The Last of Us show "will be the best, most authentic game adaptation", says creator Druckmann

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us creator and co-writer/exec producer of the upcoming HBO show, Neil Druckmann, believes that his adaptation of the critically-acclaimed video game will be "the best, most authentic game adaptation" yet.

"I think it will change things," Druckmann said about The Last of Us TV show in an interview with New Yorker (via Comicbook). "Sometimes adaptations haven’t worked because the source material is not strong enough. Sometimes they haven’t worked because the people making it don’t understand the source material."

The key, according to Druckmann and screenwriter Craig Mazin, was that they approached the show very differently from that of the game whilst still respecting the original medium.

“I love the ability to wander, to do nothing, in Skyrim,” Mazin said. "[But] that is not translatable! The Last of Us was always a story where the story comes first."

"Hopefully, this will put that video-game curse to bed,” Druckmann said, believing that the show "will be the best, most authentic game adaptation". Mazin's quipped response? That is "not the highest bar in the world".

"I cheated - I just took the one with the best story," Mazin explained. "Like, I love Assassin’s Creed. But when they announced that they were gonna make it as a movie I was, like, I don’t know how! Because the joy of it is the gameplay. The story is impenetrable."

“The other thing that people get wrong is that they think people want to see the gameplay onscreen," Druckmann added.

The Last of Us TV show, which is hitting HBO, NOW TV, and Sky Atlantic this January, is scaling back on that violence – and for good reason.

“We need a certain amount of action, or violence, that we could use for mechanics so you could connect with Joel and get into a flow state,” Druckmann said in the upcoming issue of SFX magazine, which features Teen Wolf on the cover. "Then you would really feel like you’re connected with this on-screen avatar and you’re seeing the world through his eyes.

"But that doesn’t exist in a passive medium. One of the things that I loved hearing from [Mazin] and HBO very early on was, ‘Let’s take out all the violence except for the very essential'. That allowed the violence to have even more impact than in the game, because when you hold on showing the threat and you’re seeing people’s reaction to a threat, that makes it scarier."

Looking for a new show to watch? Then check out all the best new TV shows coming your way in 2023.

Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.