‘Silly’ The Last of Us Tribute Snuck Its Way Into The HBO Show
Love is a beautiful thing, especially in the grim world of The Last of Us. So it’s heartwarming to see a loving tribute from the 2013 PlayStation exclusive make its way to Craig Mazin’s HBO drama—especially when it’s an Easter egg a developer admits is “silly.”
Read More: The Last Of Us Episode 9 Recap: A Powerful Finale
HBO’s The Last of Us, which wrapped up its first season finale episode over the weekend, takes several liberties with the game’s narrative. Instead of retreading the same story beat-by-beat, the TV series fleshes Joel’s character out, expands Bill and Frank’s relationship, and does Tess pretty dirty. But while there are plenty of differences between the game and the show, a lot has also stayed the same, including a particular Easter egg former Naughty Dog designer Peter Field added to the original The Last of Us. Spoilers for the game are just below.
An adorable, ‘silly’ tribute in The Last of Us
Field, who now works at Media Molecule as a principal designer on the creator game Dreams, tweeted “a silly Easter egg” that was in the 2013 game that found its way to the 2023 show. The Easter egg is the name of a baseball field Joel and Ellie stumble across. Field (get it?) named it “Bethany Clare Field” after his wife, sneaking in a little nod to his lover in a fairly inconsequential space.
It seems the people behind the HBO series care a lot about remaining accurate to the original game, as the field in question made its way into the show.
“I’m still reeling from this,” Field tweeted on March 13. “A silly Easter Egg I put in the original The Last of Us game has somehow survived the transition to live-action TV. It’s blurry, but it’s definitely there! I can’t imagine the HBO team knew the name of the baseball field was a tribute to my wife.”
The Last of Us field isn’t real, but the love is
The baseball field Field is talking about is in Salt Lake City, the last location during Ellie and Joel’s journey in The Last of Us game. After chasing the Fireflies back to Utah, the duo find themselves in the lush metropolitan city that’s overrun with marsh, trees, and vines. The two navigate through some rundown buildings before coming up to a beautiful clearing lined with a vibrant green field and a family of grazing giraffes. On the right side is a scoreboard that, when zoomed in and enhanced, clearly reads “Bethany Clare Field.”
In the last episode of The Last of Us season 1, titled “Look for the Light,” Ellie and Joel travel through Salt Lake City in what is, much like the game, the end of their journey. Without divulging too much, the duo walk to a similarly gorgeous clearing of grass and grazing giraffes. As Field points out, the text is blurry, but if you zoom in and enhance it, you can see his wife’s name on the scoreboard.
Field told Kotaku over Twitter DMs that because the Naughty Dog team didn’t have to check with legal to put Easter eggs into the game, developers “added loads of [them] back then.” On his part, he snuck in “album covers from photos of friends and family and their cats” that seem to have been removed from the PS4 remaster “due to texture budgets.” The only reason he thought the baseball field’s name made it through was because his and his wife’s last name is Field, so naming a baseball field as such “felt appropriately believable and hidden,” letting them chuckle every time they caught a glimpse of it. However, Field didn’t actually see the Easter egg himself. Though he’s seen the HBO show, it was someone else on Twitter that pointed the “small detail” out.
“Seeing the Easter egg in the TV show really blows my mind,” Field said. “Of all the tiny details to have been preserved across two ports of the game, and then a TV show, Beth’s baseball field, the one that probably means the most to me but the least people knew about, is the one that made it through. I was pointed to a Reddit thread by the VFX artist at WETA FX that worked on the shot. They mentioned that they had no idea it was a meaningful tribute. They just wanted to make the space as authentic to the original game as possible, so they copied that particular prop exactly. It looks like it could actually be the exact prop from TLOU Part I! After that, a few more people that worked on the show reached out to say they had no idea, too! I love how this unlikely little detail has managed to endure and survive across multiple mediums. So fucking cool!”
Read More: The Last Of Us Show Finally Explains Ellie’s Immunity
This is such a touching tribute. The Last of Us is a devastating game, an illustration of the lengths folks will sometimes go to protect those they love. In honoring his wife with this Easter egg, I’d say Field is living up to that theme.
Update 03/15/23, 10:00 a.m. ET: This story was updated to include some quotes from former Naughty Dog designer Peter Field about the Easter egg.