7 Video Game Scenes ‘The Last of Us’ Premiere Nailed

HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ is already poised to be one of the best video game adaptations ever. Relive the heartbreaking premiere with these 7 game-accurate scenes!

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The Last of Us game-accurate scenes

The highly anticipated premiere of HBO’s The Last of Us was everything fans of the game have been asking for— a faithful adaptation. Based on just one episode, it’s clear the showrunners took extra care to pay their respects to the original game (as they should, considering Naughty Dog’s co-president Neil Druckmann is a showrunner).

Especially in key moments, The Last of Us stuck to its source material. But what’s truly exciting is that the show sometimes veers off the path to expand on side characters, fleshing them out more than what the gameplay allowed. The result is a gripping premiere that welcomed long-time fans back with open arms while inviting new fans who aren’t familiar with the game to dive in.

The show’s premiere featured quite a few game-accurate scenes that had us recreating the Leonardo DiCaprio meme. We’ve rounded up seven of those scenes for your enjoyment— take a look!

1. Sarah gives Joel his watch

Sarah and Joel in The Last of Us video game and HBO series; watch scene
cr. Naughty Dog, MKIceAndFire, HBO

It’s one of the only sweet moments to be had between Joel and his daughter before the entire world goes to hell, and HBO captured the relationship between Joel and Sarah beautifully. Specifically, I loved that they included Sarah’s line about selling “hardcore drugs” to get the money to fix Joel’s watch. Seeing little details like this be included in the show is incredibly reassuring for game fans.

2. Joel kills an infected neighbor

Sarah and Joel in The Last of Us video game and HBO series; infected neighbor
cr. Naughty Dog, MKIceAndFire, HBO

While the infected neighbor who’s killed by Joel differs from the game, the way the scene plays out is almost spot on, down to Sarah saying, “You [killed/shot] them” as she looks on in horror at the aftermath of what just unfolded in front of her. Even the way Nico Parker delivered the line in the show was eerily similar to the game.

3. The entire truck scene

Tommy and Joel in The Last of Us video game and HBO series; truck scene
cr. Naughty Dog, MKIceAndFire, HBO

The show’s decision to almost completely mirror the original game in this scene is genius. If anything, it’s even scarier in the show. The biggest, and only major change to the scene is the cause of the car wreck. The show has a plane crash cause the car wreck rather than a car crashing into Joel, Tommy, and Sarah’s truck. The plane crash fits within the show’s universe so much better than the collision for two reasons.

First, the plane fits the larger scope of the show and ups the intensity. Second, it plays into the timeline perfectly. In the show, the outbreak happened in 2003, just two years after 9/11, so plane crashes and terrorist attacks are no doubt very real fears plaguing everyone pre-outbreak. Sarah even asks Joel if the virus is “from terrorists,” so it all just fits into the story so seamlessly (and realistically).

4. “Come on, baby girl”

Joel and Sarah in The Last of Us video game and HBO series; Sarah's death
cr. Naughty Dog, MKIceAndFire, HBO

I mean, need I say more? This is the scene we were all waiting for, and HBO delivered. Pedro Pascal and Nico Parker nailed it, capturing all the heartbreak and despair that we felt when we first played the game in 2013. They made us cry again, and to them, I say, “How dare you,” but also, “Bravo.”

5. Public executions

public executions in The Last of Us video game and HBO series
cr. Naughty Dog, MKIceAndFire, HBO

While the method of execution is different than the game, I think it’s smart that the show kept this scene. Watching people be publicly executed for breaking seemingly minor laws, like unauthorized travel in and out of quarantine zones, establishes the draconian nature of humanity post-outbreak. Punishments are harsh, and it’s another glimpse at just how far humanity has fallen since the cordyceps virus took over. It quickly established the oppressive nature of society in this post-apocalyptic world.

6. “Killing time”

Joel in The Last of Us video game and HBO series

It’s one of the first scenes we get with just Ellie and Joel, and it’s a great way to start establishing the relationship between them that’ll drive the story forward. The showrunners did a fantastic job bringing this scene to life in live-action. The line delivery, the camera angles, all of it was straight from the game. I can’t wait to see what Joel and Ellie scene the show brings to life next (hopefully Ellie’s joke book!).

7. Leaning towers

leaning towers in The Last of Us video game and HBO series
cr. Naughty Dog, MKIceAndFire, HBO

Those leaning, dilapidated towers are a chilling image that sticks in your mind. It’s one of the shots I’ve always remembered from the game. When it appeared in the show’s teaser trailer, I cheered. Ending the premiere with that shot while Depeche Mode plays is just straight-up awesome, and it’s an excellent way to get people excited about episode two.


HBO’s The Last of Us airs Sunday nights at 9pm ET on HBO and HBO Max. And don’t worry, we’ll be here covering each episode each week. From breaking news to episode reactions on Twitter, we’ve got you covered. Stay tuned for more content from The Last of Us here at Bookstr!

FEATURED IMAGE VIA HBO