Why The Last of Us Series Matters: Exploring Its Impact on Players

“The Last of Us” is a popular action-adventure survival horror video game franchise developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The series currently consists of two main games: “The Last of Us” (2013) and “The Last of Us Part II” (2020), as well as a downloadable content expansion called “Left Behind” (2014).

The Last of Us follows the story of Joel, a smuggler who is tasked with escorting a young girl named Ellie across a post-apocalyptic United States, while avoiding infected humans and hostile survivors. The Last of Us Part II continues the story, with players taking control of both Ellie and a new protagonist named Abby as they navigate the aftermath of the events of the first game.

The game has been widely praised for its compelling story, strong characters, and immersive gameplay. It has won numerous awards and is considered one of the best video game franchises of all time. The franchise has also been adapted into a television series by HBO, which is set to debut in 2022.

The TV series, developed by HBO and directed by Johan Renck, is based on the game franchise of the same name and stars Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie. The showrunner for the series is Craig Mazin. Along with Pascal and Ramsey, other notable actors such as Gabriel Luna and Merle Dandridge also feature in the cast. The show will adapt the storyline of the first game, with some changes and additions to the plot.

Emotional Impact

One of the primary reasons for the emotional impact of The Last of Us series is the depth of its storytelling. The games are not just about survival in a post-apocalyptic world; they are also about the relationships that develop between the characters as they try to navigate through the difficult and dangerous world they inhabit. The games explore the themes of love, loss, sacrifice, and the human condition in a way that is both realistic and relatable, making players deeply invested in the characters’ journeys.

The characters in The Last of Us are complex and multifaceted, with their own unique personalities and motivations. Players get to see the world through their eyes, experience their struggles, and feel their pain. The relationships between the characters are often fraught with tension and conflict, as they try to navigate the difficult situations they find themselves in.

The Last of Us also features some of the most memorable and heart-wrenching moments in video game history. Whether it is the devastating loss of a loved one, the struggle to survive against all odds, or the moments of hope and redemption that come along the way, the games are designed to evoke a wide range of emotions in players.

Overall, The Last of Us series is known for its powerful storytelling and emotional impact. Its complex characters and exploration of difficult themes make it a standout in the video game industry, and it has left a lasting impression on players around the world.


Representation is a crucial aspect of any form of media, and The Last of Us series is no exception. The games feature a diverse cast of characters, including strong female leads, LGBTQ+ representation, and characters with disabilities. This representation is important for promoting diversity and inclusivity in media, and for promoting empathy and understanding of different experiences.

One of the standout characters in The Last of Us series is Ellie, a young woman who is not only a skilled fighter but also a lesbian. The games do not shy away from portraying her sexuality, and it is an integral part of her character. This representation is important because it helps to normalize LGBTQ+ identities and helps players who identify as LGBTQ+ see themselves represented in the media they consume.

The series also features characters with disabilities, such as Joel’s daughter Sarah, who uses a wheelchair, and Tommy, Joel’s brother, who loses an eye. These characters are portrayed in a realistic and respectful manner, and their disabilities are not used as a plot device but rather as a part of who they are. This representation is important because it helps to promote understanding and acceptance of disabilities and helps to break down stereotypes and stigmas associated with them.

Overall, The Last of Us series’ commitment to representation is commendable. By featuring diverse characters with a range of experiences and identities, the games promote empathy and understanding and help to create a more inclusive and diverse media landscape.

Ethical Dilemmas

The Last of Us series is not just about action and survival but also about the difficult choices and moral dilemmas that arise in a post-apocalyptic world. The games present players with ethical dilemmas that force them to confront difficult choices and their consequences. These choices can be as simple as deciding whether to help a stranger or as complex as deciding whether to sacrifice one person for the greater good.

One of the standout examples of ethical dilemmas in The Last of Us series is the choice between sparing or killing enemies. While it may be easier to simply kill enemies, the games encourage players to consider the morality of their actions and the consequences of their decisions. Killing an enemy may provide a temporary solution, but it may also lead to more violence and retaliation, ultimately making the situation worse.

Another example of an ethical dilemma in the games is the choice between self-preservation and sacrificing oneself for the greater good. The games often present situations where the player must decide whether to prioritize their own safety or the safety of others. These choices are not always clear-cut and require careful consideration of the situation and the consequences of one’s actions.

The Last of Us series’ presentation of ethical dilemmas encourages critical thinking and introspection, helping players to develop their own moral compass and make better decisions in their lives. By forcing players to confront difficult choices and their consequences, the games help to promote empathy and understanding of different perspectives and experiences.

In conclusion, The Last of Us series’ use of ethical dilemmas is a powerful tool for encouraging critical thinking and introspection. By presenting players with difficult choices and forcing them to consider the consequences of their actions, the games help to promote empathy, understanding, and the development of a strong moral compass.

Immersion and Empathy

The Last of Us series is renowned for its immersive qualities, which help players to fully engage with the games’ worlds and characters. The games feature incredibly detailed environments, realistic characters with complex personalities, and immersive gameplay mechanics that allow players to feel like they are a part of the game world. This immersion can foster empathy and understanding of different perspectives and experiences, as players are able to experience the challenges faced by the characters in the games.

One of the ways that the games promote empathy is through their focus on character development. The Last of Us series’ characters are complex and multifaceted, with their own distinct personalities, motivations, and struggles. Players are able to witness the characters’ growth and development over time, leading to a deeper understanding of their experiences and perspectives.

Additionally, the games’ environments are incredibly detailed, featuring realistic depictions of post-apocalyptic cities, towns, and wilderness areas. These environments can help players to gain a greater understanding of different cultures and lifestyles, as they are immersed in a world that is vastly different from their own.

Finally, the games’ immersive gameplay mechanics can also foster empathy and understanding. The Last of Us series’ combat system is realistic and challenging, requiring players to carefully consider their actions and the consequences of their decisions. This can help players to develop a greater sense of empathy and understanding for the characters they play as, as they are forced to make difficult choices and face the consequences of their actions.

Overall, The Last of Us series’ immersion and emphasis on character development, realistic environments, and immersive gameplay mechanics can help to foster empathy and understanding of different perspectives and experiences. By immersing players in a rich and detailed world, the games can help to break down barriers and promote a greater sense of empathy and understanding for others.


The Last of Us series is important for humans for various reasons, including its emotional impact, representation, ethical dilemmas, and immersion. These elements can have a profound impact on players, leading to personal growth, empathy, and a better understanding of the world around them. The Last of Us series is more than just a video game franchise; it is a medium that can help us explore complex issues, connect with others, and ultimately, become better human beings.

In conclusion, The Last of Us series has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on players, showcasing the power of storytelling to evoke emotion and promote empathy. As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming movie adaptation, let’s take a moment to appreciate the lessons we’ve learned from the game and commit to seeking out more uplifting stories and valuable life lessons in the world of movies and TV shows. Together, let’s continue to explore the vast world of entertainment and learn from the impactful stories it has to offer. Join me in this call to action to make the most of the incredible medium of storytelling and find inspiration in the characters and worlds we encounter.