For all three people out there who haven’t heard yet, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news last week that a TV adaptation for The Last Of Us is in the works. The project will be headed up by Craig Mazin who is best known for bringing us the critically acclaimed Chernobyl, and once again Mazin will be teaming up with HBO for the project. It’s not only HBO that he is teaming up with, it is confirmed that Neil Druckmann – the writer and creative director for The Last Of Us game will be working side by side with Craig Mazin to bring The Last Of Us to life. Although this is very much a HBO show, it will also be partly produced by PlayStation Productions, making it the first show to come out of the newly formed studio.
As a gigantic fan of The Last Of Us and an outspoken naysayer against video game movie and TV adaptations, I should be torn here, but I’m not. A few weeks ago, we did an Unpopular Opinion chat on video game movies where I was one of the only people to speak out against it. To quote myself (which feels odd), I said: “I will say though that I’d love to be proved wrong, give me a movie based on The Last of Us that captures the magic of the game and I’d probably change my tune. As it currently stands though, video game movies are a complete waste of time.” Well they do say that if you don’t ask then you don’t get! Only difference being this isn’t a movie of course, which is a good thing in my opinion. In fact it acts as the first of my five reasons as to why this The Last Of Us TV series is going to be brilliant!
Minor spoilers for The Last Of Us Part 1 ahead!
For whatever reason, I always assumed that if we ever saw a live action version of The Last Of Us, that it would be on the big screen. Having now thought about it for all of five seconds though, I genuinely believe a series is the best way to go. The most important factor in what makes TLOU work is the characters, not just the excellent relationship between Joel & Ellie but great side characters such as Tommy, Marlene, Henry and Tess too. Having this show stretched out over a longer period of time allows the writers to give these characters the time they deserve. I can easily envision an episode dedicated to Bill and the tragic story of his partner, or an episode which focuses on Henry and Sam’s relationship. The game plays out in clear and obvious chapters and having this as a big budget TV series allows the live action version to do the same.
Yes, this will be the first project to come out of PlayStation Productions. If this was solely their show, then I would definitely be worried as they have zero experience when it comes to making TV. Fortunately though, Sony are smart and have gone to the masters of TV for help – HBO. The writer of TLOU – Neil Druckmann is a genius, there’s no doubting that, but adapting something as big as TLOU is a tough ask so why not collaborate with a team who knows exactly what they’re doing? As you likely already know, HBO have an incredible track record when it comes to television series and can boast about household names such as Game of Thrones, The Wire, Band of Brothers and more recently – Chernobyl. The dark and hard hitting Chernobyl took the world by storm last year and was deservedly heaped with praise by critics and fans from all over the world. The fact that Chernobyl’s Crag Mazin is the man who is going to be working with Druckmann on this project fills me with so much hope. If TLOU can capture even half of the magic of Chernobyl then we’re onto a winner!
You can pretty much tie this in with the above entry. I have all the faith in the world when talking HBO and Crag Mazin but the exact same logic can be applied to Naughty Dog and Neil Druckmann. I love that they will be working so closely on this series. It goes without saying that Druckmann and co are passionate about their baby and this news shows that they’re not willing to just hand it over without input. I love this as it means the show won’t drift too far from what originally made the game special.
With everything that’s been mentioned above, we know this show will be getting the full HBO treatment which includes marketing. With most video game movies, the appeal is just seeing your favourite game come to life on the big screen and that’s it. I can almost guarantee that when we see a trailer for TLOU series, we won’t be bombarded with “Based on one of the best selling games of all time”, instead I expect HBO to advertise this as a whole new story and those who know will just know (and we can act all smug). Look at Game of Thrones, we wasn’t bashed over the head with the fact these were best selling books, not at first anyway. Sure it won’t be a secret and Naughty Dog will be credited throughout but don’t expect it to be the main selling point when adversing the series. I believe this can only be a good thing as it will eliminate any preconceived notions which are naturally embedded into viewers after years upon years of terrible video game adaptations.
Those who know me, know that I’m a sucker for a good narrative in video games and that is why TLOU is my favourite video game of all time. There’s a reason I’ve always stated that this could be the game to change my mind on live action video game adaptations, and that’s because the story told in TLOU is flawless and shouldn’t be contained to just one medium. I’m not expecting the show to be a scene for scene clone of the game, but the story is so strong and mainstream ready that it really shouldn’t need much tweaking. A huge problem with most video game movies is that they have so many different games to pull from and even then the stories aren’t always great, this is far from the case with TLOU. The news story which broke has already confirmed that it will cover the events of the first game and maybe include some of the upcoming sequel as well, which is amazing as it confirms they’ll be telling the story us gamers already know and love rather than taking these characters and doing something completely different. The most exciting part of all of this is that people outside of my gaming bubble get to experience something I love, and for that reason alone I cant wait to see this.
There we have it, five reasons why I think The Last Of Us HBO series will be brilliant! Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below and keep an eye right here on Respawning for more The Last Of Us content.Become a Patron!