It has been announced that HBO will be creating an adaptation of Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed game, The Last of Us. The show will be created by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) along with Neil Druckmann, director of the original game and its highly anticipated sequel, The Last of Us Part II, to be released in May this year.
The Last of Us is often considered one of the greatest games of all time because of its commitment to character-driven storytelling. This is a a relative rarity for best selling games, so it’s fair to say this is most likely the reason why HBO felt it was suitable for a TV adaptation.
The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic United States, after a contagious and deadly fungus creates zombie-like creatures. The protagonist, Joel, is tasked with protecting a teenage girl, Ellie, as he transports her across the country. Joel and Ellie’s relationship develops as they struggle with such a hostile world on their journey, and acts as the centerpiece of the game, in which a tortured man finds purpose again through his mission to keep Ellie alive.
In a recent statement, Craig Mazin noted, “Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus.” Mazin adds, “getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m so honoured to do it in partnership with Neil.”
Neil Druckmann has stated, “from the first time I sat down to talk with Craig I was equally blown away by his approach to narrative and his love and deep understanding of The Last of Us.”
More recently, video games are becoming a much richer source for storytellers to tap into. It may not be all that surprising to some gamers that The Last of Us is finally being adapted. It’s worth noting that this announcement comes off the back of Netflix’s huge success with its adaptation of the video game franchise The Witcher (also inspired by the best-selling novels by Andrzej Sapkowski). Additionally, the upcoming Uncharted film, adapted from the popular Naughty Dog game franchise, is set to begin filming soon.
Plus, it seems there are many more game adaptations to come. Chris Parnell, co-president of Sony Pictures Television Studios, stated of The Last of Us, “this is the first of many shows we intend to develop with our friends at Playstation Productions.”
Hopefully The Last of Us will be able to capture the true horror of its post-apocalyptic setting without compromising the strength of Joel and Ellie’s relationship.
If you can’t wait for the show then be sure to grab the game, and watch the trailer for The Last of Us Part II here: