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Nice Try ‘The Last of Us’ But No One Can Do the Zombie Apocalypse Better Than ‘The Walking Dead’

Nice Try 'The Last of Us' But No One Can Do the Zombie Apocalypse Better Than 'The Walking Dead'

Naughty Dog first graced the world with its captivating and storytelling video game masterpiece The Last of Us in the summer of 2013, and the rest is history. Earning multiple Game of the Year awards, a lot of critical acclaim from fans and critics alike, and how commercially successful it was, TLoU spawned a media franchise that is still being talked about to this day.

But another notable piece of media that was making the rounds on the internet at the same time was a TV series with a similar zombie apocalypse theme- AMC’s ever-famous The Walking Dead. With the release of a new TV series based on The Last of Us, a comparison between two of the most influential zombie apocalypse media franchises is long due.

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The Last of Us

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A Brief History of The Last of Us and The Walking Dead

2010 saw the dawn of a new decade filled with excitement and hope for a much more fruitful decade. At least on the entertainment side of things, we got a gem- The Walking Dead premiered on AMC on Halloween that year and has since become the one TV series about a zombie apocalypse that still stays relevant even in the 2020s.

The Last of Us FandomWire
The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman’s take on a zombie apocalypse TV series sees Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) and a roster of characters played by actors like Norman Reedus and Jon Bernthal trying their best to stay alive in the event of a zombie apocalypse against, well, zombies, and a host of other survivors with their own groups that are sometimes hostile and sometimes friendly.

The Last of Us FandomWire
The Last of Us

Related: “There’s nothing confirmed yet”: Ellie Actress Bella Ramsey Claims The Last of Us Season 2 Will Happen Under One Condition

On the other hand, we have The Last of Us. Neil Druckmann’s work revolving around Joel Miller and Ellie Williams had turned the video game industry upside down and set a bar on what a zombie-survival game could look like rather than just a shoot-and-move type of game.

The Last of Us was a success, and it was only a matter of time until someone decided to pick up the rights to the video game series and make a TV series out of it. And we have it! A TV series of the same name starring Pedro Pascal and Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie aired not too long ago this month and yes, its reception has been very positive.

Also Read: “There’s nothing confirmed yet”: The Last of Us Star Bella Ramsey Claims Season 2 Still Unsure Despite Record Breaking Viewership

The Walking Dead Makes A Mark Where The Last of Us Fails To Do So

However, which of the two is better? Some comparisons can be made for now.


Let’s get down to the basics, in terms of explaining why and how the world filled with zombies came to be, The Walking Dead basically does a better job. The only hint we get about the origins of the virus that started it all comes during the after-credits of the second season’s finale which hints at the virus emanating from a biomedical lab in France.

Robert Kirkman has himself stated that it isn’t really necessary to explain it in full, since the focus of the show was to show how humanity deals with a zombie apocalypse, begging for an answer to a bigger question- does humanity go one step forward or take two steps back after such a life-ending event?

The Last of Us FandomWire
Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead

Compare this to HBO’s The Last of Us, which thoroughly explains that a fungus named Cordyceps evolved despite the effects of global warming, thus creating a global pandemic. Those infected with the virus become this cannibalistic creature that resembles the typical zombies you see in series like these. Not much to unpack here, and not much to build upon really.

The main characters from both TV series are also very different in their outlook on life during a zombie apocalypse. Rick Grimes is a man, who despite having seen the worst of what humanity can be, is still a firm believer that humanity can go back to being normal and civilized.

Compared to The Last of Us, it’s just a grim world. As highlighted by its in-game comic series Savage Starlight, the goal is to simply endure and survive. Joel effectively also ends up removing any possibility of civilization’s resurgence by killing off those who intend to stop the fungus in order to save Ellie due to the guilt of not having saved his daughter in the past.

The Last of Us FandomWire
The Last of Us

Related: The Last of Us Creator Neil Druckmann Reveals Part 3 Update After Game Sales Went Up By 238% After HBO Release

It’s in this exact way that TLoU ends up creating a narrative that cuts off any possibility of making it back to normalcy while Grimes’ efforts in TWD are the labor of a man who sees a brighter future for humanity despite how flawed human nature is.

It may be too early to judge, and the showrunners of TLoU may end up creating a narrative moving away from what its video game counterpart wanted to paint. But as of now, TWD is the superior choice and has been for a decade (and more!).

The Last of Us is currently available for streaming on HBO Max.

Written by Sang Tonsing

Sang is a content writer for Fandomwire with over 300 published articles. He now has 3 years of experience and counting in content writing. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science at Delhi University.