In brief: With film studios churning out video game adaptations left and right, it's probably no surprise to find out a TV show based on The Last of Us has been green lighted. Games usually have trouble translating to film. Often the writing is horrible, but in this case the writing will be coming directly from Naughty Dog and the creator of the HBO Chernobyl limited series.
On Thursday, HBO announced that it is partnering with Naughty Dog and PlayStation Productions to adapt The Last of Us into a television show. Craig Mazin, creator of the award-winning Chernobyl series, will head up the production. HBO tapped Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann to executive produce and provide writing support.
Hollywood Reporter notes the show will be based on the events that happened in the first game of the franchise focusing on Joel's attempt to get Ellie out of the quarantined city. If the series does well, it might expand the story to TLoU Part II.
"Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus," praised Mazin, who is a big fan of the game. "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."
This is not Naughty Dog's first game adaptation. A feature film based on Uncharted is in the works but has struggled to get completed. It was initially slated for a December 18, 2020 release, but IMDB now lists it as coming March 5, 2021. Don't hold your breath though — that sounds like a placeholder date. Hopefully The Last of Us TV series will not run into the same troubles.
Sony's newly created PlayStation Productions also said that this would not be the only game franchise to get a TV series. Although it had nothing to announce, its plans include several future adaptations, something we reported last May.
"This is the first of many shows we intend to develop with our friends at PlayStation Productions," said Sony Pictures exec Chris Parnell.
It is hard to say whether a TV series can successfully capture the same drama, horror, and emotion that made The Last of Us Naughty Dog's magnum opus. Live-action video game adaptations rarely fair well with audiences. Hopefully, Mazin and Druckmann can pull it off. If so, HBO could find itself getting a bump in subscribers.