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10 Biggest Differences Between The Show And Game

Live-action adaptations of video games often have suffered from a poor reputation, but things have changed, thanks to those like HBO’s The Last of Us.

Showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann incorporate many of the Differences Between The Show And Game ‘s beloved storylines and moments but add their own flair to them for it to flow better in a TV show.

The Last Of Us: 10 Biggest Differences Between The Show And Game!

Uncovering The Origins Of Cordycep

Cordyceps and Ophicordyceps: the fungi made famous by The Last Of Us | Discover Wildlife
Dr. Ranta in a white hazmat suit holding Cordyceps tendrils from a patient in a morgue room.
The first two episodes of the HBO series offer a more in-depth exploration of the Cordyceps infection that led to the devastating pandemic in The Last of Us.

The show opens with a monologue delivered by John Hannah explaining the science of how the Cordyceps fungus can have similar effects on humans as the zombified ants as temperatures become warmer.

Throughout the beginning of the first episode, you hear of a problem arising with grain in Jakarta, Indonesia, and it’s heavily implied that the Cordyceps is in the flour. Episode two opens in Jakarta with a doctor of mycology,

Dr. Ibu Ratna, summoned to perform an autopsy on one of the earliest infected patients. This certainly goes further than a newspaper clipping you can read as Sarah.

Joel’s Injury At The University

The Last of Us Remastered PS5 - Joel's Injury / Joel In Critical Condition (4K 60FPS) - YouTube

A two-image collage of Joel stabbed in the show and impaled by a metal rod inside the University.
The game showcased Joel being left critically injured during the events at the University and you switching over to Ellie while Joel recuperates from his grave wound.

This pivotal moment at UEC is nowhere near as suspenseful and somewhat anticlimactic in the show, as it aims to be more grounded in reality.

In the game, Joel is caught by surprise and thrown from the second floor of the building, where he ultimately falls on a metal rod and gets impaled. With Ellie helping you to exit the building, you shoot your way out.

They don’t encounter any enemies inside the building in the show’s version. Joel gets stabbed in a scuffle while they’re already by the horse set to leave.

Tess’ Death At The Capitol Building

tess face to face with infected hbo the last of us
The Last of Us has many tragic moments for its characters, and Tess’ is next after the heartbreaking death of Sarah Miller in the prologue.

Tess’ fate gets sealed with a bite from the infected in both versions, but her sacrifice to save Joel and Ellie in Boston’s Capitol Building is handled in a more tense and chilling fashion in the HBO show.

The game sees the FEDRA soldiers storm the building, still on the hunt after the trio. Tess kills as many as she can before she ends up shot dead herself, allowing Joel and Ellie to make it out safely.

Tess stands face-to-face with a Clicker on the show, which creepily kisses her with its Cordyceps tendrils as the Capitol is set to ignite with all the rest of the infected inside.

Introduction To Jackson

A shot of Joel and Ellie on horseback entering the snow-filled town square of Jackson, Wyoming to meet Tommy.

Jackson is an important setting featured in The Last of Us Part 2, where Joel and Ellie settle with Tommy and the rest of the community after her rescue from the Firefly medical facility.

owever, the show already introduces the community in episode six of the first season, as Joel and Tommy are reunited there.

The Joel and Tommy moment in the game happens in a hydroelectric power plant that gives Jackson its power, but not the actual civilization itself. This sets up a smooth path for season two’s story in a way that makes much more sense than how the games go about it.

You also get a possible tease of Dina, and Ellie gets to meet a younger Shimmer, who is her horse steed in the second game.

Bill’s Fate And Backstory

The Last of Us Drastically Changes Bill's FateBill and Frank hugging with their eyes closed and hands held
The big twist with Bill’s character in the HBO adaptation is that he died shortly before Joel and Ellie arrived at his home.

In the game, Bill is alive and plays a big part in Joel and Ellie’s story, teaching them survivalist skills by setting up traps in his town, and they encounter the first Bloater infected together at an abandoned high school.

Episode three of The Last of Us gives you an intricately developed backstory for Bill during the early days of the pandemic, which explores his loving relationship with his partner Frank and his initial interaction with Joel and Tess.

You learn he and Frank have overcome and grown a lot, and when Frank battled a terminal illness, Bill decided to end their lives together.

Bloater Sequence

The Last of Us HBO: S1E5 - Bloater Outbreak Full Scene, Joel Sniping, Ellie, Henry & Sam Running - YouTube
A Bloater from The Last of Us, a huge zombie. It stands in front of fire
The Bloater was teased before the show even began, and the introduction sequence for this massive infected in live-action tied together beautifully with another section of the game.

Instead of Ellie and Joel being with Bill when the first Bloater appears, the duo is with brothers Henry and Sam, specifically during the sniper sequence on a residential street.

Once Joel gets the sniper rifle from the shooter inside the bedroom, more of his people come after Ellie and the brothers.

Joel manages to snipe the driver of a large truck, which crashes into the home and sinks into the ground in a fiery blaze. From underneath the sinkhole emerges a giant horde of Clickers with the Bloater front and center.

Kathleen’s Character Tie-In

Who Does Melanie Lynskey Play In The Last Of Us? We Have An Idea
Kathleen putting as gun to someone’s head in HBO’s The Last of Us seriesvia HBO
Henry and Sam also have a better-developed context in the show, where Henry has a history with a Kansas City resistance leader named Kathleen,

who wants to take down FEDRA and all those who collaborated with them. Henry delivered Kathleen’s brother, the original leader of the resistance, to FEDRA in exchange for potentially life-saving medicine for his younger brother Sam.

Here you see how Henry saw Joel and Ellie for the first time after Kathleen’s men ambushed them into a shop and why he came to them to escape an enraged Kathleen.

Child Clicker

The Bloater’s entrance in the nighttime horde scene with Kathleen and her group was overshadowed by one of the show’s best moments. Ellie has an intense showdown with a creepy little Clicker girl in the claustrophobic space of a car.

What makes it even more unnerving is the speed and contortion abilities of the child.

Children growing up in this world and falling victim to it is widely covered in The Last of Us, with Ellie, Sarah, Riley, Sam, and JJ in Part 2. However, you never see a child as one of the infected you face, either in Clicker or Runner form, so it’s a powerful and reflective concept the showrunners chose to expand on here.

Maria’s Pregnancy

The Last of Us' Fans Spot Editing Blooper in Episode 6

Ellie, Tommy, Joel, and Maria looking at a flock of sheep from The Last of Us episode 6
A character important to Tommy that you meet in his new settlement is his wife, Maria. Except in the show, one of the first things Joel finds out about her and Tommy is that they’re expecting.

Maria was never pregnant in the original game or the sequel, so this joyous occasion will create more drama in the season to follow.

A critical storyline in the second game is Joel being murdered by Abby in front of Tommy and Ellie. And that leads Tommy to go after the WLF group responsible as a lone wolf, which, ironically enough, sends a pregnant Dina and Ellie after him. Maria’s pregnancy changes things drastically, and Tommy may be more cautious in the series.

1Balance Of Action And Character Development

The Last of Us Episode 6: Tommy and Maria explained - DexertoThe Last of Us HBO Tess and Joel looking at each other in a rundown building with Ellie looking on from the backThe show’s lack of violence and infected action is quite a contrast and is where many viewer complaints stem from.

You won’t see Joel shooting waves of infected hanging upside down from Bill’s trap while Ellie works to free him, defeating infected in the sewers with Sam, or blasting away bandits in Tommy’s hydroelectric dam.

The vast majority of intense sections and set pieces from the game involving Clickers are also missing.

That’s because these form the level design in the game meant to enhance the gameplay experience and don’t do anything to move the character arcs forward in a compelling dramatic TV setting.


Is The Last of Us different from the game?

They key difference from the games is that Tommy and Joel seem to be on good terms since the world ended, and Tommy’s involvement with the Fireflies. We expect Tommy’s role in the TV show, and his troubled past will factor into the story more than it did in the games.

Will there be The Last of Us Part 3?;

A third game in the series seems to be in active production now. This was claimed by famed and reliable leaker @ViewerAnon, who has revealed several scoops before. According to them, The Last of Us 3 is in production and will be Neil Druckmann’s next game

What’s the difference between The Last of Us and The Last of Us remastered?

While the remastered version only improved the graphics, frame rate, and resolution, The Last of Us Part I was built specifically for the PS5 and PC. This means you can expect real-time rendering, new, more realistic character models, and better graphics across the board.



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