read the note for a while before crumpling it up and throwing it away.
9 Joel And Ellie's Surnames Are Revealed In The Japanese Game Manual
For a game heavily reliant on its characters, it's quite odd — and somewhat impressive — that none of the characters have a last name. With the exception of Riley Abel (who appears in the Left Behind DLC), not a single secondary character has their surname revealed throughout the game. Even the surname of the two main characters of the game is a mystery. However, if you bought the Japanese version of the game, then you already have the answer to this question.
In the Japanese manual of the game, Joel's surname is listed as "Miller," while Ellie's is "Williams." While this is not considered canon by the official Last Of Us wiki, it's still listed in the official game manual, so it's worth a look.
8 Area 5 Is Also The Company That Did The Behind-The-Scenes For The Last Of Us
Early on in The Last Of Us, you need to follow and interrogate a person named Robert who decided to double-cross you and sell the weapons you needed to Firefly, thereby triggering the events that lead to Joel and Ellie's adventure. Robert stays in Area 5, where you need to catch him in order to uncover the betrayal. If the term 'Area 5' sounds familiar to you, it's probably because the name is shared with the company that made the Behind The Scenes and the 'Grounded' documentary for The Last Of Us.
The symbol of this company can also be seen on the containers when you enter Area 5, denoted by what seems to be a stylized asterisk
7 There Are Three PS3 Consoles Present In-Game
It's no secret that Naughty Dog is one of the most loyal PlayStation developers out there. The Uncharted series has been one of the best-selling series for the PS3 and PS4, and The Last Of Us shows this loyalty by including three different in-game PS3s that you can find... as three different characters, no less.
The first PS3 is found as Sarah in the starting of the game, under the TV in the living room. The second one is found as Joel in the University, after you drop into the basement in order to kill some Clickers and a Bloater. It's in the room with the foosball and pool tables, on the bottom shelf of a bookcase. The third can be found as Ellie when you're escaping from David and his thugs. The PS3 is on a shelf in one of the stores.
6 A Recreation Of Clementine's House From Telltale's The Walking Dead
There's a house in The Last Of Us that has a swimming pool and a tree-house in the backyard, while the house itself seems to suggest that a child might've stayed there at some point. If this seems familiar, it's because the house looks eerily similar to Clementine's house at the beginning of Telltale's The Walking Dead.
This particular easter egg has divided gamers. Some fans believe that the resemblance is too uncanny to simply write off, while others are calling it a huge stretch. To be honest, it wouldn't surprise us if a zombie game with a rich story decided to pay homage to another zombie game with a rich story.
5 Ellie Has Dialogue For When You're Standing Idle Or Wasting Ammo
There's no doubt that Ellie is the queen of sass in this game. The girl has the mouth of a sailor, and the exchanges Joel and others have with her perfectly showcase this trait of hers. There are a number of dialogue opportunities you can have with her, and some of them can be missed by the player if they don't do certain things in the game.
If Joel stays idle for too long, Ellie will start passing humorous quips and remarks regarding his frustrating immobility. The same is true if you start shooting willy-nilly in a non-combat situation — Ellie will comment sarcastically on the futility of your useless action.
There's another instance that shows the attention to detail from Naughty Dog when it came to designing Ellie.
4 Ellie Secretly Picks Up Items Important To The Story While No One Is Looking
There are certain moment The Last of Us when — unbeknownst to the player — Ellie will pick up/steal certain items that she isn't supposed to. We've already talked about one such instance, when Ellie steals Bill's 'adult industry' magazine. She also picks up a toy for Sam's sake when his brother Henry prohibits him from taking it.
Normally, the player won't be able to catch Ellie in the act as she takes these items, since Ellie's AI is programmed so that she won't make a move for the item until the player moves his/her camera so that Ellie is out of sight. However, a crafty gamer can quickly shift the camera back to Ellie just as she goes out of view and see her picking up the object in question. This is just another touch of detail by Naughty Dog that makes The Last Of Us such an amazing game.
3 There's A Newspaper In The Last Of Us With A Pretty Unconventional Headline
Naughty Dog certainly loves their obscure newspaper headlines. We've already covered the newspaper in Uncharted 3 that — unintentionally — teased The Last Of Us. Naughty Dog didn't stop there though, adding another newspaper heading that was quite... bizarre, to say the least.
There are a number of newspapers strewn on the floor of the Hotel Grand in Pittsburgh that sport the headline, "Uncharted 13: A Lush Movie — Justin Bieber as Drake," which raises more questions than answers. Is Uncharted a popular movie series in The Last Of Us universe? Why is Justin Bieber acting? Does Drake refer to the wildly successful singer-rapper or Nathan Drake (okay, so maybe this one is pretty obvious)? We'll probably never know the answers to these pressing questions, which is an absolute shame.
2 The Cordyceps Brain Infection Is Inspired From The Real-Life Parasitic Fungi That Infects Bugs
In The Last Of Us, the airborne Cordyceps spores are the reason for the zombie epidemic that ravaged America. The concept of parasitic fungi growing out of a person's head and body was a novel idea, but not an original one — after all, the same phenomenon is prevalent in the real world, albeit with insects.
The Cordyceps fungi is a parasitic organism that mainly grows on insects, taking over their bodily functions before killing them entirely. Neil Druckmann has stated in an interview that the inspiration for the unique virus came from an episode of the BBC documentary 'Planet Earth,' where an infected ant was killed by the Cordyceps fungi. The usage of the phrasing 'zombie ant' stuck with Druckmann and the rest of the development team, as they focused on creating the concept of a similar virus that could infect humans.
1 Tess Was Originally Slated To Be A Villian In The Last Of Us
Tess was a strong, trustworthy, and likable companion that accompanied Joel since the starting of the game, helping him escort Ellie to the Fireflies. After getting ambushed by the military, Tess decides to sacrifice her life in order to buy Joel and Ellie some time to escape, signing herself off to a noble cause. However, during the early stages of development Tess was meant to have a completely different role.
In the early draft of the game's plot, Tess was meant to be the main antagonist of the game, who'd been betrayed by Joel before the events of the game. The two would meet in a one-on-one confrontation, and Tess would become Ellie's first kill in order to save Joel. The development team scrapped this later on in development, feeling that the game's plot was devolving into the typical Hollywood revenge story.