The Last of Us: A Gaming Classic With a Morally Divisive Ending

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In 2013, The Last of Us made history with its ambiguous and morally divisive ending. Unlike many other games that present a straightforward, satisfying end where the good guys win and the bad guys lose, The Last of Us chose to embrace uncertainty, leaving players with conflicting emotions and moral dilemmas. The ending of the game still remains one of the most talked-about and debated in gaming history, and for a good reason. This article will delve into the specifics of the game’s ending and premise, so there will be spoilers ahead.

The Last of Us Takes a Different Approach to Post-Apocalyptic Storytelling

The Last of Us was released on PlayStation 3 in 2013 as a gritty, post-apocalyptic game set in a world where a plague has wiped out most of humanity. Players follow the journey of Joel and Ellie as they try to survive and find hope in a seemingly hopeless world. The game was notable for its brutal violence, traumatic character deaths, and slow-paced gameplay focused on stealth and crafting. However, the ending of the game is what truly sets it apart from other post-apocalyptic games.

Instead of having a conventional, neat resolution, The Last of Us ends with a morally gray situation that raises more questions than it answers. Joel, the main character, chooses to save Ellie from being killed for the possible vaccine of the disease, killing everyone who stands in his way in the process. He then lies to Ellie about what happened, leaving her in a state of uncertainty. The game ends without providing any clear answers or moral judgments.

This approach to storytelling is what makes The Last of Us such a powerful game. While other post-apocalyptic games might use sci-fi mumbo jumbo or deus-ex-machina solutions to resolve conflicts, The Last of Us chooses to focus on the human element of the story. It’s not about saving the world or making things right; it’s about the choices that people make in desperate situations and the consequences that follow.

The Last of Us Challenges Players to Re-evaluate Their Morals and Values

One of the most significant strengths of The Last of Us is how it challenges players to re-evaluate their morals and values. Throughout the game, the lines between the protagonist and the antagonist blur, forcing players to question who the real “good guys” are. The ending of the game is no exception to this. Players are left with conflicting emotions and moral dilemmas as they try to reconcile Joel’s actions with their own values.

Some players might view Joel’s actions as selfish or even immoral. After all, he chose to save Ellie’s life at the cost of potentially dooming humanity to a never-ending cycle of disease and despair. Others might sympathize with Joel’s decision, seeing it as a necessary sacrifice to protect the people he cares about. These conflicting viewpoints are what make The Last of Us such a powerful game, as it forces players to confront difficult questions without providing easy answers.

The Last of Us Is Not Just a Tale of Gore and Violence

Some critics might view The Last of Us as nothing more than a display of gore and violence, without much redeeming value to say. However, this perspective fails to consider the game’s themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and the human condition. The Last of Us is not just a tale of violence and brutality but a story about the lengths people will go to protect the ones they love.

Joel’s decision to save Ellie, even though it might have doomed humanity, is a testament to the power of love and loyalty. While it’s easy to see Joel as a villain, it’s essential to consider the circumstances and the choices he had to make. In a world where everything you love can be taken away in an instant, what would you do to protect the people you care about?

The Last of Us Reminds Us That There Are No Easy Answers

In a world where many games provide easy answers and clear-cut moral judgments, The Last of Us reminds us that life is complicated, and there are no easy answers. The game’s ending is not a neatly tied-up resolution, but a complex and morally ambiguous situation that raises more questions than it answers. It challenges players to re-evaluate their values and consider what they would do in Joel’s situation.

While some players might view The Last of Us as a depressing and nihilistic game, it’s important to remember that it’s not without hope. Despite the bleak and hopeless world that the characters inhabit, there are still moments of compassion and love that shine through. The Last of Us is not just a game about survival; it’s a game about the human spirit’s resilience and the power of hope.

The Last of Us Continues to Be a Gaming Classic

10 years after its release, The Last of Us remains a gaming classic that has left a significant impact on the industry. Its ambiguous ending and morally complex characters have influenced many other games and stories, showing that there’s a hunger for more emotionally challenging and intellectually stimulating narratives in the gaming world.

The Last of Us is not just a game; it’s a work of art that has pushed the boundaries of what gaming can achieve. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling and the human condition, reminding us that even in the darkest of times, there’s still hope to be found.


The Last of Us is a game that has left a lasting impression on the gaming industry and continues to serve as an example of how gaming can be more than just entertainment. It challenges players to re-evaluate their values and view the world through a different lens, reminding us that life is complicated, and there are no easy answers. While its ending might be morally divisive, it’s important to keep in mind the deeper themes and messages that the game conveys. The Last of Us is not just a tale of gore and violence, but a story about love, loyalty, and the human spirit’s resilience. It’s a work of art that deserves to be remembered as a gaming classic for years to come.

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