There's loads of The Last of Us 2 Easter eggs to find throughout the game. From reference to old Naughty Dog games like Uncharted and Jak and Dexter, to other games, pop culture references, music and loads more.
Obviously with all the The Last of Us 2's clickers and murderous survivors trying to kill you it's easy to miss some of the smaller things so here's a guide to all the most interesting The Last of Us 2 Easter eggs we could find.
Spoiler warning: There's nothing directly spoilery here but the last couple of entries do have minor character spoilers.
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1. A Rabbit
The first Easter egg in the whole game is subtle but doesn’t seem to be an accident. The framing of a rabbit in the window within seconds of taking control of Ellie feels like a call back to the Winter chapter in the original game where you first played as her.
2. A PS3 with some familiar games
In Ellie’s home you’ll find a PS3 with a copy of Jak and Daxter and Uncharted 2. Both the console and games are pre-Outbreak Day (September 26th, 2013, the day the Cordyceps Brain Infection brought civilization to an end) and you’ll find a few PS3s with games scattered around various locations in the game. Interestingly, while you'll find Jak and Daxter, Uncharted and Uncharted 2, Uncharted 3 seems to be missing. Now it might be because that game has a The Last of Us newspaper Easter egg in, so would create a weird meta paradox by existing in the world it references. Or it could be that it’s the one Uncharted director Neil Druckmann.
3. Remember the giraffe?
When you get out of the storm with Dina you’ll find a children’s area with a stuffed giraffe. It’s obviously a reference to the classic moment in the original game and enough to get Ellie to pull out her journal and make a note.
4. Crash Bandicoot porn, Yes, really
When you find Eugene’s weed den there are some video tapes you can examine. The titles give you a clue as to what they’re about with ‘Dong of the Wolf’ the first name read out loud. That’s actually an internal Easter egg, referencing the Dawn of the Wolf movie that exists in the first game. One of the other videos is called Smash Brandi’s Cooch which sounds familiar and is best not thought about too much.
5. Sarah’s photo
When you go to Joel’s house you can find the original photo of him and Sarah from the first game framed and prominently displayed. What’s perhaps more telling than this nod to the previous story is the fact that it’s displayed proudly alongside a picture of Joel and Ellie, making it clear he sees her as a daughter as well.
6. Joel’s Watch and gun
You can’t really miss this as it’s a scripted party of the game but it’s worth point out that Ellie stops to pick both these up before she sets out on her journey.
7. Infection scanner
While exploring downtown Seattle you can get into an old military checkpoint where you’ll find an old FEDRA infection scanner on the shelves. Ellie mentions that she hasn’t seen one in a while which suggests any centralized government or organisation has either collapsed, or doesn’t come anywhere near Jackson.
8. Pearl Jam poster
In the music shop you can visit in downtown Seattle you’ll see a poster for the 2013 Pearl Jam album Lightning Bolt. The song both Joel and Elie play that opens “If I ever were to lose you” is actually Pearl Jams’ Future Days from that album. However, in the music shop it’s labeled ‘coming soon’ because in the real world the album was due to be released on October 15, 2013 but in The Last of Us, Outbreak Day happened on September 26, 2013, a few weeks before, meaning it never actually came out. Future Days had, however, debuted live on August 23, 2013 so it does exist in Ellie and Joel's world.
9. The classic Deus Ex door code
While exploring downtown Seattle you’ll find a safe at Gate West 2 that uses the code 0451. It’s famously referred to as the first door code in Deus Ex and is a common door code Easter egg in many games. Although it actually appeared in earlier stuff like System Shock 1 and 2, as well as the Thief games. It was the real life door code of developer, Looking Glass Studios’ Cambridge office, the studio that made Thief and System Shock, and whose various team members went on to work on games like Deus Ex, Bioshock and more.
10. The Creepy Halloween statue from Left Behind
After you move on from downtown Seattle you can find a toy shop with some Halloween gear in. There’s also a very obvious statue that appeared in Left Behind, The Last of US DLC that told the story of a younger Ellie discovering her immunity and losing her friend and first love Riley. When Dina comments that some of the Halloween stuff is “funny looking“, Ellie responds by saying “I’m not a fan”.
11. Hail Yourself. Hail me
You’ll find "Hail Yourself. Hail me!!!" written on a toilet wall in a thrift shop while navigating an area full of trip mines. You’re meant to be looking for Staci’s phone number as part of a safe combination but you’ll also see this nod to the usual sign off from crime/weird shit podcast, The Last Podcast on the Left. Megustalations.
12. A familiar pallet
During a flashback for Ellie’s birthday you discover that she has finally learned to swim and while she’s splashing about so see an old pallet caught on a step. “Want to give me a ride?” she shouts to Joel who replies, “those days a long gone kiddo”, referencing a level in the first game where you have to carry Ellie across some water.
13. Hotline Miami
When Ellie is tracking down Nora and infiltrating the WLF base you’ll meet a guard playing a PS Vita. She’s actually playing Hotline Miami which is very obvious from the music, but after she’s been... dealt with, you can see the game clearly on the screen.
14. The Velveteen Rabbit
In a Seattle bookshop you can find a page from the 1922 children's book The Velveteen Rabbit. It’s a story about a toy rabbit who hopes his owner’s love will make him real. However, after the child becomes ill with scarlet fever he’s bagged up to be burned along with other contaminated possessions. Then a fairy rescues him and turns him into a real rabbit. I’m guessing its a fave of a developer?
15. The Turning arcade machine
At one point while you’re travelling by boat you’ll end up in an arcade that has a The Turning arcade machine with the main character Angel Knives on the front. It originally appeared in The Last Of Us, and later took a more prominent place in the Left Behind DLC.
16. Jak X Combat Racing arcade machine
In the same arcade you can also find a Jak X Combat Racing arcade machine. This also appeared in The Last Of Us’ Left Behind DLC, this time with Ellie having the option to get in and pretend to play it.
17. Jak and Daxter Collection on PS Vita
While you’re exploring the WLF base you’ll find another person playing a PS VIta. This time it looks a lot like they’re playing the Lava Tube level of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.
18. The Strange Relic
When you’re exploring the Chinatown street in Hostile territory you can find a ‘strange relic’ in one of the upstairs rooms. It’s actually a Precursor Orb, a collectible from Naughty Dog’s old Jak and Daxter games. They’ve turned up in every Uncharted game so far but this is first for The Last of Us.