[Editor's note: This post contains spoilers for The Last of Us. Ones about the ending, specifically.]
The Last of Us' director Neil Druckmann revealed that the game's four issue comic mini-series, The Last of Us: American Dreams, actually influenced the development of the game.
In an interview with GameInformer at San Diego Comic-Con, Druckmann explained that the Dark Horse comic series goes into Ellie's backstory and the graphic novel's co-scribe, Faith Erin Hicks, created the character of Riley Abel, Ellie's friend who is mentioned at the game's conclusion, even though she's not actually present in the game.
Originally, Ellie was alone when she was bitten. "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," said Druckmann. "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."
The comic influenced a few other details too, such as the Mortal Kombat parody arcade game Ellie describes, as well as the contents of her bag during the game's Winter chapter. "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," he continued. "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."
Druckmann was so appreciative of Hicks' contribution to the lore that he gave her a spot in the game's credits.
The Last of Us: American Dreams will be available as a trade paperback this autumn.