If playing a remake of a game that’s already been remastered doesn’t float your boat, maybe you’d be down for a live-action The Last of Us TV show that’s nearly a shot-for-shot remake of Naughty Dog’s 2013 PS3 smash hit? Yeah? Well, it looks like HBO might have you covered.
In a tweet showing various scenes from the recent TLoU TV show teaser trailer, HBO revealed just how closely the upcoming series will hew to the game’s framing, pace, and even character expressions. The footage shows a kind of parity with the source material that we aren’t used to seeing in live-action adaptations of video games. Of course, fans may appreciate this, as video game adaptations are often skewered for drifting too far from the original work that made them popular in the first place.
News of a The Last of Us television adaptation first broke in March of 2020. Craig Mazin, the writer behind HBO’s Chernobyl, along with Naughty Dog’s own Neil Druckmann, sought to bring to life Joel and Ellie’s tale of struggle and survival in a post-apocalyptic America. HBO, Sony Pictures, and PlayStation Productions are all working together on what Druckmann, at this year’s Summer Game Fest, called “the most authentic video game adaptation yet.” And from the eight-second clip HBO tweeted today, Druckmann may not have been exaggerating.
Lately, live-action video game adaptations have become not only more frequent, but better. Detective Pikachu and the recent Sonic movies have all demonstrated that, with the right production and intentions, a video game can in fact translate to excellent movies and television. Even leaks from the set of the upcoming Fallout TV show reveal a surprising level of authenticity. Given that The Last of Us games already aspired toward cinematic flair, perhaps it’s not surprising that, at least from the 20 or so seconds we’ve seen, that much of the tone seems to translate over well.
It should be noted that The Last of Us has very clear connections to the world of film and literature. The original game is very reminiscent of the 2009 film The Road, which itself was an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel bearing the same name. And post apocalyptic settings are no stranger to memorable television and film, whether that’s the better seasons of AMC’s The Walking Dead or 2007’s remake of I Am Legend, to name two examples.
What really seems to set The Last of Us’ television adaptation apart is just how literal of an adaptation it appears to be. It almost looks like some hyper-advanced AI must’ve translated the original game directly into a tv show, or something.
Read More: First Footage From The Last Of Us TV Show Released
While I’m a fan of many of the actors in this production, seeing this in action is sure to stir conversation about what happens when a video game is remade into a television show so closely as to be almost indistinguishable from the original. While I would argue that Paramount’s adaptation of Halo was spiritually in tune with much of the source material, that show deviated wildly from the events of the game as it was set in a parallel universe, and arguably struggled to win over many fans because of it.
Most adaptations have to take creative liberties, as some experiences don’t translate well to different mediums. HBO’s The Last of Us, however, might reveal that the standard way of loosely adapting video games might not be necessary when the original material is so strong.
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