Seven years later, Troy Baker, the prolific voice actor who brought Joel to life in The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II, tells fans what his personal take is on the events that played out in the epic conclusion of the Naughty Dog blockbuster that birthed the grim franchise. He has harsher words for Joel than fans might expect, but he also empathizes with the character’s motivations.
Sony first-party developer Naughty Dog is rightfully and immensely proud of its games, which have captured the minds and hearts of millions. Today, September 26, is unofficially known by the studio as “The Last of Us Day” by fans of the franchise. In the game’s canon, the Cordyceps Brain Infection became a full-scale outbreak across America in 2013, which went on to become a worldwide civilization-shattering pandemic. (Due to uncomfortable comparisons to be drawn to real events, Naughty Dog has wisely renamed the event from its former “Outbreak Day” moniker.) Celebrating this day with its The Last of Us gaming community is something the developers make an annual priority. This year, Naughty Dog started its faux holiday celebrations by releasing new merchandise from the franchise, which includes figurines, downloads, and a new The Last of Us board game announcement. With hints of more to come, there is still a hope from fans that an announcement will be made by the video game developers of a new DLC or multiplayer mode for their most recent instalment into the franchise, The Last of Us Part II, later on today.
A lot of the games’ popularity stems from their incredible and relatable characters. The writing and development of its in-game cast, both playable and its NPCs, is widely praised. Troy Baker is the man behind the voice and motion capture acting of the central character, Joel Miller, in both releases of The Last of Us games. After remaining tight-lipped about how he feels about the extensively debated ending of The Last of Us for a long time, which sees his character killing a hospital full of Fireflies on the verge of curing the apocalyptic infection in order to save Ellie’s life before lying to her about his actions, he has finally revealed all to Stealth Optional. Surprisingly, Baker believes that Joel’s actions were “the most selfish act ever”. However, he says does not feel that the ending could have been played out any other way, as, in Joel’s eyes, Ellie was “his world” and more important than saving the wider one.
Troy Baker concludes that the true fault of Joel’s actions lies not in the deaths of the Fireflies and the future infected, but instead it is with the lie that he tells Ellie in the game’s epilogue. This is explored in The Last of Us Part II prior to Joel’s tragic murder before Ellie’s very eyes by pseudo-antagonist Abby, but many fans feel that the sequel’s quick pivot away from Joel doesn’t allow for this ultimate sacrifice and betrayal to be properly explored considering its importance.
The fact that the ending of The Last of Us is still such a prolific topic is one that fills Troy Baker with pride, “It’s something that people seemingly never stop debating, and to me, that is the mark of an amazing story”. It is exciting to see where Naughty Dog may take The Last of Us story next. Hopefully, fans will not have to wait too much longer for more from the The Last of Us universe.
Source: Stealth Optional
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About The Author
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Victoria is a freelance writer from the UK with a love for good games, bad films and buffet breakfasts. Affectionately known as Lady V, when she tells people she writes about gaming news, they assume she is talking about pheasants and shotguns. She is not.
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