With The Last of Us Part II now out and a number of Easter eggs to be found within, the game’s connections to the Uncharted universe are once again being brought up. Naughty Dog games feature plenty of cross-over Easter eggs into one another, but it brings up the question of if The Last of Us and Uncharted are part of the same universe. Was Nathan Drake’s world eventually overtaken by the Cordyceps outbreak? Could there ever be a crossover between the two? Is there a shared The Last of Us Uncharted universe?
Are The Last of Us and Uncharted Part of the Same Universe?
The simple answer is no. They are not part of a shared universe. The longer answer is… it’s complicated by multiple references and Easter eggs. The games share some clever hidden Easter eggs that could hint at connections between the two worlds, but at best, these are two alternate realities of the same universe because of a critical divergence in the timeline, namely: Outbreak Day.
The speculation has been discussed for years. An Easter egg in Uncharted 3 showed a newspaper article about a fungus. Uncharted 3 took place in 2010, and the Cordyceps Outbreak happens in September 2013. This led to a lot of questions from fans. Was Naughty Dog simply teasing its next game in Uncharted 3, or was there an actual connection between the two? Some even said that the effects of the artifact’s powers in the original Uncharted seemed to mimic the effects of the fungus in The Last of Us.
When The Last of Us came out, it featured a number of Easter eggs referencing Naughty Dog’s history with Uncharted, furthering the theory that it was essentially the post-apocalyptic version of Nathan Drake’s world. The university had some artifacts scattered on a desk. The Last of Us Part II even has Nathan Drake’s ring as a collectible that can be found, stashed away in a very specific place.
Where Timelines Diverge
Where the entire theory falls apart is with Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy, which break the ongoing timeline. Uncharted 4 takes place in 2015, and The Lost Legacy happens in 2016, both in a decidedly infection-free world. If the world was truly at the mercy of quarantines and a rapidly spreading outbreak that had happened in 2013, don’t you think Nathan, Nadine, Chloe, or Sam might have mentioned something about it, let alone had more important things to worry about?
The theory was always a thin one, especially when you look at the concepts of The Last of Us and Uncharted existing in each of their respective worlds (board games, comic posters, character dolls, etc.). The Easter eggs have always been just that; treats for keen-eyed Naughty Dog fans, never meant to draw direct connections between the worlds. After all, having Precursor Orb collectibles in these games doesn’t mean Jak and Daxter is also part of this “Naughty Dog Extended Universe,” no matter how much you want to believe.
So no, Uncharted and The Last of Us are not part of the same universe. Maybe there’s an alternate reality version of Nathan Drake—now a Clicker—in The Last of Us’ universe. And perhaps Uncharted’s world features a version of Joel where his daughter never died on Outbreak Day in 2013. But unless Naughty Dog starts messing with time portals and dimensional rifts, these are two separate worlds. But wait, Jak and Daxter messed with time and rifts… What if…?