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"The Last of Us": What You Need to Know About the Video Game to See the Series

“The Last of Us” is the series of the moment. We explain why it is not entirely necessary to play the video game to understand it.

Frame from the video game 'The Last of Us'

Photo: Playstation

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Gómez

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Leer en español: "The Last of Us": lo que debes saber del videojuego para ver la serie

Like many viewers of the series "The Last of Us", the protagonists Pedro Pascal (Joel) and Bella Ramsey (Ellie) never played the video game. The confession that the protagonist gave generated a debate about whether she was qualified to play her role, but creator and director Craig Mazin came to her defense. He pointed out that the only one who needed to be aware of all the details of the plot was him to convey what he wanted to the cast and his crew.

There are still many doubts about whether those who have not played the video game will be able to follow the common thread of the story. The truth is that, like almost every adaptation, that of "The Last of Us" is subject to change and whoever follows the series will have the necessary data to understand the plot of the video game.

Why Is the Series Worth Watching?

Let's start with the big differences between the series and the video game, which make it more digestible for an audience close to the cinema. The first thing is that the structure of the series is based on a television premonition from the late 60s that introduces the story, something that we do not have in the video game.

Another important aspect is that the video game gives you a futuristic perspective, since the virus starts in 2013, but the post-pandemic scenario takes place in 2033. In the series, the virus begins in 2003 and the plot takes place in 2023. Perhaps the change is due to the fact that the current situation is due to a post-pandemic present with COVID-19, and it is not necessary to imagine it, but rather it can be narrated as an alternate reality to what could have happened, with an apocalyptic intention.

The series also transforms the dynamics of the video game and includes LGBTI characters. This goes hand in hand with the evolution that the film industry is having with the representation of minorities on screen. In episode 3 we see the perspective of how two homosexual characters coexist in an apocalyptic environment.

On the other hand, there is the shift from video game digital animation to production art design. This adds a plus to the story, since creating the apocalyptic scenario, with the pandemic transmitted by a fungus that is everywhere, is a challenge. In addition, locations destroyed by military siege in previous years must be added and special effects skillfully added.

Read also: Review of "The Last Of Us": a Series that Perfectly Adapts the Video Game

How to Understand the Series Without Dying Trying?

Beyond the premise of the exchange that Joel must make with Ellie for a weapon, dodging the threats of the fungus that generated the pandemic and the dictatorship of the armed forces, there are important aspects not to be lost in the plot.

The main thing is that Joel lost his daughter on her birthday, after the pandemic broke out. Then we see him in a role outside the law with his partner. He receives the mission to take Ellie -a young woman captive by a paramilitary group that seeks a cure for the virus- to the capitol, where she will meet more members of the insurgent group.

Ellie is the key that this paramilitary group has to achieve said cure for the virus. However, there are a series of events that cause the exchange to not go as planned. Joel and Ellie will be forced to coexist and survive so that the mission can be completed, but when it reaches its conclusion, there is a situation again that forces Joel to make a decision that can change the course of humanity. Additionally, Joel also goes in search of his missing brother, Tommy.

With respect to the above, it is important to note that Joel and Ellie's bond morphs into something paternal. The relevance of this fact grows if we take into account that he lost his daughter when she was of a similar age to that of the protagonist.

The video game has a second part that is likely to be developed in the HBO series and also has a prequel titled "The Last of Us: Left Behind". Today the fourth chapter of this, which is the series of the moment, is released on the platform.