Craig Mazin is going from nuclear destruction to post-apocalyptic as he teams up with Naughty Dog vice president Neil Druckmann to write and executive produce a TV series based on The Last of Us for HBO. Druckmann was actually the writer and creative director of the game, meaning that one of the creators of the game itself will have a heavy hand in adapting it to television.
The series will be a retelling of the first game, which was heralded not only for its gameplay but its heart-wrenching story and structure. After the downfall of humanity, Joel, a hardened old smuggler, is tasked with taking Ellie, a teenager immune to a deadly infection, across the country. Complicating matters are evil humans out to capture Ellie and zombies infected with the Cordyceps fungus. The pair form a bond as they journey across the wasteland that is now America.
Mazin is evidently a massive fan of the games and said, “Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus. Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m so honored to do it in partnership with Neil.”
The television series is also the first one from Sony’s new PlayStation Productions studio, which was set up to expand the footprint of their IPs outside the gaming world. In partnership with Sony Pictures Television, the studio is looking to develop many more shows based on the company’s games. We’ll have to wait and see what those are, but it won’t be Naughty Dog’s other hit series, Uncharted, as that’s already getting the movie treatment.
It’s interesting to see that the story will be the same as the one in the game considering how tightly and well-told it was there. The game also relied on player agency (or lack thereof) to make its conclusion all the more powerful, so it’s unclear how that might translate into a TV show at HBO. Still, the bones of The Last of Us‘s story are tried and true and can be unfolded powerfully in many ways, and with this creative team behind it, they shouldn’t have a problem.