WARNING: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for The Last of Us Episode 1, so if you haven't watched the episode, read at your own risk!
Neil Druckmann is a huge advocate when it comes to storytelling in video games. As the screenwriter for The Last of Us, he ensured that the chosen adaptation form the Naughty Dog game would receive would be rightful in terms of sharing what the video game industry has turned out to be now. In light of that, Druckmann also shared that The Last of Us definitely broke some video game taboos.
In an interview with Los Angeles Times, Druckmann proudly revealed one of the biggest video game taboos The Last of Us managed to break, in an attempt to tell a “grounded” and “realistic” story in the industry. The showrunner even went as far as to compare the taboo with Grand Theft Auto, which couldn’t feature children given its mature rating. Check out Druckmann’s full quote below:
“You almost never showed a kid dying in a video game,” Druckmann said, “That was such a taboo thing… one thing Grand Theft Auto doesn’t have are kids in that world. But if we’re going to tell a story about the love a parent has for their child, we have to deal with the worst fear a parent has — which is any sort of harm coming to their child, and realize that through the opening sequence.”
Druckmann continued on to share the cathartic moments The Last of Us has given him as a parent and as an Israeli immigrant further appreciating the many sacrifices his parents made for him. Apart from that, Druckmann recalls how while making the game, his daughter was born, which made him feel even closer to the game, making it all the scarier to make.
“It was always about the sacrifices my parents have made.” Druckmann said, “As I got older, and came closer to making it as a game, I started thinking about having my own kids, and the fear of raising a kid and what could happen.”
The Last of Us Episode 1 is available to stream on HBO Max. Meanwhile, The Last of Us Episode 2 premieres January 22, 2023 at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PT.