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Are Uncharted And The Last Of Us Set In The Same Universe?

It seems that players will always pick apart and analyze Naughty Dog titles, even long after they've departed the spotlight. Naughty Dog games are no stranger to referencing each other through in-game easter eggs, often leaving a "Jak and Daxter" Precursor Orb or clever naming callback to a previous project tucked away for players to find. However, one "Uncharted" reference may be the key to linking Nathan Drake's universe with "The Last of Us," turning a "The Last of Us" fan theory into reality. 

Though it might seem a far cry to think these two vastly different game worlds could be one and the same, the supporting evidence sprinkled throughout each franchise proves a fairly convincing case. Plus, with players coming across a silver bullet in the form of a callback to an iconic "The Last of Us" location and business within "Uncharted 4," fans who've spent time considering how the two worlds might intersect are seeing their curiosity pay off. Here's how an easter egg ties together the "Uncharted" series and "The Last of Us," and how the two universes fit together.

What Ties The Last of Us and Uncharted Together?

While Joel, Ellie and other "The Last of Us" characters may inhabit a version of the world that's collapsed after an outbreak of the Cordyceps fungus, there are still some signs of the world that used to be. Among old comic books — and even a PlayStation 3 with a copy of "Uncharted 2" (per ScreenRant) — players might also notice the persistent Weston's Pharmacy business from both the "Left Behind" DLC for the original "The Last of Us" as well as its sequel. As it turns out, Weston's Pharmacy is well and functioning within the "Uncharted" universe, with a prescription bottle bearing the pharmaceutical company's name appearing in "Uncharted 4."

As pointed out on Reddit by user kheinrichs547, among others, the bottle of pills in question can be examined in-game, and upon a closer inspection fans realized the medicine had come from none other than Weston's Pharmacy. While this evidence would seemingly tie the two game worlds together, it may also give rise to a number of additional questions. Where's Nathan Drake, Elena, or their daughter during the Cordyceps outbreak? Have Joel or Ellie heard about the famous treasure hunter? Why don't the Cordyceps zombies appear throughout "Uncharted" games? Luckily, many of these new questions raised have answers, or at least have half-answers that can be extrapolated from the games' narrative and lore.

How Can Uncharted and The Last of Us Share a World?

Timelines are the key to tying "Uncharted" and "The Last of Us" together. As far as dates go, The "Uncharted" titles take place during "modern" times, with the events of "Uncharted 4" occurring somewhere between 2013-2015. "The Last of Us," on the other hand, starts players in the year 2033 and estimates that 60% of the planet's population is infected by the Cordyceps fungus.

What's known Outbreak Day in "The Last of Us" happened in late 2013 and then the fungus began working its way into the human race. The world characters in "The Last of Us" inhabit is a muddied reflection of the same world Nathan Drake belongs to in his games. It's not too farfetched to believe that after the appearance of the Cordyceps — and the inevitable realization that humanity was powerless to stop it — the world began its descent into the chaotic state players are welcomed to by when they start "The Last of Us."

While Weston's Pharmacy manages to tie the two franchises together quite neatly, there are still a few inconsistencies with the theory worth mentioning. Chief among them is that the epilogue for "Uncharted 4" is estimated to occur roughly 14 years after the game — well into the supposed Cordyceps pandemic. That said, if players can think of a way to make it all work, there's always the chance it'll later show up as another Naughty Dog easter egg.