The Last of Us Showrunners Defend Deviating From Naughty Dog Game

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There is little doubt that people are already expecting The Last of Us to be faithful to the source material. However, it looks like the HBO series is going to deviate from the Naughty Dog video games. Showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have spoken about the changes and are defending their decision to make some tweaks in the live-action series.

Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann recently spoke to Radio Times about the upcoming show and they were quick to point out that there are a few changes in The Last of Us.

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"Ultimately, adaptation is all about choices. And we can talk until our faces turn blue about how we make those choices," Mazin said. "And there's a lot of math to it. But for me, what it always came back to was, 'What do I love?' What, as a fan, would I be hurt if I didn't see it in the show?"

"And what do I think we would absolutely have to change to adapt to a medium that is passive, that isn't interactive, that doesn't require gameplay?" he continued. "And what are the things that we can be inspired by and adjust and just let ourselves be creative, but always within the bounds of 'what do we love'?"

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"We did deviate, but not to surprise the audience," Druckmann added. "That was never our goal, like, 'how do we surprise them?' We knew that would happen organically as we just kind of adapt this from one medium to another, and the surprises will emerge in that way. But yeah, that was never, never a focus of ours."

The Last of Us will star Pedro Pascal as Joel, a smuggler who helps a young girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey) make her way across a post-apocalyptic United States.

The live-action series will consist of nine episodes, the first of which will premiere on HBO on January 15, 2023.

Related: The Last of Us: Bella Ramsey on How She Perfected Ellie's Switchblade Technique