E.18 – The Last of Us (From the Archives)

In our second “From the Archives” edition of the show, we’re re-airing a lost conversation from 2013 about The Last of Us – Naughty Dog’s critically-acclaimed survival adventure game. On the eve of its much anticipated sequel, there’s no better time to revisit its inaugural chapter.

In further blurring the lines between gameplay & cinema, The Last of Us has been a focal point for both gamers and industry veterans. Jim Wiser and I became fast friends in art school studying game design together, so I was delighted to have him join me for this episode. We discussed what worked, what felt in conflict with its narrative goals, and ironically our resistance towards an inevitable sequel – especially after that ending.

Set within a broken America amid a global pandemic, The Last of Us‘ atmosphere cuts deeper in 2020. And while this episode serves as somewhat of a time capsule, I suspect it will resonate with those returning to Joel and Ellie’s world today.

Additional Credits & Notes

  • Jim Wiser and I have been friends since our foundation art classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where we collaborated as Game Design majors. Jim’s BFA thesis explored level design as a means to better understand way-finding, and since then he’s created artwork for a number of indie game projects, custom levels for Team Fortress 2, and UI/UX designs for modern mobile applications.
  • Music in today’s episode is from the OST to The Last of Us and its prequel chapter, The Last of Us: Left Behind, composed by award-winning guitarist Gustavo Santaolalla.
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