Marlene makes a comment that sooner or later, Ellie would die horribly by bandits or looters; it doesn't matter how long it takes, it will very probably happen.
This got me thinking about the quality of life in a post apocalypse world, in particular that of TLOU. In particular, it made me think of Ish's sewer community.
Unlike anywhere else we see survivors, that was a place that seemed genuinely happy; kids drawings, notes praising others and making jokes about humdrum things, kids, a school; a real sense of community. Compare that to the Boston QZ where everyone seems hungry, oppressed and paranoid, the Pittsburgh hunters (no kids or even women, for some reason!) or the loner life of someone like Bill.
Was if it was better or worse for those families who died in the sewers? What happened to them wasn't a nice way to go at ALL, but those kids clearly had fun living down there while it lasted and (given the - decayed but not skeletal - state of the uninfected bodies there) had to have survived many years (ten or more?) down there. They got to spend those years playing and learning and living in a loving community, which is more than they would have got on the surface with the bandits, if Kyle and others hadn't followed Ish.
In a world where - as Marlene suggests - violent death is all but certain, was it better that those families lived several happy (comparitively) years together yet died horribly in the end, or if they'd died quickly topside? Did Kyle do the right thing moving there, even if he'd known what would happen?
Is "a few years of happiness" all one can hope for in TLOU's world? Those precious moments Henry and Sam spent with Joel and Ellie, telling jokes and messing about in the suburbs also came to mind...
What do others think?
The Sewers imo were one of the most sad, emotional and well developed and thaught out areas in TLOU. As you know, while you continue through the Sewers you find notes from Ish stating how he had fortified the Sewers and because of the limited ways in and out he considered it quite safe! Then you read the note stating how he ran into the traders up above and suggested that he should invite them and their families down to the sewers so he would 'have someone to laugh at his stupid jokes'!
I loved the way ND started to show signs that maybe he did just that, you started to see toys about, signs of a community, even soccer goals scribbled on the wall and a soccer ball! By this stage I sort of hoped that some people and children would be still alive (despite being attacked by some infected while in there) and we could meet up with them and exchange stories! Then you run into THAT room on the left, the room which actually made tears well up in my eyes (no game has done this before) first thing you see are drawing boards with bright pictures on them, some toys on the ground, signs of happy times and kids playthings, then you noticed the sheets with kids shoes sticking out from below.... and then just infront of them the scribbling on the floor "They did not suffer" ! Well that was too much for me! I did read the note the Adult had scribbled before this horrible event took place, and it was pretty obvious what had happened to their little community and I felt so sorry for them.
Obviously there were other signs of their happy times, there was that makeshift classroom all bright and cheery with some maths and English scribbled on a board! Then you could understand how they survived with water traps bringing in rain into barrels from above, and the sleeping quarters and kitchen etc This made you wonder exactly how long this community had survived in realitive safety and happiness until that one foolish person left the wrong door open
Your question about morality, was surviving a number of years down in the sewers worth it even given their terrible end? Well I think so, given the amount of infected and Hunters above, surely they wouldn't have lasted as long as they did if they hadn't gone into the relative safety of the sewers! Those were happier times for all those people, I don't think they would have changed that! If only their 'Security' had done a better job of protecting the community by setting up better defenses and an alarm if a outside door is kept open, it would have been nice and a lighter moment, for Joel to meet them!
There is just so much death and suffering in TLOU I think it would have been nice of SOME of them had survived and were bunkered up for you to go and rescue! Saying that this area achieved what it was meant to I guess, a sense of loss, a sense of great sadness.
I agree with all you said, and how fantastically well designed the whole area was (compared to some other rather "bland" ones like the Outskirts or even Bill's Town; I wonder if different teams worked on different areas, ala Bethesda's Elder Scrolls games?). Just seeing how they lived and feeling how much of a real community they were (again, compare with the Boston QZ) made the discoveries of their fates all the more heartbreaking.
The fact Ish survived really shocked me; I felt it was sadistic yet apt to have this guy who was a self-proclaimed loner open up to others and then pay for that by losing them all and his own life too (foreshadowing for "gruff loner Joel"?). But Ish got out, even though we don't find out what happened to him. Thank goodness they didn't make him that dead family in the camper on the overpass! LOL!
I think the tragedy of "one little mistake" dooming them all speaks volumes about the world of TLOU and brought home to me the danger of the somewhat silly "fungus zombies".
I also think that it is a fascinating question to pose: were those people's (particularly the kids') years of happiness down there negated by their eventual horrible deaths?
"Is "a few years of happiness" all one can hope for in TLOU's world?"
I think the answer is yes, that kinda sums up the ending and broader message for TLoU. This is exactly what Joel wants with Ellie, a few years happiness, which is why he saves her. I think there's a big difference between Joel and Ish though. Joel is gifted at killing others to survive. Whereas Ish couldn't (or maybe just didn't) kill others, he said he was 'good at running and hiding', iirc. In the world of TLoU, I think you'd have to kill to maximize your time to live, which is why Joel would probably last much longer than Ish ever could.
I think I'd agree with that answer too ("yes"). A reason I don't think I want to see a sequel follow on with the same main characters is I like the idea that maybe they lived a long, happy life... or maybe Jackson fell to Infected or bandits a year later... but that year of happiness was worth everything.
I would be surprised if ND thought that deeply about the parallels between Sewer Town's fate and Marlene's words about Ellie (and Joel's feelings on the matter too), but it's a very worthy connection to make and ties in rather wonderfully when you think about it.
I don't know if - story-wise - Joel being in Ish's community would have saved them, though. Sure, Joel has become good at/comfortable with killing - he actually reminds me a LOT of 1970's show 'Survivors' character Greg "it gets easier" Preston in that regard - but he's as much if not more of a loner than Ish. He's no leader, he just looks out for himself (same as Ish in his earlier journals). Joel probably couldn't have stopped what happened, even if he was there, except if he'd been in charge of security, and even then it only took a moment's carelessness on somebody's part for Sewer Town to fall. Sure, gameplay wise, Joel is unstoppable enough to have escaped, but I can't see him saving the community any more than Ish could.
I think if there's a sequel, Ish might be a main character. ND spent a lot of time developing his story through the notes, it seems like a deliberate setup for him to be a character met sometime in a future game. Especially because we never find out for sure what happened to him and Susan after they escape the sewers. Or maybe I'm just reading into it too much lol.
harrisj16 wrote:I think if there's a sequel, Ish might be a main character. ND spent a lot of time developing his story through the notes, it seems like a deliberate setup for him to be a character met sometime in a future game. Especially because we never find out for sure what happened to him and Susan after they escape the sewers. Or maybe I'm just reading into it too much lol.
Mark my words, it will be DLC. I would also like to see Tommy's side of the story in DLC.
Theres no way Ish would be the main character in a sequel, but a game about the survival of a community would be really cool.
Not THE main character, no, but one of the mains. Sorta like Bill or Henry were mains. Well, I consider them as main characters. I predict a sequel with Ellie as the playable main, and Ish as an AI partner for some portion of the game.