HBO Will Reiɡnite Tһe Most Controversiаl Video Gаme Debаte More Tһаn 4 Yeаrs Lаter

HBO is likely to reignite some incredibly controversial video game debates when The Last of Us season 2 repeats the games’ divisive plot points.

An image of Joel, Abby, and Ellie from The Last of Us Part II next to Bella Ramsey's Ellie and Pedro Pascal's Joel from HBO's The Last of Us show

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for the game The Last of Us Part II.


  • The Last of Us Part II faced considerable backlash and controversy, which is likely to be repeated with the show’s second season.
  • Divisive moments from the game, such as Joel’s early death and Ellie’s refusal to kill Abby, cannot be avoided in the show, potentially sparking uproar.
  • The show has an opportunity to address criticisms of the game, particularly in refining the character of Abby, and may not face the same intense reaction.

With anticipation building for The Last of Us season 2, the show is poised to repeat the most controversial video game debate four years after it first emerged. Indeed, the HBO show’s second season is in a far less stable position than its predecessor. While season 1 of The Last of Us was based on one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed video games ever made, season 2 will be based on the more divisive The Last of Us Part II, a game which, despite still enjoying strong critical reception, was subject to considerable fan backlash.

With the controversial character of Abby now cast for The Last of Us season 2, a fierce debate that plagued the game threatens to present itself once again. Some of the Last of Us Part II criticisms were hateful and invalid, while others were specific to the medium and release tactics of the game. Nevertheless, there are some divisive moments that cannot be avoided in the show, and they will likely spark uproar once again. It’s worth unpacking what happened with the game and whether the series will see the same fate.

Collage of Abby in The Last of Us Part II and Ellie in The Last of Us TV show
The Last Of Us Part II’s Ending Creates A Major Dilemma For Season 2’s Finale

The way The Last of Us Part II structures its ending will create a huge dilemma when the HBO show tries to adapt it into the season 2 finale.

The Last Of Us Season 2 Will Cover The Most Divisive Game Moments

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us season 1 episode 9

The confirmation of The Last of Us season 2 comes with a sense of dread for some of the most upsetting plot moments in The Last of Us Part II. While it’s possible that the adaptation will alter some aspects of the game’s plot, the most controversial aspects of Part II are major beats and cannot be materially changed. What’s more, the first season of The Last of Us remained extremely faithful to the game, making it likely that season 2 will do the same.

As such, there’s no avoiding divisive moments like Joel’s shockingly early death in The Last of Us season 2. If anything, Joel’s controversial death will be worse in the show, as Pedro Pascal’s portrayal of the character renders him more sympathetic than in the games. Likewise, Ellie’s refusal to kill Abby at the end of The Last of Us Part II will almost certainly recur in the show. When season 2 drops, the debates that raged across the Last of Us fandom when Part II was released are likely to be repeated on a larger scale, encompassing those who are still bitter about the game and newcomers alike.

Why The Last Of Us Part II Was So Controversial

Abby standing and looking angry in The Last of Us Part II

Despite the game’s backlash, there’s reason to expect the response to The Last of Us season 2 will be less intense than its video game counterpart. Much of the heated response to The Last of Us Part II revolved around the shock of Joel’s death. The game concealed Joel’s fate in the marketing, even manipulating game footage to make it seem as if the character was still alive in trailers. Now, the shock of this twist has faded. Many viewers, including those who never played the game themselves, will be going into the show expecting it.

The game was also criticized for the character of Abby, who was perceived as underdeveloped and undeserving of so much narrative focus. The show has a chance to reflect on these criticisms and refine Abby’s character. Other aspects of Part II’s controversy were caught up in bigotry, with certain players objecting to the game’s racially diverse cast and queer characters. Video games are particularly vulnerable to such toxic campaigns, but it’s unlikely that the series will see a reaction of the same scale, particularly given the largely positive reaction to The Last of Us season 1’s Bill and Frank episode.

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