Troy Baker, who voiced The Last of Us protagonist Joel in the original game, clarifies that the HBO show and the game are different retellings.
Voice actor Troy Baker wants to make it clear that playing The Last of Us is not required to enjoy the new HBO show.
Baker, who voiced the protagonist Joel in Naughty Dog’s original game, was interviewed in a promotional video for the show following its recent premiere. One question he addressed was whether the show’s story might be confusing to viewers who’ve never touched the video game. “Absolutely not,” Baker said. “The beauty of this is that it is two versions, two retellings of the same story. So if you haven’t played the video game, you can completely enjoy the show as a standalone.”
However, Baker goes on to say that anybody who’s interested should still play the game anyway. “But I will tell you this,” Baker said. “I don’t think it’s an either/or. It’s not either play the game or watch the show. This is a ‘yes, and.’ Play the game, then watch the show, or watch the show then play the game. And enjoy discovering the differences.”
The Last of Us Set a High Standard
The Last of Us first came out in 2013 and was widely praised for its story and cinematic style. Developer Naughty Dog went on to make a sequel in 2020, and a remake of the original game was released in 2022 on Playstation 5. After a global pandemic caused by the Cordyceps fungus mutates countless people into cannibalistic monsters, a lone survivor named Joel (Baker) encounters a young girl named Ellie (Ashley Johnson) who is immune to the fungal infection. The grizzled survivor must smuggle her across the post-apocalyptic United States in hopes of creating a cure.
Both the 2013 game and the HBO show follow the same general story, although there are minor differences between the two so far. In the game, Joel and Ellie meet 20 years after the infections begin in 2013. The show moves the world-ending pandemic back to 2003, so that Joel and Ellie (played in live-action by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, respectively) meet in the present day. The show also spends more time with Joel’s daughter Sarah, who only appears briefly in the video game.
While Pascal plays the main role in the HBO show, Baker does appear in a minor role as a settler named James. Besides voicing Joel in The Last of Us and its sequel, Baker is a prolific voice actor in video games and animation. He’s voiced the player character in BioShock Infinite, Infamous Second Son, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and plays Bruce Banner in Marvel’s Avengers.
The Last of Us is currently available to stream on HBO.
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