One of the most critically-acclaimed video game series of all time, The Last of Us, is set to become an HBO series under the auspices of producer Craig Mazin and franchise creator Neil Druckmann. In an interview with BBC Radio 5, Mazin assured fans that the series will honor the lore of the games instead of attempting to reconfigure them.
"I think fans of something worry that, when the property gets licensed to someone else, those people don't really understand it, or are going to change it. In this case, I'm doing it with the guy who did it [Druckmann], and so the changes that we're making are designed to fill things out and expand, not to undo, but rather to enhance."
The Last of Us started out as a survivalist-horror gaming series set in a post-apocalyptic world, where players take control of Joel, a smuggler, and Ellie, a teenage girl, as the two try to make their way across the country while fighting off hordes of human bandits and cannibalistic mutants. What sets the series apart from your standard action-adventure game is the emotional bond between Ellie and Joel that powers the narrative, and Mazin is acutely aware of the necessity of bringing that same emotionality to his series.
"We're creating anew and we're also reimagining what is already there to present a different format. It's kind of a dream come true for me. I'm a little bit scared because a lot of emotions connected to this game are rather intense. I think I'm probably going to go hide in a bunker for a while because you can't make everyone happy!"
The most exciting news shared by Mazin are hints that the live-action series will feature storylines that were cut from the original games, and which can finally be added to the narrative:
"Neil, at one point, he's like, 'You know, there was one thing we were talking about for a while,' and then he told me what it was. I was like, 'Well, that's going in. You couldn't stop me from doing that.' So we're doing that. And there's quite a few things like that where it's not like, 'Oh, we just decided, oh, wouldn't it be cool if there was one episode where Joel and Ellie get on motorcycles and confront a motorcycle gang?' That's not what we do. There's no episodic nonsense here. This is all pretty much curated. The things that are new and enhancing of the storyline we're doing are connected in organic, serious ways that fans and newcomers alike will appreciate."
The talent attached to HBO's The Last of Us has gaming fans hopeful of finally getting a live-action video game adaptation that garners critical acclaim. The details of casting and release have not been made available to the public yet, but the makers have confirmed that several characters from the games will be added to the show for authentic and fleshed-out world-building. This news comes from Collider.