‘The Last Of Us’: Major Differences Between Show & Game

the last of us joel video game and show
Nick Davis


The Last Of Us is already receiving praise as one of the best video game adaptations of all time. No surprise considering the video game source material is already known as one of the best narrative games of all time. A big question for many new fans just coming in through the HBO show is: what are the differences? What about The Last Of Us is faithful to the game it comes from, and what was left on the cutting room floor? In a lot of ways, the show is very faithful to its source. But not everything made the transition from console to live action.

The Clickers

One of the most unique aspects of the world of The Last Of Us is its take on zombies. The cordyceps infection is as unique as it is terrifying and creates monsters that are a new level of tense. But the undead in this show aren’t quite the same as how they are in the video game.

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A “clicker” from ‘The Last Of Us’ on HBO Max

In The Last Of Us show, we see many of the clickers use these kinds of fungal tendrils as a means of infection. They’re used to horrifying effects but aren’t present in the clickers from the video games. The concept of all clickers having a connection via an underground network of roots is new, as well. Both of these things replace the spore clouds from the video game. In the game, spore clouds are a major means of infection, and just one breath in these clouds can be deadly. In the show, the clouds are likely gone due to production not wanting the main characters to spend too much time wearing masks.

Joel & Bill

The show’s primary character, Joel, hasn’t gotten any major changes to his character thus far. But there have been some changes to his story. Such as the change in his relationship with Tommy. In the game, Joel and Tommy aren’t on good terms and haven’t seen each other in years. However, in the show, it’s only been less than two months. Joel also has a semi-friendly relationship with a FEDRA soldier, although it ends poorly. We don’t see the same in the game.

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Nick Offerman as Bill in ‘The Last Of Us’

Bill also has a major story change, although not much of a character change, in the show. Almost the entirety of Episode 3 is a highlight of Bill’s relationship with Frank and their tragic but beautiful ending together. It humanizes Bill in a way that likely no fans of the video game were expecting. Not that Bill wasn’t a beloved character from the original game. But Episode 3 turns his character into an icon. Possibly the best change in the series thus far.

The Last Of Us has 3 episodes available for streaming on HBO Max now. Episode 4 will be available on February 5th.

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