The Last of Us is one of the best and most successful PlayStation exclusives of all time. After developing the successful platforming video game series Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, video game developer Naughty Dog has gained experience and a reputation in developing multiple AAA game franchises.
The first such result was Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, which was successful enough to launch a new franchise for Naughty Dog. It was followed by two sequels in 2009 and 2011, respectively, and finally concluded with a fourth installment in 2016 and a standalone expansion of The Lost Legacy in 2017.
After the release of Uncharted 2, Naughty Dog split into two teams. While one team was developing Uncharted 3, which was released in 2011, the other half began development on The Last of Us, the game that would begin another successful franchise for Naughty Dog.
The Last of Us was first released in 2013 exclusively for PlayStation 3. The game received universal praise from critics and remains one of the best games ever released on this console to this day. Following its success, the game received a standalone expansion and a remastered version for PS4 in 2014.
After completing the Uncharted franchise in 2017, Naughty Dog focused on the development of The Last of Us Part II. Widely anticipated, Part II was finally released in 2020. It is one of the best-selling and fastest-selling PlayStation 4 exclusives ever and broke the record for the most Game of the Year awards.
Although it has yet to be officially confirmed, it is expected that Naughty Dog is currently working on the third major entry in the franchise. What we do know for sure is that the company is also developing a multiplayer game set in the world of The Last of Us.
How many The Last Of Us games are out there?
At the moment of writing this article, there are two main games and one DLC expansion in The Last of Us franchise. However, the first game, which was first released in 2013 for the PS3, received a remastered version in 2014 for the PS4. The first game’s DLC titled Left Behind was first released on Valentine’s Day 2014 and was included in the remastered version of the game. Another major installment of the franchise; The Last of Us Part II was released in July 2020.
In September 2022, a remake of the original game, titled The Last of Us Part I, was released for PS5, and it is set to be released in March 2023 for PC. This remake also includes the DLC Left Behind.
The Last of Us games in order (at glance)
The Last of Us franchise has been around for a decade, and while there aren’t as many sequels as you’d expect for such an old game, each one has always been absolutely worth the wait, and that’s why each upcoming entry in the franchise is highly anticipated. This is the order of the games at a glance:
- The Last of Us (2013) / The Last of Us Remastered (2014) / The Last of Us Part I (2022)
- The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014) — DLC
- The Last of Us Part II (2020)
If you’ve never played the original game, it absolutely doesn’t matter whether you play the original version, the remastered version, or the remake, at least as far as the story is concerned. The main difference between each of these re-releases is the graphical improvement. It all depends on which console you plan to play on.
Note that the remastered version of the game is also playable on PS5 due to backward compatibility. So if the improved graphics aren’t crucial to you, the remastered (read, cheaper) version will be just fine on the PS5.
The Last of Us games in order (release date)
1. The Last of Us (2013) / Remastered (2014) / Remake (2022)
After developing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, two highly successful action-adventure games, Naughty Dog was ready to create a new IP, so they split into two teams; one of them worked on Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and the other team started development on The Last of Us. Neil Druckmann wrote the story and co-directed the game, while video game veteran Troy Baker was hired to portray Joel and Ashley Johnson was hired to portray Ellie. The actors gave their characters both voices and motion captures.
The game was first announced in December 2011 and was highly anticipated until its release in June 2013. The game received universal acclaim. Both critics and players praised the gameplay, narrative, story, graphics, music, and character development. The game won multiple Game of the Year awards and is still considered one of the best video games ever made.
Following the release of the PlayStation 4 in November 2013, the game was remastered and re-released for that console in July 2014. A remake for PS5 was released in September 2022, titled The Last of Us Part I. Although the remake was praised for its graphical improvement, the fact that players had to pay full price for basically the same game again didn’t sit well with some fans.
2. The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014)
The Last of Us: Left Behind is an expansion pack for the first The Last Us game. This DLC switches between two stories; one that is set three weeks before the events of the first game and the other that is set during the events of the first game. The story follows Ellie and her relationship with her best friend Riley.
After the huge success of the original game, this DLC was widely anticipated. It was released on Valentine’s Day 2014 and received positive reviews, particularly for its character development and portrayal of female and LGBT characters. Critics have praised the kiss scene between Ellie and Riley as a “breakthrough moment” in video game history.
When the first game was remastered and remade in 2014 and 2022 respectively, Left Behind was also included in both releases.
3. The Last of Us Part II (2020)
After the great success of the original game, players and fans around the world have been waiting for a sequel. The Last of Us Part II was officially announced at the PlayStation Experience event in December 2016, generating much anticipation and excitement among gamers around the world. Neil Druckmann returned as writer and director, with Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson reprising their roles from the first game. Veteran video game actress Laura Bailey has joined the sequel as Abby, a new playable character. Development of the game reportedly involved overtime of 12 hours a day.
After some delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Last of Us Part II was released in June 2020 and became the fastest-selling PlayStation exclusive. The game has been praised for its graphics, gameplay, performance, and character development. Despite this, it was review-bombarded by a part of the fanbase and to this day fans are divided on whether the sequel is better than the original. Part II won more Game of the Year awards than any other game at the time.
Following the release of Part II, Neil Druckmann was promoted to co-president of Naughty Dog.
Where to acquire The Last of Us game?
Being a PlayStation exclusive, every installment of The Last of Us franchise is available on PlayStation Store. The original version of the first game isn’t available digitally anymore, but The Last of Us Remastered and the remake The Last of Us Part I are both available. Keep in mind that on PS4 you can only play the remaster, while on PS5 you can play both remaster and the remake. Have no worry, DLC Left Behind is included in both of these versions of the first game.
The Last of Us Part II is also available on PlayStation Store and can be played on both PS4 and PS5.
Do you need to play The Last of Us games in order?
This is definitely recommended considering that the story of the second part was heavily influenced by the ending of the first game. Also, Part II contains flashback sequences that take the player back to the events of the first game, so playing the second game first is definitely not recommended. Also, be sure to play the Left Behind DLC after completing the first game. The game will tell you the same in the main menu when you try to start the DLC.
Are The Last of Us games connected?
Yes definitely. The thing about The Last of Us is that it’s one big story carefully divided between each part, which makes The Last of Us always the perfect choice if you’re looking to binge-play some game franchise. Watching these characters grow with each step of the game is a gaming experience like no other.
Will there be more The Last of Us games and projects?
Ever since The Last of Us Part II was released, fans have been hoping that Naughty Dog plans to develop another big sequel to the trilogy. Druckmann revealed that he has written a story outline, but the game is still not in active development. After the release of Part II, Naughty Dog has been busy developing a remake of the first game and they are currently working on a multiplayer game set in the world of The Last of Us.
Although Druckmann remains tight-lipped about the next major installment, it’s highly likely that fans will one day get a chance to experience Part III. When that will happen, no one can say, but we’re looking forward to what the world of The Last of Us will bring us next.
The live-action HBO series The Last of Us, co-created by Druckmann and Craig Mazin, and starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, is set to premiere on January 15, 2023.