The Journey to Nature: The Last of Us as Critical Dystopia

Abstract:
As an instance of the critical dystopia, The Last of Us lets the player enact a post-apocalyptic story in which human society has been severely decimated by the Cordyceps infection and where nature has made an astonishing return. This paper examines the ecological rhetoric of The Last of Us by laying emphasis on the empirical player’s emancipated involvement in the gameworld (virtualized storyworld) and how s/he engages in a creative dialectic with the implied player. In suggesting the utopian enclave of a life in balance with nature, The Last of Us scrutinises the ills of our empirical present and lays a negative image on the latter. As such, The Last of Us is a magnificent example of the video game dystopia and succeeds in triggering a powerful aesthetic response in the empirical player, which might result in a call to action in the real world.

Written by Gerald Farca and Charlotte Ladevèze.


Farca and Ladevèze. 2016. The Journey to Nature: The Last of Us as Critical Dystopia