The creative director behind The Last of Us has explained how the upcoming HBO series will adapt the game for live action, revealing that some dialogue will be included straight from the game.
However, the show will not be a direct retelling of the game’s events and some episodes of the HBO show will even “deviate greatly”, Neill Druckmann told IGN.
The Last of Us adaptation is set to be the first television series from PlayStation Productions, a studio formed by Sony Interactive Entertainment to adapt its original game properties for film and TV. Last month, Game of Thrones actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were officially cast as lead characters Joel and Ellie.
Speaking during an SXSW interview, game director and show executive producer Druckmann, explained how he and showrunner Craig Mazin were adapting the game.
“We talked at length [that season 1 of the show is going to be [the first game],” Druckmann said, adding that for him and Mazin, “the philosophical underpinnings of the story” were the most important element to get right for the adaptation.
“As far as the superficial things, like should [a character] wear the same plaid shirt or the same red shirt? They might or might not appear in it, that’s way less important to us than getting the core of who these people are and the core of their journey.”
Druckmann went on to say that viewers would likely recognize some dialogue from the games, but noted that some significant changes to the story would also be introduced.
“Things sometimes stay pretty close,” he said. “It’s funny to see my dialogue there from the games in HBO scripts. And sometimes they deviate greatly to much better effect because we are dealing with a different medium.
“For example, in the game, there’s so much action you have to have to train the player about mechanics. You have to have more violence and more spectacle to some degree than you would need on a TV show because you don’t need to train people on how to use a gun.
“So that’s something that’s been really different, and HBO’s been great in pushing us to move away from hardcore action and focus more on the drama of the character. Some of my favourite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can’t wait for people to see them.”
Chernobyl creator Mazin is co-writing and executive producing the Last of Us TV adaptation with Naughty Dog co-president Druckmann. Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones, Chernobyl) is also executive producing along with Naughty Dog president Evan Wells.