The Last of Us Season 1 episode 4 is set in Kansas City, Missouri. This is a departure from the 2013 video game, which sees Joel and Ellie head to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
It is the location where we’re introduced to two brand-new characters, Kathleen and her fearsome bodyguard Perry, played by a familiar The Last of Us alumni.
The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 4 Filming Locations
The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 4 was shot in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The scenes where Joel and Ellie are driving were shot on 8 Avenue SW between 5 Street and 6 Street.
The scenes where Joel crashes the car into the laundromats were shot in an alleyway between 10 Ave. S.E. and 11 Ave. S.E.
Here are some comparison images between the real-life locations and the scenes in the show:
To transform the downtown Calgary street into a post-apocalyptic Kansas City street, additional street signs, traffic lights, and other props were placed around.
Of course, extra broken-down cars and debris were scattered across the street. It all comes together to really sell the desolation of the city.
For the alleyway scene, several buildings were added with CGI. The laundromat building seems to have been made entirely for the show and doesn’t exist in real life.
Additionally, a lampost and other props were positioned throughout the alleyway to give it more depth and detail.
Where Is Kansas City in The Last of Us?
Kansas City is in the center of the US, on the Western edge of the state of Missouri. It is a 21 hours drive from Boston, Massachusetts, where Joel and Ellie begin their journey.
Kansas City used to be controlled by the oppressive FEDRA government but was quickly overthrown by the Hunters. In the show, it is a mostly lawless city that preys on those passing through.
Why Did They Change it From Pittsburgh to Kansas City in The Last of Us?
They changed the location where Joel and Ellie meet Henry and Sam in The Last of Us from Pittsburgh to Kansas City because the places where they could shoot in Calgary, Canada, looked more like Kansas City than Pittsburgh.
So, to make it easier to recreate a city in the US, they switched it from Pittsburgh to Kansas City.
This is according to showrunner Craig Mazin, who spoke about the deviation from the game in the Inside the Episode breakdown of Episode 4.
Because The Last of Us was filmed in Canada and not the US, they had to recreate cities using a mix of CGI and real-life locations.
The showrunners found places in Canada that could be realistically transformed into cities in the US. This is why they deviated from the game, as it was easier to film and cost less money.
However, the switch from Pittsburgh to Kansas City is only one of many significant deviations from The Last of Us game to the TV show.