How Does The Last of Us Game End?

If you're wondering how the video game version of The Last of Us ends, we have you covered. HBO's The Last of Us is a total phenomenon right now. It is HBO's first big show of 2023 and one of its biggest shows of all-time. While the network still has a ton of other great shows on the way in the coming months, it seems likely that The Last of Us will be popping up a lot during awards season later this year thanks to the great writing and stellar performances. It's been a total treat to watch, but as many know, this all started with a PlayStation series.

The Last of Us was released on PS3 in 2013 and has been re-released on PS4 and PS5 over the years, never losing its luster. The story is frequently hailed as one of the best stories in gaming and that's also what made it such a natural fit for an adaptation. It's so cinematic that, while some adjustments are needed, it can largely be told for live action very faithfully. As fans have noticed, it's one of the most faithful gaming adaptations out there. With that said, the ending of the first game is quite divisive and fans who watch the show are likely going to want to know how it differs/compares to the game. So, here's what you need to know.

How Does The Last of Us Game End?

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(Photo: PlayStation)

Following Ellie and Joel's encounter with a group of cannibals during the winter, the game has a time jump to spring and they're making their approach to the Firefly hospital in Utah. The weather is now warmer, the sun is shining, it's the most beautiful the game has looked. Joel is even a bit more upbeat, he's trying his best to connect with Ellie and isn't holding anything back. His connection with her is cemented and their relationship could largely be considered pretty strong. However, Ellie is still traumatized by everything that has led them here. She is less talkative and is even a bit physically distant from Joel. She's not very present in the moment, despite Joel trying to boost her mood.

They make their way though the city and eventually stumble upon some wild giraffes which immediately boosts Ellie's mood. After all of the horrors on their journey, Ellie is not exposed to yet another terrible thing, but instead the true beauty this world has to offer. It's something worth saving. Eventually, Joel and Ellie are ambushed and knocked out. Joel wakes up in a hospital and Ellie is not at his side. Instead, Marlene greets him and tells Joel that Ellie is being prepped for surgery. The cordyceps inside of her has begun mutating, explaining her immunity. Once it is removed, a vaccine will be possible. Joel realizes that the surgery would require them to cut open her brain, killing her in the process.

Marlene has Joel escorted out of the hospital by a Firefly. He's able to squeeze some information out about where Ellie is being kept before killing him. He then mows down tons of Fireflies as he makes his way though the hospital, causing no shortage of chaos. The body count is high and the damage being done is immeasurable. So many lives are being taken just so Joel doesn't have to lose a daughter-like figure again.

Joel eventually enters the operating room Ellie is in, she's unconscious and hooked up to various machines. A surgeon pulls a scalpel out on Joel, resulting in him being killed. The player is also allowed to kill the other nurses/surgeons in the room if they choose to, but it is optional. Joel then scoops up Ellie off the table and runs through the hospital while alarms blare. The Fireflies give chase, but Joel is able to enter an elevator and lose them.

The elevator arrives in a parking garage where Marlene pulls a gun on Joel. She tries to tell him to stop, telling him that she will die one day whether it be by infected or humans. She tries to tell Joel that she would want to go through with this, but he kills Marlene. Joel then drives Ellie back to Jackson and she wakes up in the back of the car, still in her hospital gown. Joel tells her that there are other immune people and the Fireflies have stopped looking for a cure.

Eventually, their car breaks down and they have to walk the rest of the way back to Jackson. The player is now in control of Ellie for the rest of the game and follows Joel through the wilderness. Ellie stays largely pretty quiet while Joel tells her that Sarah and her would've been really good friends. Ellie stops him and tells him the story about how her and Riley got infected. She starts to tell him about how everyone around her has died, which seems to leave her with some survivor's guilt. Although it's not explicitly said, she probably also doesn't want that loss to be for nothing... and Joel has basically told her the journey they went on was a dead end.

Ellie asks Joel to swear to her that everything he told her about the Fireflies was true. Joel hesitates for no more than a second, but looks her dead in the eyes and swears to her. Although she seems to have at least a little doubt in her eyes, she has no choice but to accept it as the truth and simply responds with "Okay." The game cuts to black and the credits roll. 

What do you think of Joel's decision at the end of The Last of Us? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @Cade_Onder.

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