Modder alters game’s story, replaces Joel with Tess in ‘The Last of Us’

With gamers never inclined to leave a good thing alone, a modder has shown that he can replace Joel, the protagonist of Naughty Dog’s 2013 smash hit The Last of Us, with other NPCs from the game. Specifically, YouTube user Freako found the most success with Tess, successfully porting her into both the test level and the single player campaign and sharing his proof with the world, as reported by Kotaku. It is not The Last of Us 2 yet, but with no release date in sight, we will take what we can get.

The above clip is essentially a trailer for the game’s campaign, but with Tess substituted for Joel as Ellie’s makeshift parental figure for the post-apocalypse. As the video demonstrates, Tess slips seamlessly right into Joel’s animations. Her hair physics survive the transition particularly well.

Tess is a smuggler who teamed with Joel by the time they meet Ellie, hired by friend Marlene to get Ellie out of the city. Things turn south when the three of them get caught by soldiers and Tess dies while holding them off for Joel and Ellie’s escape, sending them off as the game’s central pair. Freako’s mod presupposes an alternate history in which Joel didn’t make it out of the encounter, leaving Tess to take care of Ellie.

While Tess was the most successful substitution, Freako tried a wide range of other NPCs out as well, though just in a multiplayer test level, which you can see below.

A 2013 PlayStation 3 exclusive, The Last of Us was met with universal acclaim on its release, setting a new high watermark for cinematic action games. A remastered version came out the following year for PlayStation 4 and remains one of the console’s most popular titles. Developer Naughty Dog announced that a sequel is in the works in late 2016, but with no official release window yet announced.