Video game adaptations, also known as the “video game curse”, may still be going rampant these days with its bare minimum success, and even the accuracy in depicting the game from its original source material into the adapted form, however, it would seem we have nothing to worry about with Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, especially since it was video game co-creator Neil Druckmann who ensured that no efforts will be all for naught.
Recently speaking with The New Yorker, Druckmann touched upon the initial offers that The Last of Us received, with one of them being from Screen Gems, a Sony subsidiary that wanted to adapt the video game into a movie. While Druckman trusted the adaptation into the hands of Sam Raimi, who wanted to helm the movie, he didn’t want the executives involved, seeing as they wanted for particular things to be “bigger” and “sexier.” If that didn’t sum up his rejection, Druckmann couldn’t possibly imagine fitting more than fifteen hours of gameplay into a two-hour film.
However, it wasn’t until Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin entered the picture when The Last of Us HBO series began coming into place. In the same interview, Druckmann admitted blowing Mazin off because he “didn’t know who he was.” Once the two met each other, and began geeking out about each other’s works and concluded that while The Last of Us would not work as a movie, a television series would be a better choice.
After all, despite the low attention span being the average of viewers, a TV series is all the more fitting to sum up one of the greatest storytelling the video game industry has. In fact, this would do Druckmann a favor as his initial goal in adaptations is to “enlighten this whole other audience [non-The Last of Us players/fans] that cares about storytelling and hasn’t realized there’s amazing storytelling happening in games.”
The Last of Us is slated to premiere on HBO on January 15, 2023.