How Did Tess Die in the Last of Us Video Game? All Differences Explained

Oops, right?

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell

Did you watch Episode 2 of the new HBO series and wonder how Tess died in The Last of Us video game and if there are any differences? While Tess’s appearance in the series and video game is brief, she is the catalyst for the entire series and is why Joel transports Ellie out west. But, unfortunately, she also sacrifices herself so they can get away and meets a brutal end for doing it, leaving behind an important legacy to the franchise. So then, how did Tess die in The Last of Us video game, and how does it differ from the HBO series? Here are all differences explained on how Tess died in The Last of Us HBO series versus the video game.

How Did Tess Die in the Last of Us Video Game? All Differences Explained


Tess gets infected in the game during the museum fight with the clickers, just like in the show. When they arrive at the Firefly rendezvous point, they find all the Fireflies dead. From here, Tess begins to frantically search for clues of where they are headed when Ellie realizes Tess has been infected.

This is where things begin to change, though. In the show, Tess is infected and decides to go out in a blaze of glory by sacrificing herself against a horde of infected. In the game, however, she manages to kill two soldiers before ultimately being killed by soldiers while giving Joel and Ellie enough time to get away. As a result of the explosion, we don’t see Tess’s corpse in the show (at least not yet), but Joel sees her corpse as confirmation of her death in the video game as they escape.

The reason for the change in the show has been explained by the series showrunner, Craig Mazin. He says they wanted to show what happened when a person was infected peacefully instead of through intense violence. He then says that the end result was way more triggering and nightmare fuel than they intended because of how it “kissed” Tess to begin the infection process as she struggled to ignite the lighter. The result is very unsettling and might be worse than going out quickly through violence.

The Last of Us will have new episodes released weekly exclusively on HBO starting January 15, 2023.

- This article was updated on January 23rd, 2023

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