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Plenty of games have produced comic book spinoffs, but Dark Horses' The Last of Us comic miniseries actually influenced the development of the game, and even altered Naughty Dog's approach to the game's ending. Be warned, there are spoilers.
Dark Horse recently release a four issues miniseries based on Naughty Dog's The Last of Us. Created by The Last of Us writer and director Neil Druckmann and comic creator Faith Erin Hicks, the series was a prequel that detailed Ellie's history, but it also introduced Ellie's friend Riley Abel. Those who played through the entire game have heard Riley name before, but if it hadn't been for the comic that character might not have existed at all.
During an interview at Comic Con, The Last of Us director and writer Neil Druckmann told us, "During the last speech Ellie gives during the game, she lists off all the people that have died on this journey, and the first name she lists is Riley. She was the first to die. They were both kind of bitten at the same time, but that little snippet in the comic influenced the development of the game, because originally we didn't have anyone with Ellie when she was bitten."
Druckmann went on to describe how the comic influenced the game in other ways. "Faith wrote this bit in the comic about this game, which was our Mortal Kombat rip off, and she described this fatality that took place in this fictional game. If you find the arcade cabinet in the game, Ellie tells you this story that Riley told her in the comic. And then during Winter, in the game, there are a few artifacts in Ellie's backpack and you can look at them, and you can see how Ellie got some of them in the comic, and that was something that came up fairly late in development and we had to make some changes, but I felt like it really helped tie those two stories together."
Naughty Dog felt that Hicks' contributions were so beneficial to the game that it actually included her name in the game's credits. Dark Horse's trade collection for The Last of Us comes out later this fall, and it sounds like it might be one of the few video game-based comics worth reading.
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