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TLoU Easter Egg Proves "The Road" Was A Big Inspiration?

Just occasionally, my love of reading gives me a bit of insight into gaming.

Back when I first heard the premise of Naughty Dog's new PS3 exclusive project, The Last Of Us, I immediately thought of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Road." There are some very obvious similarities, including the partnership between Joel and Ellie (although in the book, it was a father and his son).

Now, a Reddit user has located an Easter Egg in the game that may prove McCarthy's book was a major inspiration for the game. Just click the link at the end of the post, and you'll see an image of two books, one of which is "The Road." This was found in Ellie's backpack, apparently. For the record, in the novel, there is no nasty virus that turns humans into freakish monsters, nor is there a specifically defined reason as to why civilization has come to an end. It's purposely vague on that point.

But I've always thought the inspiration was clear. And if you loved The Last Of Us, I strongly recommend you read "The Road." It's a very quick read and I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Related Game(s): The Last Of Us

Tags: the last of us, naughty dog, the road, cormac mccarthy

8/28/2013 11:45:09 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (36 posts)

KidPresentable
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 12:14:06 PM
Reply

I've read The Road and I wouldn't say that TLoU has obvious similarities. Hardly any, really.TLoU does use a lot of tired post alocalyptic cliches, but I would hardly label them 'The Road- inspired'. TLoU has a lot more in common with some of Brian Keene's works, if anything.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 12:30:13 PM

Lave it to you to only show up to bash the last of us. Dude, get a life.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 12:56:29 PM

Ben gonna come with the smack down.



wait for it
=p

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 12:59:31 PM

I just find it odd that this dude loathes the last of us so much that he's only compelled to comment when Ben posts about it. Strange....

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 1:25:37 PM

I'm really not going to bother. Especially when it was transparent from the start that this joker signed up only to cause trouble. Let's just say I'm quite confident in my literary comprehension and capabilities.

And I, unlike Kid here, have a professional history that would prove that.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 8/28/2013 1:26:07 PM

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 1:39:22 PM

He should change his alias to KidPredictable. =P

Okay, I'm done.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 1:52:44 PM

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/172702-road/

http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/06/18/how-to-survive-a-real-life-the-last-of-us

http://kotaku.com/the-last-of-us-the-kotaku-review-511292998

http://www.giantbomb.com/the-last-of-us/3030-36989/forums/the-road-the-video-game-528013/
(check the date of that forum post)

'nuff said

Last edited by Temjin001 on 8/28/2013 1:53:34 PM

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MeXiCaNFiGhTe12
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:06:00 PM

Leave him alone guys everyone has their own personal opinion and you don't always have to agree with it.

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KidPresentable
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:19:56 PM

I can easily prove that there are more parallels between some of Brian Keene's novels and TLoU, or even the film Children of Men and TLoU than The Road and TLoU. I don't care what you do professionally. Being extremely knowledgeable on all things post apocalyptic is something I take pardonable pride in. You want to have a serious debate and not pander to your cheerleaders, I'm game. By the way, have you even finshed The Road yet?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:34:50 PM

Of course I finished the book. And no to the "serious debate," thank you. You've yet to concede a single solitary point to anyone at this site, and I don't debate with that level of egotism.

The statement that The Last Of Us has "hardly any" similarities to The Road is incorrect. But by all means, believe what you want.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 8/28/2013 2:35:31 PM

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Temjin001
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:35:02 PM

Kid, you're changing your point.

"I've read The Road and I wouldn't say that TLoU has obvious similarities. Hardly any, really."

To feel other books may have more parallels doesn't actually address your supposition in the first place. That is the Road and the Last of Us have basically nothing in common.
You realize you're arguing not just Ben's opinion but the majority of gamers' and critics alike?

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Temjin001
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:40:35 PM

...and to think what inspired this article in the first place, the Easter Egg referencing "The Road", has incited such a backlash from yourself Kid suggests more about yourself then anything.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:48:39 PM

Anything that casts The Last of Us in favorable light is just unacceptable to KidPredictable apparently. The overwhelming consensus is this game is deserving of all its accolades and that yes, there was very real similarities and influence from The Road. But since KidPredicablte hated it, it must be knocked down a rung or two or three or how ever many he wants in order to justify his odd obsession with hating on this game.

As for it just being his opinion, sure, it's his opinion that the game wasn't great and hes entitled to it no matter how many times he has to remind us, but he's obviously dead wrong on this. And trying justify his wrongness by throwing out the "it's just his opinion" card is an attempt to immunize him from being told he's wrong.

Last edited by Jawknee on 8/28/2013 2:51:31 PM

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KidPresentable
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:50:20 PM

I'm referencing story points. Yes, they are thematically similar because barren towns and cities, murderous survivors, and lack of food and ammo to defend oneself is par for the post apocalyptic course. The only thing that The Road has in common beyond that is the fact that it is a trek by a man and a young person. That is it.

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KidPresentable
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:59:16 PM

And I don't understand how saying it's dissimilar to the Road is 'hating on it'. I played it a second time and enjoyed it much more than the first time. And Chidren of Men is as highly acclaimed as The Road, if not morso.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 7:32:52 PM

"The only thing that The Road has in common beyond that is the fact that it is a trek by a man and a young person. That is it."

If you played TLOU you'd know it's all about how two people survive on a trek across America, with the pressures of a post-apocalyptic world. Naughty Dog themselves cite The Road as a major inspiration. I heard City Of Thieves many times as a major inspiration also, which also so happens to be based around the relationship of two people in a ravaged world. They all share a similar tone.

I actually saw a book in the game called 'The World Without Us', which is another thing they said inspired them. Pretty sure I saw a few others too. Which to say is that yes, partially I agree with you; TLOU is its own game. Everything in existance takes inspiration from something, but you take that with your own thoughts to make something your own.

I haven't actually read any of the books I'm talking about though...lol...I need to read more :(

I also enjoyed it more the second time through, because a lot of the game is underplayed; you really have to search to find things out. Or there are things that you just didn't think about much.

(SPOILER) Example, because I know what happens after, the giraffe scene had more meaning to it. These might've have been in a zoo, against their own free will. And they look so peaceful now that they've been free - now that humans are gone. And then you think about Ellie. You think that it's better with no cure for humanity - for her to be free. And this is just like...one scene, one way of looking at it, lol. It's a really deep game...I can't wait for my third playthrough.

34 hours on my second playthrough, which is pretty nuts for what you could call a linear game.

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Beamboom
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 3:24:43 AM

I would not rule out the chance that there are other movies and stories out there who are more similar to TLoU than The Road.

The setting is obviously similar, but to knock Kid down for saying that it ends there without even looking into what he says more, well I think that's wrong of you all.
And he's not bashing TLoU at all here. not at all!

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/29/2013 3:38:31 AM

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 12:31:45 PM
Reply

The tone of the game felt very The Roadish from start to finish. Was kind of obvious to me without this Easter egg.

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homura
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 1:30:38 PM
Reply

Funny thing. I've just started playing Tomb Raider after finishing TLOU 3X and I thought that I'm gonna be blown away by the graphics but I'm not. Damn Naughty Dogs, the Last Of Us is so good that it feels like Tomb Raider is a mediocre game when it's not. And it feels so easy playing it on hard. And I think I'm gonna get back on TLOU after finishing Tomb Raider.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 1:37:47 PM

They do set the bar quite high don't they?

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Temjin001
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 1:40:27 PM

Naughty Dog uses all of the PS3.

Crystal Dynamics uses the intersection of power between the 360 and PS3.

PS3 > 360

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:23:05 PM

Ya gotta give multiplats a handicap.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:54:19 PM

Really? I got a first cheap copy recently and started it today and I thought the graphics look phenomenal, easily one of the best looking games I`ve seen this gen. Really enjoying it aswell, I confess I was never into the old Tomb Raiders, but cant get enough of this.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 3:02:46 PM

I think that's the point he's making. That Tomb Raider looks great but is dwarfed in comparison to Naughty Dogs work.

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bigrailer19
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 4:32:15 PM

I think Jawknees is correct, that it was not meant to be a knock on Tomb Raider at all. But more of a compliment to ND's work.

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FatherSun
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 5:06:19 PM

Naughty Dog has spoiled us!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:19:24 PM
Reply

My love of reading and gaming are inextricably linked.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:24:00 PM
Reply

I can't recommend the movie though, it was pointless and heartless.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 8/28/2013 2:24:27 PM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:30:41 PM

Really? I thought it was great! A 7.3 on IMDB is really quite good too.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/28/2013 2:31:25 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:46:21 PM

I still like Viggo though :)

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 2:58:48 PM

I thought the movie was pretty much the cinematic definition of post-apocalyptic movies. It really set the bar before we got a flood of movies, and games dealing with the subject matter, I very nearly passed on TLoU because I was truly getting sick of the high volume of post-apocalyptic settings in media. But I gave in and didnt find it tedious one bit. But I guarantee there will be more over the next 5 years, games too.

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Crabba
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 3:24:59 PM

Glad to see I'm not alone in this. One of the most disappointing movies I've seen in the last few years, couldn't put it better myself - "pointless and heartless", I remember as I continued watching the movie, assuming that it'd have to get better later on... never did.

Beamboom: sadly imdb has lost any credibility lately. It used to be great back in the day, but it seems like every piece of junk movie gets a 7-8 on imdb nowadays.

I'm guessing the book is much better, maybe I'll give the book a shot one day, when I have time...

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Beamboom
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 3:21:44 AM

Ok now I just have to stick up for this film here.

I found the atmosphere to be wonderful in this movie. It felt alone. Ok so it wasn't this action packed Great American Hero speech movie, instead it was rather quiet and calm at times - but I think it suited this movie wonderfully.

And the transformation of the father (wonderfully acted by Mortensen), where we at first think of him as the protector and the light, but how he gradually deterioated, with the dramatic highlight of when he coldheartedly and with no reason whatsoever forced that beggar/thief to strip down, and how the kid reacted to this, watching it all and started to doubt his father, well it was all completely heartbreaking for me. Man I get the goosebumps even when I write this.

And without giving away too much for those who want to see this movie I have to say that the end, where it turned out that the thing that chased them throughout the entire movie in fact was the thing that ultimately would save his son, oh man it was just perfect. All of a sudden all those other moments earlier came in a totally different light, and you realized that the father in his attempts to protect his son in fact did him a disfavour. But at the SAME time, the son *needed* the father. There's no black/white here, just loads of deeper meanings.

Oh man, this is a great, great movie. I love the complexity of it, the many layers of dependence/hindrance/protectionist/opportunist.
And I don't accept anyone saying anything different! :)

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/29/2013 4:01:55 AM

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Knightzane
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 6:55:54 PM
Reply

Well after reading everyones comments im going to try and find a movie iteration of The Road or the book. Thanks everyone, anything thats like TLOU is a good past time lol

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PlatformGamerNZ
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 10:12:21 PM
Reply

well i thought the game was amazing great story really gud challenge.

but well this is a interesting developement.

happy gaming =)

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PC_Max
Thursday, August 29, 2013 @ 6:07:04 PM
Reply

I would say it does not matter what inspired the game to such an extent. Some say there is no such thing as an original idea. All ideas are based on those that preceded it. A base or foundation to build upon.

BUT like Orson Scott Card said in regards to writing a story... and I paraphrase here... it does not matter whether the story has been told or a version of it has been told... what is important is that it was not told by you so that should not stop you from writing it.

We all bring our own experiences or views to a story. Regardless if it was inspired from from somewhere else, certain elements will be unique to you or in unique in the sense you place importance on them. Geez starting to sound like a philosophy teacher.

Anyway, good game, have not read the book, seen a little of the movie (will try to do them all eventually).

Keep playing, reading, watching!

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