The Last of Us episode 8: The biggest changes between the HBO show and the PlayStation game

Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us episode 8 is arguably one of the HBO adaptation's most faithful yet. For the most part, it sticks to the source material very closely, as it sees Ellie continue to tend to an ailing Joel and hunt for food, before running into menacing preacher David. 

With that, summing up the biggest differences between the show and the PlayStation game proved a bit of a tricky task this week – though that doesn't mean Craig Mazin and Naughty Dog president Neil Druckmann didn't make some smaller changes to the changes to the story. Below, we get into the minute details, from Ellie's weapon of choice in an important sequence to voice actor Troy Baker's guest appearance.

Unsurprisingly, this article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 8, so proceed with caution if you've yet to tune in and don't want to know exactly what happens. All up to date? Let's dive in...

Troy Baker is playing James here, not Joel

Troy Baker as James in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

You've probably twigged by now that Troy Baker, who voices Joel in the games, doesn't play him in the show. No, that's Pedro Pascal's job. With that, episode 8 introduces Baker as an entirely different character: David's right-hand man James.

"It wasn't something where I was like, 'You better find a role for me'. If there was one, then great. If not, I'm happy to observe and cheer," Baker tells Total Film and GamesRadar+. "So Neil came to me and was like 'Hey man, I got a role for you.' I'm like, 'Oh dude, thank you.'

"And I thought it was looking to be like a clicker or something. And he goes, 'I want you to play James.' I went, 'Oh my God, thank you, man... Who's James again?'

"That's what this show is all about... We're gonna focus on Joel and Ellie – this is a story about a love between a father and a daughter. But we [also] have the opportunity without the encumbrances, if I may say, of what the game required us to do, to explore other characters that either didn't exist in the game like we had with Kathleen and Perry, or do exist in the game, but in a different way like we do with James and David."

Ellie hunts with a gun, not a bow and arrow

Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

While Joel is recovering from the wounds he obtained at the university in the game, players take control of Ellie and are forced to hunt in the snowy landscapes of Colorado. While doing so, you have no choice but to use a bow and arrow but in the show, Bella Ramsey's Ellie uses a gun. 

Up until this point, we've not seen Joel or Ellie use a bow and arrow so it'd be a bit random for her to whack one out and suddenly start waving it about like some expert archer now. Narratively, it makes sense, even if it is a shame to lose a cool bit of iconography from the game. Hey, there's always season 2...

Joel's run-in with David's men

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

To be honest, these scenes play out very similarly to how they do in the games, but one key difference is that Joel wakes up from his injury-induced sleep and goes looking for Ellie after she's already been taken by David in the original. In the show, a couple of David's men force the way into the house where he and Ellie had holed themselves up, and he chokes one out and ties him up before knocking another marauder unconscious out in the yard. 

In both the game and the show, he then proceeds to torture the henchmen, demanding to know where they've taken Ellie – and goes on to kill them.

Joel doesn't intercept Ellie killing David

Scott Shepherd as David in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

In the game, Joel finds Ellie as she's hacking David to death and yanks her off of him. Seeing how distressed she is, he then calms her down and leads her away from the resort. In the show, a blood-soaked Ellie is already outside when Joel stumbles upon her. 

It's such a small change that it has us wondering why they did it but in all fairness, it might be down to something as simple as shooting schedules.

The Last of Us concludes on Sunday, March 12 on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and Sky Atlantic and NOW the following day in the UK. Make sure you're up to date with our The Last of Us release schedule or our breakdown of how many episodes are in The Last of Us.

For more from the series, check out our guide to the major Last of Us episode 7 changes from the games and a terrifying look at the Cordyceps fungus.

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.