A small detail noticed in The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2 gives players a glimpse into Joel's character development in the series. Naughty Dog's The Last of Us is revered for its story, and it's the intricate details like this that have helped give the story-driven title such love and respect from many gamers.
Nearly ten years after its initial release, The Last of Us has become one of the most popular story-driven action horror games, spawning a sequel and even a live-action adaptation for HBO. The first game's central protagonist, Joel, quickly became a beloved character by many who played the game and enjoyed getting to help him and Ellie on their treacherous journey across America in the hopes of Ellie being a cure for the horrifying cordyceps infection. From the first game to the sequel, Joel begins to grow and even heal in some ways that he didn't quite expect, thanks to the companionship of Ellie. Naughty Dog has a knack for showing character growth through small details, and one subtle detail helps demonstrate Joel's development through the two games.
Reddit user Turbulent-Arm7666 posted a comparison picture of Joel's home in The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2. At the beginning of The Last of Us, Joel has become a hardened smuggler living under FEDRA rule in Boston, but in The Last of Us Part 2 he has moved to a settlement in Jackson that has awarded him a more peaceful way of life. The difference between Joel's homes in the first and second installments demonstrate how far Joel has come since the story's gritty beginnings in Boston.
In Boston, Joel's living situation was bleak and without hope, but his home at the Jackson settlement shows how he's moved away from his difficult smuggling days and now gets to live a little more peacefully than before. This is a subtle detail, but it's a meaningful feature for Joel's narrative.
Although the difference between The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2 can be a divisive topic, Joel's environment reflecting himself as a character will hopefully be comforting to Joel fans who at least get to see a visual representation of his personal healing. There's high expectations for Naughty Dog's next game, and if it's a third The Last of Us installment there is sure to be just as many subtle details that help bring the story to life in unexpected ways.
The Last of Us Part 1 is available now on PS4, PS5 and PC.