Back Story- Game Characters (Joel)

Within the main narrative of ‘The Last of Us’ there are several sub plots that act to add dramatic effect and make the story telling more engrossing by making it multi dimensional and for realistic effect, one idea in particular is back stories. For example, Joel’s backstory was that like us he struggles to find work, aged 40 years, is from Austin, Texas, has a younger brother named Tommy and is the single parent of his daughter called Sarah, he never finished university because he had Sarah early and his only known relationships are with his brother at this early stage, he lives with Sarah in the suburbs on the outskirts of the city, he clearly is quite happy and close with Sarah, suggested from the pictures you find around the house and joke he made with her about the watch and the sarcasm about her helping out with the mortgage. Sarah dies and Joel is broken having lost so much and shuts down from his loss for long years, the broken watch on his wrist a constant reminder of that day and Sarah, this turn of events mentally prepares him for what comes later, it causes him to become willing to do anything for survival once the pandemic hits becoming a hunter and protecting his brother, Tommy. He loses his moral boundaries and the once regular person he was is changed into a no-nonsense victim surviving during the apocalypse and it’s too much for Tommy, they have conflicting ideas and they go on their separate ways. Later into the game Joel is presented with Ellie to deliver to another part of the city, but because of his prior unfortunate outcome with his daughter he refuses to relocate her when he realises Ellie has too much a resemblance to Sarah. His partner, Tess convinces him to take Ellie where she needs to be. Tess gets infected and dies, but begs a reluctant Joel to see this mission through for her knowing how hard the sight of Ellie is for him from his pre pandemic history, to start over with a clean slate for them by curing the infection. For a good while Joel is easily irritable and impatient with Ellie because of his discomfort with his past driving his interactions with her. His backstory moulds the person he is now and affects his relationships, an important area to remember when making character backstories so that the person doesn’t seem to contradict themselves from their experiences and also to give the characters their own kryptonite so they don’t seem invincible and add an element of suspense to weather they can make it out of a situation, it makes them organic and more relatable, it would also be quite dull to have a perfect character who can’t be stopped and so we know they’ll win in the end, vulnerabilities are vital to characters.


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