Some The Last of Us collectible letters were handwritten by the dev team

The Last of Us
(Image credit: Sony)

A developer on The Last of Us has revealed that Ish's in-game letters were actually handwritten by the development team.

Last week, Naughty Dog published a talk with Jane Mullaney, a veteran artist who's been at the studio ever since it was founded 21 years ago. Over the course of the Q&A-style conversation, Mullaney reveals that Ish's letters, which the player finds scattered throughout a certain portion of The Last of Us, were all handwritten by the dev team.

"We wanted to give a real personal feel to the letter pickups in the game because each one told its own, at most times, heartbreaking story," Mullaney explains. "Instead of going the typeface route, we decided to hand-write them, and everybody wanted to add their penmanship to the job. Ish’s letters were important because there were several, and each added to the story of Ish and his companions. We even had some of our coworkers’ kids add drawings and letters."

It's a nice detail from Mullaney, and one that makes Ish's letters even more memorable. Of course, players familiar with Naughty Dog's 2013 game will no doubt remember Ish's letters as particularly haunting, as they pick up a paper trail years after the character's demise, finding out how he befriended a community living in the sewers near Pittsburgh, only for the entire thing to go to hell when they were overrun by the infected one night.

You can revisit the modern classic from Naughty Dog whenever, but the development team apparently isn't set on leaving The Last of Us in the past. Earlier this year, a report claimed that Naughty Dog is developing a remake of The Last of Us, after absorbing the project from an external studio under PlayStation. Could Ish's handwritten letters and pictures make a return in the supposed remake?

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Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.