A Very Good Take On The Last Of Us' Ending

Illustration for article titled A Very Good Take On iThe Last Of Us/i Ending

For a few months now, Retro Replay’s Troy Baker (Joel) and Nolan North (David) have livestreamed a playthrough of The Last Of Us. They’re at the end now, and things are getting heavy.


In this week’s instalment, guest Merle Dandridge asks the guys to share their thoughts on the ethics of Joel’s actions at the end of the game, where he not only saves Ellie—potentially dooming humanity in the process—but then lies to her on their way out.

I’ve finished The Last Of Us a couple of times now, and never came close to thinking of the game’s ending like this. If the vid below doesn’t autoplay for you, head to 38:40.


Via @MoeiZer

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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I don’t understand “took away the meaning of her death”

AFter she’s dead, it makes no difference to her. So her dying for the fireflies’ goal would’ve just been as useless a death as being mauled by a fungus zombie.

By doing what Joel did, he gave meaning to her life. If she had sacrificed herself for the fireflies that would’ve been taking away the meaning of her life.

Her life shouldn’t be defined by a sacrifice. This is why we don’t want people to commit suicide. This would be suicide, even if She decided she wanted to sacrifice herself for that cause.

Did he do it for her or for himself?

Again a really stupid question. This lady is really dumb. I think she’s never been close to her parents or had loving parents. In your child’s happiness is your happiness. Joel doesn’t want to deny her her life, even if that’s what she wants to do. Because throughout the journey Joel sees that Ellie actually wants to enjoy life. She has it in her to admire and enjoy and love. That’s what she is denying herself. And for what? A world of humans that would grow to be selfish and destructive again?

I mean really, are humans gonna go extinct in their world? I don’t think so. Society has gone away, yea but humans are gonna bounce back at their own pace. The survivors are thriving and growing and everyday a zombie dies. The zombies are not an organized force that can unite, grow on their own and destroy the survivor camps and cities. Yea it’s entirely possible that every human dies. But chances are higher that they will live on. In fact if you played the whole game you can clearly see that humans are more of a danger to the surviving humans than the zombies. So what would Ellie’s sacrifice be saving? A society of humans who are more of a threat to themselves than the plague.

There’s no way that sacrificing herself for the fireflies was a decision to even consider. It was naive and almost borderline stupid. Not to mention there’s no guarantee that the fireflies would use the cure to rebuild society. If you see the second game, the humans seem to be doing just fine making survival camps and communities and also killing each other. Society and civilization will eventually rebuild itself. Even if the fireflies actually were the good guys and would use the cure to rebuild society again, Ellie’s sacrifice was just gonna be a meager catalyst to that eventuality, not the only solution.