Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic series is getting a surprise adaptation, and a The Last of Us tabletop game - officially called 'The Last of Us: Escape the Dark' - is due to hit Kickstarter this November 8.
Developed by the award-winning Themeborne, the team behind Escape the Dark Castle, The Last of Us: Escape the Dark seems to be based on the first game in the franchise - judging by what we've seen so far, it'll revolve around Joel and Ellie's cross-country journey with one to five players taking control of Ellie, Joel, Tommy, Bill, Tess, or Marlene. And even though we don't have many details for The Last of Us tabletop game beyond what we've seen in Naughty Dog's blog or the Themeborne reveal post, the promo image features iconic locations from that story (Downtown, University, and so on) along with items you can craft and upgradable weapons.
The Last of Us: Escape the Dark also sees each player character begin with a 'Hang-up' that they'll work to resolve over the course of the adventure. More specifically, they are "on a journey of personal growth to overcome it, unlocking their full potential as a character if they can do so".
If Themeborne's previous work is anything to go by, The Last of Us: Escape the Dark could end up being a cross between traditional board games and the best tabletop RPGs. For example, in Escape the Dark Castle, you step into pre-defined roles and take part in a shared storytelling experience revealed by random chapter cards. According to Themeborne, the same is true here - albeit with added threats from Hunters or the Infected that require custom dice and item cards to overcome.
Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckman certainly seems excited by the prospect of this game. In Themeborne's blog, he noted that "Escape the Dark Castle grabbed me with its bold black & white illustrations, compelling RPG mechanics, and interesting narrative choices. With its spiritual sequel, Escape the Dark Sector, I loved the evolution of deeper mechanics and how easily they fit into the sci-fi genre. Now I couldn't be happier to see their game design continue to evolve with The Last of Us! We're excited to see Joel, Ellie, and more of our beloved characters take on new life through stunning artwork and mechanics that immerse players in the world of The Last of Us".
We'll find out more when this version of The Last of Us lands on Kickstarter on November 8 (which in itself suggests a mid-to-late 2023 release date). In the meantime, you can prepare for the upcoming Black Friday board game deals and wider Black Friday gaming deals - they're only a few weeks away.