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Posted by StarvingGamer (8472 posts) 11 months, 6 days ago

Poll: Opinions on the Climax of The Last of Us (SPOILERS) (Poll) (550 votes)

I am not a parent and agree with Joel's decision 52%
I am not a parent and disagree with Joel's decision 30%
I am a parent and agree with Joel's decision 4%
I am a parent and disagree with Joel's decision 2%
Show me the results 12%

Joel's decision to save Ellie and (potentially) doom the entire human race has been a big point of contention since the game came out. I remember hearing that the developers did a survey and found that while people without children fell somewhere around 50/50 on the issue, something near 100% of parents agreed with what Joel did.

Of course I can't find evidence of this survey anywhere, so I thought it might be nice to get some solid numbers on the issue. How do you feel about Joel's actions, horrifically brutal as they may have been?

#1 Edited by Yummylee (22292 posts) -

I at first strongly disagreed with Joel purely because he took the decision away from Ellie. But of course, the same could be said for Marlene, who it appears was doing the same thing by using Ellie without filling her in on what'll happen. Least I imagine so, as Ellie never brought up the prospect of dying, like how she considered herself 'ready', which would have proven that she knew the consequences.

I guess it relates in some way to parents (in this case Marlene and Joel) using their children for their own means, or at least not respecting them enough to at least to consider their opinion. You could also compare it as Ellie being the child of a broken family, with each parent vying for her without considering what Ellie herself wanted. The fact that Joel continued to lie to her after the fact as well could also be considered patronising, like Joel wouldn't expect Ellie to understand why he did what he had to do.

More literally speaking, Joel is arguably the more selfish one here, since he's still choosing one life over what could potentially have been the remains of the human race. There's the argument that the human race isn't worth saving anymore, which I think is incredibly unfair. While yes, there's a terrifying amount of 'Hunters' about, but the prospect of a cure could still potentially end the chaos, and would at least give the people who aren't pillaging and killing their fellow man more of a chance to survive.

When trying to look at it as plainly as possible, as someone who's not a parent, I think I personally may have let Marlene attempt for a cure. Needs of the many over the few ect.

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#2 Posted by Gatehouse (686 posts) -

I think Joel made the horrible, selfish choice. Which is exactly what I would have done if I was in the same position as him.

#3 Posted by tread311 (357 posts) -

What makes that ending special is that there was no comfy feel good answer. Either way the player was going to feel uncomfortable. I have problems with this game but I think the conclusion is one of it's real strengths. Personally I'd love to believe I could put my personal feelings aside for the good of the species but I have a feeling that I'd end up following the same path as Joel. I probably would have caved in and been honest to her at the very end though.

#4 Edited by MEATBALL (3398 posts) -

I don't think he was wrong to pull Ellie from the operating table, but his choice to lie about what had happened certainly wasn't a decision I agreed with. It should have been her decision to make. It's a great ending.

#5 Edited by LiquidPrince (16119 posts) -

I would do what Joel did. I would not be willing to let someone I love die, just to save a bunch of people, the majority of which have become savage animals, just as bad as the infected. You don't kill an innocent girl on the off chance that she may hold the key to solving the disease. Hell, I'd probably not be willing to let her die even if there was 100% chance of finding a cure. Look for another way. Adapt.

#6 Edited by Claude (16254 posts) -

No choice. I...Joel had to allow Ellie to be free. Loved it.

#7 Edited by HH (617 posts) -

there's nothing to say ellie couldn't make the sacrifice later in her life. at the time joel made that decision, the state that first alienated him by shooting his daughter was very much still in power. letting humanity bloom again at that point would just lead them back to where they started, at the mercy of the state, but given enough time that power could decay, and be replaced by communities like his brother's, and that could lead to even joel changing his mind about what the right thing to do is.

anyway, i think it's a pointless way to think about stories - what would i do? that's completely irrelevant, it's a character, it's not you, is it believable? if yes, then just accept it as something someone else would do. trying to fit all the possible behaviours or people in the world into your frame of mind doesn't work, there isn't enough room, and if we impose that restriction on stories then we're really limiting ourselves as to what we're going to hear.

i wish audiences would stop trying to sympathize, it's a mass-market byproduct, it's baggage, human behaviour is far broader and far more interesting than any one person's or any one community's half-baked self-centred idea of morality. it's just a story for godsake, you're not marrying the character. You don't have to judge.

#8 Posted by Levius (1205 posts) -

I think it was the right decision. The Fireflies showed no capacity to effectively develop, manufacture and distribute the vaccine. I think it was, similar to Joel with his daughter, people holding on to idea of a widespread vaccine which is long dead. Anyway, the amount of people you run into during the course of the game makes it feel like humanity is far from being on the edge of extinction. Rebuilding towns like Joel's brother will be much more effective in helping humanity recover.

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#9 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4867 posts) -

I used to think Joel made a selfish decision and it potentially crippled humanity's ability to recover. However after getting all the Firefly collectibles and reading the notes and what not... yeah, I'm not so sure anymore. It seems that the Firefly group had been down this road several times which tells me a couple of things. One that there are a lot more Ellies out there, and two that they had several opportunities to create a vaccine and it didn't work.

I think the thing I overlooked the most and I'm sure a lot of people also have is humanity's ability to adapt and survive. We're the most stubborn species on this planet. If we can't get what we want then we'll keep knocking our heads against the problem until we do. We're a scrappy bunch and I think that while it's fine to mourn the loss of the old world (well, our world), that doesn't mean we can't create a new one. Ultimately upon reflection I think The Last of Us as a title doesn't refer to humanity as a whole, but our brief civilization. Yes, it's crumbling, and it's almost over; but that doesn't mean there aren't people working to make a new, better one.

So while Joel may have lied to Ellie, I don't view the ending to The Last of Us as quite the downer I first thought.

#10 Posted by Nodima (1277 posts) -

I think the thing I overlooked the most and I'm sure a lot of people also have is humanity's ability to adapt and survive. We're the most stubborn species on this planet.

To be fair, I think 4,500 species of cockroach and the Raspberry Crazy Ants would disagree with you.

#11 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4867 posts) -

@nodima said:

@oldirtybearon said:

I think the thing I overlooked the most and I'm sure a lot of people also have is humanity's ability to adapt and survive. We're the most stubborn species on this planet.

To be fair, I think 4,500 species of cockroach and the Raspberry Crazy Ants would disagree with you.

there's a mighty large difference between subsistence and survival. Show me a Raspberry Crazy Ant that can build a rocket ship to visit outer space and maybe I'll concede this point. We don't bend to nature; we make nature bend to us. I don't think any cockroach can say the same.

#12 Edited by RonGalaxy (3263 posts) -

It all comes down to the fact that Ellie, basically, told him she was willing to do anything for a possible cure: 'everything we've been through; everything Ive done... It cant be for nothing' He goes against this, and even lies to her to get his way. Joel is selfish, and he made an extremely selfish choice. We can argue about semantics, but that's what it boils down to.

#13 Posted by Danteveli (1210 posts) -

Of course I do not agree with him but what do I know.

#14 Posted by Nodima (1277 posts) -

@oldirtybearon I suppose that all depends on whether you subscribe to the idea that a zombie/apocalypse fiction has any ending other than the demise of humanity. I see the clickers as roaches (or more accurately, of course, parasites). Any time a clicker kills a human, that's another clicker on the loose. But any time a human kills a clicker, that's just more spores in the air, more chance for infection, and in all likelihood a loud enough act that more clickers are lurking around the corner.

Plus, given enough time, they transform into Bloaters? Naw, son. We're toast.

#15 Posted by Dr_Perscitus (52 posts) -

@nodima said:

@oldirtybearon said:

I think the thing I overlooked the most and I'm sure a lot of people also have is humanity's ability to adapt and survive. We're the most stubborn species on this planet.

To be fair, I think 4,500 species of cockroach and the Raspberry Crazy Ants would disagree with you.

"We don't bend to nature; we make nature bend to us" - Charles Darwin and the last 2.5 million years disagree with you.

#16 Edited by Nodima (1277 posts) -
#17 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

It would have been a whole new level of epic if Joel had 28 Days Latered that Hospital and let infected in to start slaughtering the fireflies well he just stealthed through to the operating room.

#18 Edited by hollitz (1596 posts) -

Not sure where it was pointed out, but a few scientists in a run down medical lab dissecting a brain is a farcry from saving the human race. They very well could get nothing from the surgery.

Also, there's no real way to know that Ellie is the only person immune. The only way she knows is because she got attacked and didn't turn. Literally every other living person could be immune, including the ones that Joel is killing throughout the game. The only way to test it is to have them get infected.

#19 Edited by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

@hollitz: Also the audio notes in the hospital from the doctor's clearly state that they've tried the exact same thing before and it failed. Ellie's death would have probably ended up the same and been for nothing.

An interesting thought though from Ellie's perspective is her quality of life will never be on par with other kids her age, and maybe she had fully thought out the possibility of her demise after finding the fireflies and maybe even expected it.

#20 Posted by Pr1mus (3959 posts) -

I'm with Joel 100% on this for various reasons that have already been detailed by others. Not even a little bit of hesitation or second guessing after the fact either.

I'm not a parent.

#21 Edited by alwaysbebombing (1627 posts) -

"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

That being said, I couldn't sacrifice Ellie and would absolutely do what Joel did.

#22 Posted by TooWalrus (13255 posts) -

Joel fucked us all.

#23 Edited by erhard (436 posts) -

The needs of the many don't outweigh the needs of the few.

Joel did the right thing.

#24 Edited by BatOtaku13 (143 posts) -

The thing I keep coming back to is what would have changed assuming they miraculously got a cure from Ellie? With such limited medical supplies, how would have the cure have spread across America, let alone the world? The Fireflies were shown to be more than willing to use terrorist tactics in the game, so what was stopping them from using the cure as a bargaining chip to solidify their power? Also, there had been 11 or 12 attempts before this to get a cure, and they all failed. What was going to make this attempt any more successful, again given the extremely limited medical supplies and knowledgeable doctors?

Ellie should have been given a choice, but fuck the Fireflies. Joel did the right thing.

#25 Posted by BatOtaku13 (143 posts) -

Also, even if there was a cure that got spread, it wouldn't actually stop the fungus. Clickers would still eat you alive, society would still be a shithole, and bandits would still rape and murder people at leisure. The cons greatly outweigh the very little potential pros in this situation. Tommy's group had the right idea.

#26 Edited by Tatsuyarr (74 posts) -

I think people are a bit hypocritical and egoist when they say they wouldn't sacrifice Ellie. They think about themselves but what about Ellie wanted. Ellie was resigned to die for the greater good and if I remember well she didn't want to go on with this kind of life because she felt guilty to have survive. She also don't want to be lied to but that's exactly what Joel do: he lied to her for his own personal gain and robbed her of her choice. For me he almost considers her like a pet.

I really despise this character and I really feel sorry for Ellie.

#27 Edited by spraynardtatum (3515 posts) -

I think he was wrong to make the decision but it was probably the correct one. It's Ellies choice what she does with her life but I really don't think that they would have found a cure. There has to be a way for them to do tests with her blood while she's alive.

I cannot wait to see how this plays out though. Joel has a giant bomb of a secret that could go off at any time.

#28 Edited by Jeust (10821 posts) -

I disagree with Joel, decision of putting his own needs, over that of mankind. The only way life would improve would be with sacrifice. If a vacine was discovered with the death of Ellie, mankind would be more able to fight the disease, and could earn the upper hand against it. A return to civilization would be a greater possibility.

With his selfish choice, nothing will change and life will continue to be a cut-throat business. With the remainder of mankind fighting each other, and turning to fungus people. With Ellie's sacrifice things would have turned, at least, marginally better.

But I accept Joel's decision. He is an exhausted man, who lost his daughter. and lost pretty much anyone who ever mattered to him. And due to his run-ins with the other survivors, has lost also the faith in humanity. So to him would and was much easier to settle for the short-term happiness with Ellie, than let her be sacrificed for a overall good that he would possibly never see.

Yet even if he never saw, life could potentially improve for all of mankind, and the research, and the possible vacine and cure had the capacity to change reality, and make more tolerable and civilized.

#29 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5903 posts) -

I went into that hospital room where elly was kept entirely unsure of whether or not Joel should save her. I actually was a little upset I had to kill all of those people. They didn't do a damn thing to deserve what he did to them. Sure, they took ellie, but he massacred dozens of people and completely blew the one hope humanity had to overcome the zombie apocalypse.

He was selfish and had been for a long time. I mean, I can't really blame him though. He's had to survive for a long time, and selfishness became an invaluable asset for him in that respect. He also lost his only daughter years beforehand and developed a pseudo parenting role for ellie. She became someone irreplaceably important to him and he didn't want to lose her. I think we can all relate to that in some capacity.

Despite my feelings of unsureness, I eventually came to accept what Joel did, which was saving the one person in his life he cared for the most, even at the cost of everyone else.

#30 Posted by StarvingGamer (8472 posts) -

There aren't enough parents looking at GB forums :'(

Who is the parent that disagreed with Joel's decision? I'd love to pick your brain.

#31 Edited by Fredchuckdave (6002 posts) -

I don't agree with Joel, but I understand why it happened. Obviously by the end of this game both Joel and Ellie are horrible people, I don't think it would make much sense for them to do something that wasn't in the interest of their own survival. He wasn't literally a parent vis-a-vis Ellie so you could just ask if anyone has had a close friend that died and what would you do if you could have prevented it etc. It's certainly the most emotionally stirring thing I've ever seen in a video game, right up there with the last scene in FFT, or Albedo ripping his own head off.

#32 Posted by XCEagle (116 posts) -

I think people are a bit hypocritical and egoist when they say they wouldn't sacrifice Ellie. They think about themselves but what about Ellie wanted. Ellie was resigned to die for the greater good and if I remember well she didn't want to go on with this kind of life because she felt guilty to have survive. She also don't want to be lied to but that's exactly what Joel do: he lied to her for his own personal gain and robbed her of her choice. For me he almost considers her like a pet.

I really despise this character and I really feel sorry for Ellie.

Survivor's guilt is exactly the wrong reason to let a 14 year old die. Joel was selfish, absolutely, but I understand it, and agree with his choice.

#33 Posted by FriendlyPhoenix (454 posts) -

I absolutely agree with what Joel did. That the doctors' first reaction to getting her there is to lay her down and cut open her brain was enough to tell me that they had no idea what they were doing and that Ellie's death wouldn't accomplish a damn thing.

#34 Posted by wjb (1689 posts) -

There aren't enough parents looking at GB forums :'(

Who is the parent that disagreed with Joel's decision? I'd love to pick your brain.

Well, to be fair, you did make this thread at 3:30AM EST/12:30AM PST. Middle of the morning for most parts of Europe, too. I don't know where you're at in the world, but I imagine parents in North America and Europe got to be, y'know, parents to their kids for most of the day. Don't worry, give it a few more hours.

I chose "Results" because I am a coward.

#35 Posted by Getz (3140 posts) -

there's a big difference between agreeing with Joel and asking yourself if you'd do the same.

If I was in his situation, I'd have killed everyone and spirited my "daughter" away regardless of the consequences. But it wouldn't be right; the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

#36 Posted by csl316 (9254 posts) -

As it was happening, I could tell that he was lost and a little nuts. I understand why he did it, but it was entirely selfish.

So I disagree.

#37 Posted by Jay_Ray (1118 posts) -

Even if the doctors/scientists were able to find out why Ellie was immune and figure out a way to replicate her immunity in another human (and that is a giant fucking "if") the mass production and distribution of the cure is near impossible in that world. At that point this "cure" would be used as one giant power play that would eventually lead to a massive war. So saving Ellie and preventing a cure is actually better for the human race.

#38 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

The opinion of parents isn't exactly the be and end all as it wasn't even Joel's kid. And yes I know he obviously started to feel like a father figure and protector of her, but still.

It'd be different if they'd spent many years like that but he hadn't exactly became her father at that point.

#39 Posted by Reisz (1522 posts) -

I think Joel made the horrible, selfish choice. Which is exactly what I would have done if I was in the same position as him.

#40 Posted by plaintomato (599 posts) -

Game of the Generation.

#41 Posted by notdavid (841 posts) -

I would've absolutely done what Joel did. The world of The Last Of Us never seemed like a world worth saving.

#42 Posted by TurboMan (7690 posts) -

Any flawed human would have done what Joel did.

#43 Posted by Soap (3631 posts) -

I don't agree with Joel's decision, I also don't think I would of been able to do any differently to him though.

#44 Posted by GS_Dan (1406 posts) -

Disagree, but understand why he did it?

#45 Posted by TheVeteran13 (1218 posts) -

I felt that even if the Fireflies could produce a vaccine they wouldn't save humanity with it anyway. They would use it for their own gain and try to take over.

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

You can say Joel was selfish and that's fine but as for Ellie and saying it should have been her decision I'm not so sure, I don't think she understood her situation fully, she had been with Marlene for quite a while and I feel as though Marlene had planted all these ideological ideas in Ellie's head that she was the only immune person and that she alone had to be the one to "save" everyone.

#46 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2587 posts) -

I don't agree with Joel, and I'm not a parent (which may be part of why) - but I understand why Joel did what he did and I'm not sure I would have done any different in his place.

Still not the right thing to do, though.

#47 Edited by Castiel (2704 posts) -

Such a easy question to ask such a difficult one to answer.

I think agree is the wrong word to use in this situation. Understand would probably have been a better word. I don't know if I agree with Joel, but I definitely understood why he acted as he did. From his perspective it makes perfect sense... and I don't know... maybe I do actually agree with him.

You have to look at it from Joel's perspective: Is the world worth saving? He lost his daughter at the hands of the military, the people that should have protected them. He then went on to do all kinds of heinous shit in order to survive the 20 years after the death of his daughter. Now we know from the beginning that Joel is a survivor who is willing to do close to anything in order to survive and protect the ones he love, heck you might say he chooses the ultimate sacrifice in the end: He lies to one of the few people he really cares for, probably the person he cares for the most, and possibly dooms humanity to go extinct. But it is already forshadowed in the beginning that Joel is willing to go the extra mile to protect his loved ones. When Joel, Tommy and Sarah drives by the family on the road Tommy, or Sarah (I can't remember), say that they should pick them up but Joel is quick to say no. He doesn't want to take any chances. So we already know that Joel is a survivor: It's him and his closets before anyone else.

Also most people you meet outside the Quarantine Zones are most likely not the friendliest bunch. Joel even admits that he has been on both sides: After the ambush Ellie asks how Joel knew it was an ambush and he admits that he has been in the same shoes as those people that are trying to kill them. He knows what kind of horrible things humans are capable of in the name of survival cause he has done some of the those horrible things himself.

I don't think Joel trusts people, and I understand why, except for a very select few. So from Joels perspective is humanity worth saving? Is it worth sacrificing the one person who you love like you loved your own daughter? As cliché as it may sound I think a part of Joel died with Sarah and Ellie managed to reawaken that side of Joel again after 20 long years. Joel felt love again. Joel loves Ellie in the same way he loved Sarah. Neil Druckman said an interesting thing regarding Joel and Ellie's relationship: Joel needs Ellie more than Ellie needs Joel. By the end of the game Joel CAN'T lose "his" daughter again. It will break him. It probably almost broke him the first time, granted we don't exactly know what happened but we know it wasn't nice to put it midly for as Joel's brother Tommy said: "I still have nightmares from those years."

But if it were to happen again Joel would breakdown completely. There would be no way back for him. He simply can't let Ellie die, not like this, and he will fight with everything he got to make sure it doens't happen even if it were to kill him. It's simply not an option by the end of the game for Joel.

On top of that we don't even know if the operation would have even worked and who's to say that the fireflies would not have abused the vaccine in their own interest?

So I don't know if Joel did the right thing if you look at the broader picture, but how many would really have thought of the broader picture in his situation? I know I probably wouldn't have. "Oh the one person I love like my own daughter will very likely die so you may get a vaccine that may or may not work? Cool!" I doubt most people would react like that.

Joel might not be a hero, but he's a believable imperfect human that makes very imperfect human decisions and for that I will always remember him more than most other video game characters.

#48 Posted by StarvingGamer (8472 posts) -

@castiel: No, I definitely want "agree", because as a parent I don't just understand what Joel did, I feel that what he did was the right thing to do

#49 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1804 posts) -

It's obviously not the "right" choice for the good of humanity, and I don't necessarily agree with it, but it was a very human choice and the same thing I probably would've done. That's why I loved the ending to this game. It wasn't a bright and sunny conclusion but it felt very natural, which was a pleasant surprise.

#50 Posted by kerse (2118 posts) -

I know I'm late to the party, but I just finished the game and feel like talking about it lol.

I definitely agree with Joel's decisions, I doubt the fireflies have humanity's best interests in mind, even if they survive long enough to develop a vaccine, which could take year to do. I just don't believe that they could have been able to do it with the single sample, should have left her alive and done more experimentation, figure out a why to extract samples without harming the host so that it can grow back. Instead its probably better to let evolution take its course, who's to say Ellie is the only one, maybe its a genetic mutation that caused the cordyceps, or whatever they were calling it, to not affect her and in a few generations there'll be more. Although there is the chance she could die before that happens, but I think its about the same chances of the fireflies actually developing a vaccine before they die. There's also the testing stage to make sure the vaccine works and doesn't cause side effects, which from how they planned to just kill Ellie almost immediately without thinking it through, they would probably just mass test it on human test subjects and that just doesn't sound worth it to me. Maybe I'm wrong about how vaccines are developed, but this how I feel about the ending anyways.

I didn't really see it as such a depressing ending to be honest, they were both alive and able to return to the heavily guarded (at least I assume so from how many people they have and the fact that they have had time to research getting electricity and such again, it gives me the impression that they don't need every single person just to protect themselves anymore) pretty well populated town of Tommy's with electricity. Maybe that town can keep growing and stay safe and keep Ellie safe, and maybe she'll have some kids who have a chance to also be immune (assuming its directly/indirectly caused by a mutation of her own DNA) and idk. Not how I would have wanted it to end but it doesn't seem so bad considering. Well that's my two cents on the subject, and maybe I'm wrong on how it all works, I've only taken a couple semesters of general biology which doesn't actually go that far into detail on all that stuff so if I'm making bad assumptions let me know lol.