HBO’s The Last of Us has been one of the more successful TV adaptations of video games in recent memory. Critics praise it, and fans love it, as The Last of Us is now one of the most-watched shows on HBO. The overwhelming success hides the pressure faced by the creatives to develop a faithful adaption of a worshipped video game. Creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann explained their nerves behind adapting The Last of Us from a game to a TV show in a roundtable discussion with Sony and head of PlayStation Productions Asad Qizilbash.
Due to the replay factor from a video game, Mazin said, “They [users] have not just experienced it once or twice but many multiple times, and so there is an intimacy that they have with these characters. That’s why I think that a lot of fans were nervous about the game being adapted at all, and I understand that. I get nervous.”
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Even though Druckmann wrote and co-directed The Last of Us video game, he “had the same nervousness” as the fans. Creatively, Druckmann never directed television before helming the second episode of the season. This presented a new set of challenges, and Druckmann discussed the most notable difference from directing a video game to a TV show.
Druckmann said, “The biggest difference is that when we do the cinematic part of a video game, which is the closest to shooting a TV show or film, in the volume, where we capture the video game stuff, we have all the coverage, every angle because we’re capturing 3D data of their face, of their body, their voice. We could change their clothing. We could change the set. We could change the weather. All those things we could change after the fact.”
“No so much in live action. . . . On the TV show, that’s pretty much what it’s gonna be,” Druckmann continued. “And then you say action, and then you hold your breath. You’re hoping all the pieces will come together.”
The next episode of The Last of Us airs on HBO this Sunday night, March 5.
Is the TV series better than the video game? Let us know in the comment section below.
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