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December 15, 2013
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Ellie Bite Mark Comparison - The Last of Us by ObjectsAndEmotions Ellie Bite Mark Comparison - The Last of Us by ObjectsAndEmotions

When I saw Ellie's wound in the final scene of The Last of Us, I thought it looked worse than in the beginning of the game, as if the cordyceps was getting worse in Ellie and she might eventually turn after a really long time. Well, is that true? It's been a major source of confusion/debate in several TLoU threads I've visited.
    I couldn't find any other comparison photos of Ellie's bite-mark over time, so I went and did some elementary screenshot-ing. Turns out there are only four times in the game that the wound is shown. (The omitted scene is during the surgery section; there you can see the mark because of Ellie's short-sleeve gown, but it's not definitive enough to bother including in this comparison.)
    The lighting in these scenes was different, so I tried my best to adjust everything so the skin tone stayed constant-ish.

-Image 1: when the militant's scanner reads positive for the infection in Ellie. (To match the others, I simply brightened this up a touch.)
-Image 2: when Ellie is on David's human butcher-block.
-Image 3: when Ellie is looking at her scar before arriving back at Tommy's establishment. (To match the others, I messed with the the contrast a bit and made the temperature more blue/pale instead of red/yellow. There are still unwanted reflections though.)

IMO, people think the bite-mark looks worse in the last scene because of the lighting difference. The first two times the wound is shown, the lighting is pale and cool, but in that final scene, there's sunlight pouring over everything, which 1) adds accents of light that could be construed as pus, and 2) makes the reds seem redder. That's why I made a point to try to make the lighting match. Unfortunately, it's still not an accurate comparison--look at those blue/green reflections all over the arm in the third! =( But, if those were taken away, I think the wound wouldn't look worse.
    Keep in mind: Image 1 is from summer, and Image 2 is from winter, and you definitely can't say the bite-mark in 2 looks worse than in 1. Now, Image 3 is from the spring. If the wound didn't get any worse after two seasons, from summer to winter, doesn't it seem unlikely that the wound would start getting worse in just one season, from winter to spring?
    To justify the theory that the wound IS getting worse, I'd say: "Soon afterwards, Ellie brings up to Joel how she's still waiting for her turn to turn. She was checking the wound because she realizes it's getting worse and she can't stand the idea of turning like other bitten people she's known, so she opens up to Joel about those feelings--although she doesn't tell him that it's actually getting worse because she's ashamed/scared. The cordyceps in Ellie could simply be developing at a much slower pace than usual."
    To justify the theory that the wound ISN'T getting worse, I say this: Yes, Ellie is checking on the wound because she's thinking about the people she's known that've turned. But, Naughty Dog didn't include the scene to foreshadow her turning. Naughty Dog included the scene to imply that Ellie has had loads on her mind during the ride away from the Fireflies--she's been thinking about when she was bit with her best friend back in Boston. She tells that to Joel because it's been hitting her hard. She's been thinking about it because now, she knows that she won't be making any vaccine to help people like her late best friend. Besides, thematically, what would be the point of making Ellie die of cordyceps? A huge point of the ending is that Ellie and Joel can finally live together somewhat peacefully, which is likely what both Ellie and Joel really wanted ever since the two began getting close. Also, the two-season/one-season fact that I mentioned before.

What do you think? Did this help you make sense of the bite-mark confusion? =) Man, what an amazing game. It's been on my mind for at least a month straight, and I'm still trying to make sense of it.
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chokadokada Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I think that it was probably put there as a cliff hanger and to make people think more and worry but they wouldn't kill ellie.
They're just teasing you.
Archsteel Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
I think you're probably right. Most likely just an accident with the graphics, there would be no point to killing Ellie off.
But you've gotta think, one of the testers must've seen it as questionable too...right? And they still left it in, though?? Maybe it started out as just a weird graphics thing but then someone liked the extra layer of depth added by the uncertainty
Archsteel Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014
Quite possibly. Maybe they just wanted to make the player paranoid.
okamiscry12 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thank you, when I saw the last scene I got really upset because the bite mark looked worse! I'm glad you made these comparisons! I hope she doesn't change but I wouldn't hate naughty dog if they did make her change. Thanks again!
Franky96 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013   Filmographer
I hadn't thought so much about Ellie's wound. But in the final level I also wondered why it looks just like at the beginning. It is pretty strange, but, well...Then, I think she looks at that because she's thinking about people she hasseen dying, I think, and people that she hasn't beeen able to help. But your first theory is such interesting..
And... yes, TLoU is a masterpiece, I've been thinking about its story and characters' awesome construction for more than a month. It offers a great emotive tension in all aspects. A real asterpiece. Yeah.
Tercollin Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I thinks it's just lightning difference. I don't think naughtydog would try to do hint to that idea.
LightWolfWarrior Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I was thinking about that too....I was like "I wonder if it's slowly getting worse over time...Mutations usually stay, but...." yeah lol. I really hope she DOESN'T turn :c  After playing, I come to think of Ellie and Joel as two friends. (If you know what I mean o_O) XD
JeanLuz Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I hadn't heard about this before but i can understand why people would assume that maybe it was getting worse. I'm sure it wasn't myself though. Something that stuck with me more was whether or not she knew that Joel took her away when she could have helped save people.

The other part of that is was Joel's decision the correct one to make.

I for one agreed with Joel's decision to save Ellie and try to give her a happy life (and can sympathize with his selfish decision of sort of wanting his daughter back.)
ObjectsAndEmotions Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013
Yeah, about whether it was the correct decision to make; many people on forums are like, WTF Joel, why didn't you make the sacrifice for the COMMON GOOD?
I was just reading this article [link below]...
     "First, according to some philosophers, the very idea of a common good is inconsistent with a pluralistic society like ours. Different people have different ideas abut what is worthwhile or what constitutes 'the good life for human beings,' differences that have increased during the last few decades as the voices of more and more previously silenced groups, such as women and minorities, have been heard. Given these differences, some people urge, it will be impossible for us to agree on what particular kind of social systems, institutions, and environment we will all pitch in to support. And even if we agree upon what we all valued, we would certainly disagree about the relative values things have for us. While we may agree, for example, that an affordable health system, a healthy educational system, and a clean environment are all parts of the common good, some will say that more should be invested in health than in education, while others will favor directing resources to the environment over both health and education. Such disagreements are bound to undercut our ability to evoke a sustained and widespread commitment to the common good. In the face of such pluralism, efforts to bring about the common good can only lead to adopting or promoting the views of some, while excluding others, violating the principle of treating people equally. Moreover, such efforts would force everyone to support some specific notion of the common good, violating the freedom of those who do not share in that goal, and inevitably leading to paternalism (imposing one group's preference on others), tyranny, and oppression."
     I was reading that and drawing so many parallels from it to the society (or lack thereof) in TLoU. In the game (IMO), society has become factionized because of peoples' differences in values, obviously not over healthcare and shit: Hunters value morality less and survival at any cost more; militants dismiss trying to find a cure and value harsh organization; Fireflies chase after lofty ideals and value finding a cure. So, another thing this article touches upon is that, for a sense of 'the common good' to exist, people have to be unified. Sacrificing Ellie--doing a favor for the Fireflies--wouldn't necessarily contribute to 'the common good;' it would just contribute to the prosperity of the Fireflies and their own values. If the Fireflies developed a cure, there would be pretty much no means to distribute it due to society's lack of unity--that's if the Fireflies actually tried to distribute it to others...because really, they probably want to preserve only their own ideals.
     So what I'm saying is this: Maybe, there is no 'common good' to which Joel and Ellie can contribute. There is only surviving and defending your values. For the Fireflies, defending their values meant performing fatal surgery on a child. For Joel, defending his values meant getting the one person he has left to fight for and love, the fuck out of that shady hospital.

     I don't know if I wholly agree with any of that, but hey, just throwing it out there.
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