The Last of Us Almost Had a Different Ending (Spoilers)

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The Last of Us Almost Had a Different Ending (Spoilers)

The Last of Us Ellie

(Spoiler Warning) According to creative director Neil Druckmann, the game's ending was originally meant to strike a different emotional chord.

Warning: The following contains severe spoilers for The Last of Us. Do not read this article unless you've played the game.

The Last of Us may stand the test of time as one of the first games that had the guts to go truly and utterly dark. Whereas other games will bounce back and forth between notes of silly and serious, there are few moments of levity in the game. Rather, it embraces a tone of ever intensifying desolation. Things never get better, they only get worse.

The climax of the game's bleakness is easily its ending. Joel learns that Ellie, who is immune to the pandemic that has ravaged the world, needs to have her brain removed so scientists can reverse engineer a cure. Unable to resolve himself to the loss of the young woman he's come to view as a daughter, he instead fights his way through a hospital filled with people who's only crime is trying to save the world. He saves Ellie, dooming humanity in the process. The game then ends with Joel lying to a suspicious Ellie about what transpired while she was knocked out for the surgery.

However, according to Neil Druckmann, creative director for The Last of Us, Naughty Dog had originally intended the game to end on a more hopeful note. "We knew Joel would lie to Ellie, but she believed the lie, one hundred percent," said Druckmann. "There wasn't any doubt there, and they would be arriving in Tommy's town, and you kind of get the idea that everything's gonna be fine and dandy." Despite having these plans in place, Druckmann and his team eventually found themselves moving toward the darker ending the game would run with. "As we got closer and closer to shooting that scene, it stopped feeling honest...She had such a good bullshit detector that it didn't feel like she would buy it. Or at least not buy it so easily. And then the scene kind of grew out of that, that there would be a kind of final challenge."

While many were left somewhat mired by the moral ambiguity of the game's ending, we honestly can't imagine it any other way. Even so, in an industry where such story moments are rare, one can only imagine it must have been a struggle to choose such an ending and then maintain the courage to run with it.

Source: Kotaku

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I hated this game. I really did. It was just so god damn depressing that it was just a friggen chore to get through. It wasn't FUN. I found myself forcing myself to get to the ending.Ever hear of the trope "Darkness Induced Audience Apathy"? That fits this game to a T and I hope to never play it again.

Okay first off, no the game doesn't exactly end stating that humanity is going to go extinct because of Joel's decision. Second, that is only ONE part of the world in terms of their apocalypse. What about Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia? It certainly is a sorta grim ending but you really put too much emphasis on the outcome of Joel's decision.

Not really a fan of the ending myself. Made Joel out to be... well...

If you wanted to go truly desolate you take Ellie's brain, not only does it not work, it creates a virus far worst than before but alas they made Joel look like a sociopath, kidnapped the worlds only chance for survival making everything from this point Joel's fault and now Ellie is with someone who is far more dangerous than say Ethan (leader of the cannibals,) not to mention Joel essentially thinks of her as Sarah. The saving grace is that Ellie picks up on it.

I'm just hoping Ellie kills Joel in The Last Of Us 2.

Tenmar:
Okay first off, no the game doesn't exactly end stating that humanity is going to go extinct because of Joel's decision. Second, that is only ONE part of the world in terms of their apocalypse. What about Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia? It certainly is a sorta grim ending but you really put too much emphasis on the outcome of Joel's decision.

I agree with this. Christ I'm only a second year nursing student and even I cringed at how flimsy their excuse was to kill Ellie. We have vaccines that can wipe out diseases TODAY and even with all our infrastructure and technology we simply don't have the means to do so and you're going to tell me you can reverse engineer a vaccine from a mutated spore your going to kill once you kill the girl its in and presto chango everyone is cool?

As for the fireflies trying to only save the world I think the game did a fine job illustrating how other rebellions had gone in Quarintine zones with soldiers being hung up as warning signs or burned alive for what eventually became organized bandit parties. The idea that the fireflies wouldn't use the cure as leverage to secure power seems naive at best. I've even read some pieces from columnists on game websites say that Marlene is a hero for doing what Joel would not. Last I check it wasn't her sacrifice to make it is Ellie's. Marlene even uses the excuse that its what Ellie would want yet the first time Ellie wakes up after is after Joel escapes with her meaning they had kept her sedated. Joel isn't a hero by any stretch but I don't think anyone else in the game is either.

antigodoflife:
If you wanted to go truly desolate you take Ellie's brain, not only does it not work, it creates a virus far worst than before but alas they made Joel look like a sociopath, kidnapped the worlds only chance for survival making everything from this point Joel's fault and now Ellie is with someone who is far more dangerous than say Ethan, not to mention Joel essentially thinks of her as Sarah. The saving grace is that Ellie picks it up.

I'm just hoping Ellie kills Joel in The Last Of Us 2.

Three things

1) Who said the fireflies would've actually been succesful ? Even TODAY in our real world, medicine is struggling to find cures for actual fungal infection with 30-40% mortality rate. How to expect a rag tag assembled team of scientists would ever achieve to reverse engineer a cure

2) Joel is not a hero, never presented as such. His only goal is survival, and yes his choice was selfish but at least it made the ending actually interesting and not cliche

3) Humanity is so beyond fucked at this point I'd doubt that even if they managed to make a cure, it would've been of any good.

And think... It all would have been OK if Marlene would have just let Ellie wake up and tell Joel her choice; humanity would have been saved. Ellie may have been a kid, but if Marlene was so sure that "it's what she would want" then Marlene should have let Ellie wake up and make her own choice. Joel may be psychotic, but Marlene was the one that made the bad choice that set him off.

Meh, not a huge difference. I was expecting something much bigger, like Joel actually surrendering Ellie and having humanity be restored, or something like the ending of The Walking Dead.

But whatever, the ending is fine the way it is (better than fine, actually). Good call. Ellie really does have a good bullshit detector, and there's something about being drugged, leaving without seeing the Fireflies, and waking up in a gown that would make her think that SOMETHING happened. No saying hi to Malene or her buddies? Not only that, but why would it take 20 years for people to step forward and say "hey, there's lots of people like us that are immune to this stuff" and they would eventually find the Fireflies and agree to assist in research. It wouldn't make sense having her believe the lie and have everything be hunky-dory.

I think the ending was perfect in how it truly showed what Joel was willing to do to survive. Such a good ending.

AxelxGabriel:
I hated this game. I really did. It was just so god damn depressing that it was just a friggen chore to get through. It wasn't FUN. I found myself forcing myself to get to the ending.Ever hear of the trope "Darkness Induced Audience Apathy"? That fits this game to a T and I hope to never play it again.

antigodoflife:
Not really a fan of the ending myself. Made Joel out to be... well...

If you wanted to go truly desolate you take Ellie's brain, not only does it not work, it creates a virus far worst than before but alas they made Joel look like a sociopath, kidnapped the worlds only chance for survival making everything from this point Joel's fault and now Ellie is with someone who is far more dangerous than say Ethan (leader of the cannibals,) not to mention Joel essentially thinks of her as Sarah. The saving grace is that Ellie picks up on it.

I'm just hoping Ellie kills Joel in The Last Of Us 2.

No cure is ever mentioned. Vaccine. Aside from the logistical nightmare that would distributing a vaccine in a world already reclaimed by nature and overrun by cannibals, bandits, and despotic military, you'd have to be a complete sucker to believe that the Fireflies have good intentions. They're just another group of survivors looking out for themselves, albeit more delusional.

Elle is the last innocent we see in the narrative. I've said my peace in another thread about how the authors go into great detail to show that EVERYTHING Joel goes through is to prepare him to save Elle. He turned in his humanity card when he protected his brother and was potentially as bad as David and the bandits. He is what he is and he's been hardened to deal with it.

Elle is not. Despite her condition and loss, she's still an innocent. The wild animals and childlike behavior show she still is the "Last of us". Unlike her foil in the narrative who gets any innocence crushed out of him by his older brother and then goes mushroom.

We can go into debates as to if Elle acts as the actual redemption for Joel or if he's still lost. He seems to reconcile his loss and his past at the end when he brings Elle to a town where something like her might flourish as long as monsters like him guard the walls. That's the beginning of any new society.

Steve Waltz:
And think... It all would have been OK if Marlene would have just let Ellie wake up and tell Joel her choice; humanity would have been saved. Ellie may have been a kid, but if Marlene was so sure that "it's what she would want" then Marlene should have let Ellie wake up and make her own choice. Joel may be psychotic, but Marlene was the one that made the bad choice that set him off.

THIS. So much this.

If they let Ellie actually get a choice, then she probably would have said yes. Even if she said no, they could have had her stay there until she was older(a lot older) and soon to die anyway. Then they could have done the operation. Plus, they would be sure the new form of the fungus didn't just kill people later.

Hell, while they waited, they could have done some tests, and maybe found a way to do it without killing her.
Besides. What if they get it wrong? You take a goose who lays golden eggs, and cut her head off!

Also, the Fireflies were evil pricks. You read in Marlene's journal that they wanted to kill Joel, but Marlene told them not to.

Steve Waltz:
And think... It all would have been OK if Marlene would have just let Ellie wake up and tell Joel her choice; humanity would have been saved. Ellie may have been a kid, but if Marlene was so sure that "it's what she would want" then Marlene should have let Ellie wake up and make her own choice. Joel may be psychotic, but Marlene was the one that made the bad choice that set him off.

Imp Emissary:

If they let Ellie actually get a choice, then she probably would have said yes. Even if she said no, they could have had her stay there until she was older(a lot older) and soon to die anyway. Then they could have done the operation. Plus, they would be sure the new form of the fungus didn't just kill people later.

Hell, while they waited, they could have done some tests, and maybe found a way to do it without killing her.
Besides. What if they get it wrong? You take a goose who lays golden eggs, and cut her head off!

Seconded, while I did like the ending since it portrayed Joel as flawed and not just "needs-of-the-many-always-right-superhero", if the fireflies weren't completely retarded it probably wouldn't have happened that way.

That wouldn't have been that much of a change.

I'm glad they did though, it's certainly an improvement.

Phrozenflame500:

Steve Waltz:
And think... It all would have been OK if Marlene would have just let Ellie wake up and tell Joel her choice; humanity would have been saved. Ellie may have been a kid, but if Marlene was so sure that "it's what she would want" then Marlene should have let Ellie wake up and make her own choice. Joel may be psychotic, but Marlene was the one that made the bad choice that set him off.

Imp Emissary:

If they let Ellie actually get a choice, then she probably would have said yes. Even if she said no, they could have had her stay there until she was older(a lot older) and soon to die anyway. Then they could have done the operation. Plus, they would be sure the new form of the fungus didn't just kill people later.

Hell, while they waited, they could have done some tests, and maybe found a way to do it without killing her.
Besides. What if they get it wrong? You take a goose who lays golden eggs, and cut her head off!

Seconded, while I did like the ending since it portrayed Joel as flawed and not just "needs-of-the-many-always-right-superhero", if the fireflies weren't completely retarded it probably wouldn't have happened that way.

True but that's the whole point. Marlene and the Fireflies were so blinded by their desperation to cure the infection at all costs, they neglected to realize there was a lot more going on. The last time Marlene interacted with the two, she saw an exasperated Joel having to drag the teenager he just met to a safehouse. She assumed that the situation was still the same by the time they got to the hospital, that Joel was only too happy to have the Fireflies take Ellie off of his hands. In their eagerness to immediately sedate and operate on Ellie following her near drowning, they failed to see that a year of traveling together had formed a bond between Ellie and Joel.

Couple this with the fact that Joel never had the chance to properly say goodbye to Sarah and it would have been the exact same scenario with Ellie. Ultimately, Joel's decision was pretty damn selfish yet completely understandable given the circumstances.

I loved this game, but I think its story is getting WAY too much credit. Most of it seemed pretty cliche to me. The gameplay on the other hand was ecxellent and a departure from mechanics that have long been considered industry norms (hooray for no regenerating health).

The Last of Us may stand the test of time as the first game that the guts to go truly and utterly dark. Whereas other games will bounce back and forth between notes of silly and serious, there are few moments of levity in the game. Rather, it embraces a tone of ever intensifying desolation. Things never get better, they only get worse.

Oh, come on man! Has nobody played a Silent Hill game, a Fatal Frame, Spec Ops: The Line or just about any game out of the survival horror genre? You're giving the Last of Us too much credit for something that has been done before and has been done better

Raggedstar:
Meh, not a huge difference. I was expecting something much bigger, like Joel actually surrendering Ellie and having humanity be restored, or something like the ending of The Walking Dead.

But whatever, the ending is fine the way it is (better than fine, actually). Good call. Ellie really does have a good bullshit detector, and there's something about being drugged, leaving without seeing the Fireflies, and waking up in a gown that would make her think that SOMETHING happened. No saying hi to Malene or her buddies? Not only that, but why would it take 20 years for people to step forward and say "hey, there's lots of people like us that are immune to this stuff" and they would eventually find the Fireflies and agree to assist in research. It wouldn't make sense having her believe the lie and have everything be hunky-dory.

100% this. They knew it would have been out of character for Ellie, they made the right call.

antigodoflife:
Not really a fan of the ending myself. Made Joel out to be... well...

If you wanted to go truly desolate you take Ellie's brain, not only does it not work, it creates a virus far worst than before but alas they made Joel look like a sociopath, kidnapped the worlds only chance for survival making everything from this point Joel's fault and now Ellie is with someone who is far more dangerous than say Ethan (leader of the cannibals,) not to mention Joel essentially thinks of her as Sarah. The saving grace is that Ellie picks up on it.

I'm just hoping Ellie kills Joel in The Last Of Us 2.

Are you being sarcastic? More dangerous than cannibals?
Saving a person who was drugged and gonna be killed while comatose is sociopathic?

The whole point is that the Fireflies were doing the exact same thing that the military did at the beginning of the game.
"For the greater good."

AxelxGabriel:
I hated this game. I really did. It was just so god damn depressing that it was just a friggen chore to get through. It wasn't FUN. I found myself forcing myself to get to the ending.Ever hear of the trope "Darkness Induced Audience Apathy"? That fits this game to a T and I hope to never play it again.

Out of curiosity, what did you think the game would be like from the title? With a name like "The Last of Us" I'd have been surprised if the game was any other way.

AxelxGabriel:
I hated this game. I really did. It was just so god damn depressing that it was just a friggen chore to get through. It wasn't FUN. I found myself forcing myself to get to the ending.Ever hear of the trope "Darkness Induced Audience Apathy"? That fits this game to a T and I hope to never play it again.

The Last of Us wasn't supposed to be fun, but hey, if melancholy isn't your thing, so be it. This game set out to make you not want to play it again because of its content. Its like Spec Ops: The Line. Its brutal, and it wants you to fully understand the ramifications of your violence.

OT: I'm honestly glad that they went with the ending they did. I wouldn't have liked the other one nearly as much.

StewShearer:
While many were left somewhat mired by the moral ambiguity of the game's ending, we honestly can imagine it any other way.

Um...is that supposed to be "Can't imagine it any other way"? Also, as long as I'm pointing out mistakes to make myself feel like a big man, you have two periods at the end of the article :)

Anyway, I just finished the game about two hours ago and if my Title did not give it away, I absolutely loved this game. I was quite surprised that they ended in this way since Joel is the "good guy" but then you remember; there are no good guys, just survivors.

Rainboq:
The Last of Us wasn't supposed to be fun

This game set out to make you not want to play it again because of its content.

Its like Spec Ops: The Line.

it wants you to fully understand the ramifications of your violence.

My sincere thanks, you just saved me sixty dollars.

OT: That really doesn't seem like that much of a change, but I guess if the theme you are going for is "people are shit, the world is shit, and nothing is going to be ok" then you might as well go all the way with it.

major_chaos:

Rainboq:
The Last of Us wasn't supposed to be fun

This game set out to make you not want to play it again because of its content.

Its like Spec Ops: The Line.

it wants you to fully understand the ramifications of your violence.

My sincere thanks, you just saved me sixty dollars.

OT: That really doesn't seem like that much of a change, but I guess if the theme you are going for is "people are shit, the world is shit, and nothing is going to be ok" then you might as well go all the way with it.

I'd argue you should still play it. Its a very well crafted story, just don't go into it expecting mindless violence. This is a deeply effecting emotional tale. The combat isn't fun in the usual sense, more satisfying that you made it through another tense encounter.

alphamalet:
I loved this game, but I think its story is getting WAY too much credit. Most of it seemed pretty cliche to me. The gameplay on the other hand was ecxellent and a departure from mechanics that have long been considered industry norms (hooray for no regenerating health).

The Last of Us may stand the test of time as the first game that the guts to go truly and utterly dark. Whereas other games will bounce back and forth between notes of silly and serious, there are few moments of levity in the game. Rather, it embraces a tone of ever intensifying desolation. Things never get better, they only get worse.

Oh, come on man! Has nobody played a Silent Hill game, a Fatal Frame, Spec Ops: The Line or just about any game out of the survival horror genre? You're giving the Last of Us too much credit for something that has been done before and has been done better

It's in the execution, a story can have a premise that's been done a thousand times and still be interesting (ex: The Walking Dead).

I still don't understand why they had to kill her though. I don't think medicine works that way.

Two-A:

alphamalet:
I loved this game, but I think its story is getting WAY too much credit. Most of it seemed pretty cliche to me. The gameplay on the other hand was ecxellent and a departure from mechanics that have long been considered industry norms (hooray for no regenerating health).

The Last of Us may stand the test of time as the first game that the guts to go truly and utterly dark. Whereas other games will bounce back and forth between notes of silly and serious, there are few moments of levity in the game. Rather, it embraces a tone of ever intensifying desolation. Things never get better, they only get worse.

Oh, come on man! Has nobody played a Silent Hill game, a Fatal Frame, Spec Ops: The Line or just about any game out of the survival horror genre? You're giving the Last of Us too much credit for something that has been done before and has been done better

It's in the execution, a story can have a premise that's been done a thousand times and still be interesting (ex: The Walking Dead).

I still don't understand why they had to kill her though. I don't think medicine works that way.

The fungus they needed roots in the brain, so they kinda had to go poking around in there. Chances of her surviving where probably limited at best.

No matter if it is good or bad story-wise, I am not trying to play it ever again because of how incredibly stupid the AI is in this game. I died about 10 times because little miss sunshine decided to play with infected.

Who the hell though that stealth-like game will be any good with moronic AI companion?

Plus, Ellie is unlikable (unlike Clem).

I thought it got so big and well loved was because Naughty Dog did it.

There have been alot more games that tried to send a message about morality but Naughty Dog + PS3 + media hype exploded it to enormous size.

There should be more attention given to games like Spec Ops: The Line that tried to tackle the military FPS genre and morality.

alphamalet:
I loved this game, but I think its story is getting WAY too much credit. Most of it seemed pretty cliche to me. The gameplay on the other hand was ecxellent and a departure from mechanics that have long been considered industry norms (hooray for no regenerating health).

The Last of Us may stand the test of time as the first game that the guts to go truly and utterly dark. Whereas other games will bounce back and forth between notes of silly and serious, there are few moments of levity in the game. Rather, it embraces a tone of ever intensifying desolation. Things never get better, they only get worse.

Oh, come on man! Has nobody played a Silent Hill game, a Fatal Frame, Spec Ops: The Line or just about any game out of the survival horror genre? You're giving the Last of Us too much credit for something that has been done before and has been done better

It's the finesse and restraint with which it pulls it off that makes it so good. It's good storytelling not because of originality, but because of very well written and performed characters, terrific pacing, and not falling into exposition. At the beginning when you meet Joel and Tess there's no apocalypse exposition scene where Tess goes, "So Joel, how about this post-apocalyptic world, ey... Tell us all about it." It's just them talking about what they're up to, like normal people.

And it was pretty ballsy of Naughty Dog to go for this very slow and methodical reveal of the world, instead of opting for chucks of expository dialoge at the start for fear of alienating the audience.

The fact that it keeps the story very simple is in a way what makes it so powerful.

The ending, good or bad, just felt right. I think it would have simply been unbelievable to have Joel do anything else then protect Ellie. The whole game is spent humanizing Ellie and showing how her innocence and spirit broke Joel's callous indifference. It is implied that Joel had lost hope a long time before and at least thought about committing suicide. He was a bandit at one point, just like the ones you gun down. He then took up smuggling. You know what makes a good smuggler? Indifference to what the cargo is, intelligence, and not caring if you get caught (killed). However, at the end he has a purpose, something to live, fight, and die for if need be. All this shows in the hospital and the ending.

So now that's out of the way. I enjoyed the ending.

freakonaleash:
I think the ending was perfect in how it truly showed what Joel was willing to do to survive. Such a good ending.

Totally, I think Joel decided to totally bear all the emotional/ethical weight regarding his decision, seeing what humanity was capable of on their journey, and if that damns him...then someone like Ellie is worth the cost, someone with a spark of the old humanity he hadn't seen in so long.

People are capable of anything when driven by desperation and extremes, the bandits, the cannibals, the Fire Flys...and Joel.

i'm curious about this recent trend of 'sad makes the ending more memorable'. I've not played The Last of Us, and I really don't intend to, but I'm wondering why so many games are taking that ending. It doesn't make the ending more memorable in my opinion, but rather is just a low-brow, lazy way of making an ending 'dramatic'.

I'm loathe to bring this up again, but I recall when I was buying Mass Effect 3. I picked up and stated, out-loud: "Shepard is going to die in this." because I knew that was how they would make their 'dramatic ending'. Because it seems that's how writers make drama.

It seems they believe making a happy ending is too cliche or something :/

The ending was terrible, not because humanity wasn't saved, because it just wasn't a satisfying ending. Joel goes full psycho, kills everyone trying to help humanity and the only excuse is 'Muh daughter'. Granted Joel was never a nice guy but I like to think that after Tess and everyone else dying just to get Ellie to the fireflies he would at least think about it or give her back over at the end but nope. I also have to question everyone saying it was good because it wasn't 'cliche', where as the entire game was one big cliche. 'Rugged badass survivor' meets someone in an apocalypse and an unlikely friendship occurs? I mean I'm just going to throw out '28 days later' here, that whole movie is more or less The Last Of Us without the daughter part.

Some people may not like the content of this game's story but thematically I think it had quite possibly the best ending I've seen in any medium. For example:

All throughout the game I'm rooting for Joel and Ellie. I want them to succeed and I'm hoping it will end somehow with Joel and Ellie being able to stay together. That's just my typical desire for a happy outcome that I expect most of us look for when we're invested enough. Of course it's clear that Ellie's "cure" is never going to be straight forward.

When Joel is faced with the choice of leaving her to have her brain harvested or taking her away I'm literally shouting at the screen to have him take her away. I don't want to see her die, I've come to love her as a character and I haven't fought all that way to simply see her cut open.

He takes her away and effectively, as a member of the audience, I got what I wanted from the game. But in that moment where she asks Joel what happened at the hospital, when she doubts him and infers that she would have done anything to stop the virus... that's when I realise my choice was selfish and that my own feelings about Ellie had mirrored Joel's perfectly. Then I feel awful about a choice that seemed so obvious in the beginning. That's the sort of ending that stays with me a long time after.

It effective solves the "happy ending" problem, in that I got what I had wanted the whole game but at a price which makes me doubt my reasons. Mass Effect 3 should learn from this.

antigodoflife:
I'm just hoping Ellie kills Joel in The Last Of Us 2.

I'm just hoping there won't be a The Last of Us 2 because there's no need to turn this into a franchise. Still, that's Sony's call and not Naughty Dog so I expect it'll still happen.

chinangel:
i'm curious about this recent trend of 'sad makes the ending more memorable'. I've not played The Last of Us, and I really don't intend to, but I'm wondering why so many games are taking that ending. It doesn't make the ending more memorable in my opinion, but rather is just a low-brow, lazy way of making an ending 'dramatic'.

I'm loathe to bring this up again, but I recall when I was buying Mass Effect 3. I picked up and stated, out-loud: "Shepard is going to die in this." because I knew that was how they would make their 'dramatic ending'. Because it seems that's how writers make drama.

It seems they believe making a happy ending is too cliche or something :/

The Last of Us is already a sad game pretty much from start to finish though. Giving it a happy ending would've been kinda weird considering the world it presents us. And the ending isn't so much sad as it is disheartening. And the reason people like the ending so much has more to do with the ambiguity. Some people don't even think the ending is all that sad, and see it in a more positive light. The fact that the ending sorta leaves you to fill in the blanks is what makes it stick in your mind.

That is quite a small change, a lot of people (including me) didn't realise Ellie had worked out Joel was lying straight away. That kind of subtle character development is incredibly rare in games and we need a lot more of it.

I couldn't see the ending being any other way. At no point is Joel seen as a hero, heros don't exists, the nearest to a hero in the game is Henry. Do the right thing, think of the belonging to something bigger, noble, teaching his little brother a moral code and has a positive view of the future and look how that went. Listen, heros don't exists nore does villains, that just how the world is.

I really liked the ending.

Joel isn't a hero, and he's never portrayed as such.

He's a man who had both his youth and his daughter taken from him by circumstances outside his control. The former taken away by the very people he thought would protect her.

Roll on 20 years, and we have a very bitter man, then along comes Ellie, a girl he eventually comes to love as a second daughter, and then the very same thing nearly happens again.

The very people he thought would protect Ellie, have to kill her to formulate a vaccine that may very well not work.

Joel can't accept that, he couldn't survive that a second time, and if we've learned anything throughout the game, is that Joel is a survivor.

By any means.

I liked the ending, it made me evaluate my own views and opinions, I've always talked a good game when dealing with hypothetical situations ("needs of the many...", "the species is more important...", etc) but when the concept of Ellie's death got brought up I immediately started thinking along the lines of there has to be another immune or that eventually the mutation will occur again, I knew that those were less beneficial, even unlikely, solutions (this point really hit home when Joel used the same excuses to trick Ellie). A part of me didn't want to sacrifice Ellie for the greater good against my better judgement. That is something that I know about myself now, that such a decision would not be so simple for me to make.

Claiming this this game "may stand the test of time as one of the first games that had the guts to go truly and utterly dark." doesn't sit right with me. First thing that came to mind when I seen this ending was the bad end of Persona4 (not saying it was the first).

You spend the whole game being a good guy (ideally), saving the town with no desire for compensation and forging bonds with the people of the town. From the moment I met (spoilers, I guess) Adachi, He seemed suspicious, he didn't do anything obvious at the beginning, hell you didn't even know there was an issue at that point, but something seemed off and as the game went on his auspiciousness became almost ludicrously apparent.
But then the mess with Namatame, happened. That took me by surprise (I never talked to him at the river bank much so perhaps it was telegraphed but I missed it at least). Then the Nanako event happens, I was legitimately livid, I was consumed by my anger and fear by what had just transpired and the game gave me someone to blame, someone who up until this point I never would has suspected. If you give in to that negativity you basically kill a man based solely on your emotion at the time, the rest of the game skips past all the fun wacky misadventures of the "post resolution" phase and you sit in silence while feeling so awkward that you question your actions. I felt this was far more impact-full than the the last of us ending because I made the decision, I gave into my weakness, I failed, I got that bad end and I had no one else to blame. I suspected the actual villain, but when I was forced into a state of mental duress I through an innocent man who didn't make sense under the buss (nicer than saying I killed him) to make my self feel better due to some false sense of justice, justice I knew was fake but accepted because it was better than feeling as powerless as I did when despite my efforts Nanako died.

Curse these fleshy emotions, or perhaps I just get too easily immersed.

(super irrelevant: Captcha didn't accept my description of Subaru as a "wheel box")

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