Over the past 10 years, video games have become much more cinematic and movie-like in their presentation. The performances of voice actors along with realistic character animations have helped make certain games feel like a cinematic experience. One game that is the perfect example of this is The Last of Us. When it originally released in 2013, it was one of the best-selling PlayStation 3 games. Critics and fans also praised its story and characters leading to comparisons to great films such as Children of Men and 28 Days Later. This is why it was no surprise when HBO announced it was adapting the game into a live-action television series.
The story of The Last of Us works pretty well as a television show. The show’s official synopsis says, “Twenty years after modern civilization has been destroyed Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse across the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.”
For those that don’t know, this is the same plot as the first game in the series. However, what the synopsis fails to mention is that the United States has been the victim of a zombie outbreak for the past 20 years. The game takes Joel and Ellie all over America as they deal with the infected, cannibals and bandits. I do wonder how much of the first game will be a part of the first season. It could easily be stretched into 2 or 3 seasons with the right scripts. Additionally, the show could have even more seasons if they choose to adapt the game’s sequel.
As a fan of the series, I am looking forward to seeing how this will work as a television show. In my opinion, games like the Last of Us which aim to be more cinematic in their presentation don’t really need to be made into films—being that they already are films in a way. Plus, part of the reason people enjoy the game so much is because they get to take control and interact with it. This gets lost when a game is adapted to film or television.
Most live-action video game adaptations end up being pretty awful since they always seem to be handled by people who miss the point of the game. In this case, that may not happen as Neil Druckmann, who is the creative director and writer of both Last of Us games, will be a writer and executive producer on this show. Since HBO is handling this show, I’m willing to give it a chance. There have been so many shows from them that I’ve enjoyed from the past few years. For example, Watchmen and The Plot Against America are great television adaptations of books.
Whenever this show premieres, I will be ready and waiting. HBO has been my favorite streaming service for years now and I have no doubt this show will give me yet another reason to continue renewing my subscription.
Both ‘Watchmen’ and ‘The Plot Against America’ are available to stream on HBO Max. ‘The Last of Us’ will be coming to HBO in 2021.
By Brendan Bell