The adaptation of the most meaningful video game comes to TV

The Last of Us can easily be considered the best modern video game, and the reason for that support has to do with how Naughty Dog’s creation develops when it comes to telling a heartfelt story, with a climate, creating a world, and how it combines that with, of course, a great gameplay, revolutionary in many of its facets (such as thinking about characters, environments, the final fight and so on). The opinion of The Last of Us came from the hand of Playstation, from Sony, in 2013, and since then, much has been said: its finished world, in ruins, and the popularity of creatures from the end of civilization immediately made the machine obsessed with franchises, that is, Hollywood would like to adapt the game, original and sequel, to movies or series. Finally, HBO MAX premieres, in what it seeks to be the first release of a big series of 2023, The Last of Us and its first season. The showrunners are Craig Mazin, famous for the Chernobyl event, and Neil Druckmann, creative director of the original (a choice that seeks to end the curse of video game adaptations that go head-to-head against another format). Mazin himself assured in a conference: “I think that one of the biggest challenges had to do with understanding that the video game has a lot to do to make you feel immersed in that universe, therefore, giving the player a universe and a climate that isolates them. , which focus on the character and not so much on something that television would do (where one is a passive spectator). So when filming, we had to distinguish which parts of the original story, which is what we want to respect and tell, lend themselves to a way close to the series, and which parts we needed to mutate into something else, to at least be able to exist in this new format. Video game adaptations always fail to replicate the way the game is played, and we felt that the important thing was to understand what was there as a story that allows it a new life. Neil Druckmann, the screenwriter and creative director of the original, adds to that idea:

The most difficult thing for me was to discover, based on this need to see his life in another medium, what synthesizes this universe, what could even be defined as central and capable of being permeable, but without losing its identity. The themes, their messages, understanding who these characters are, and how we can go further by understanding strengths and weaknesses earlier: all of that was very crucial, but also fascinating, when we started creating the show.

The protagonists, who give life to Joel and Ellie, are none other than two laureates of the geeky mode of modern life: Joel is Pedro Pascal, the Chilean famous for his role in The Mandalorian and Game of Thrones, and Ellie is Bella Ramsey, unforgettable in her role as Lyana Mormont in Game of Thrones. Pascal says in the same conference: “I think he has been fascinating to all of us. In my case, and I think in the case of the whole team, it is a base material that none of us has worked with before. But at the same time, it informs us of the characters like few things we’ve ever worked with before. I mean the

level of detail in the construction of the characters, of course. I had never been able to work so much on a character. There was a fear of getting too much out of the game. I feel like I’ve never achieved such deep work on a character.” To him, Ramsey’s word is added: “We love the game, as a base. And Craig was writing as we made the series. So the game served us to have a base. We were shooting for almost a year, and it was very impressive.”

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