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The Last of Us is “the greatest story” in games, says series creator

One of the creators on the upcoming HBO Last of Us series, Craig Mazin, has opened up on his thoughts on the story of the hit video game

Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us series

When it comes to video game adaptations, there is always some concerns among fans. Video game movies and TV series based on their stories don’t have the best track record. However, HBO Max’s upcoming thriller series, The Last of Us, may be one of those quality gems that break expectations thanks to its script.

Naughty Dog’s hit survival game The Last of Us is being adapted for the small screen, with game writer/director Neil Druckmann and Chernobyl showrunner Craig Mazin teaming up to bring the post-apocalyptic world to life. And while lots of video game takes, struggle to expand an in-depth narrative to compensate for the missing gameplay experience, the HBO crew is confident that The Last of Us has enough substance to make TV history.

“It’s an open-and-shut case: this is the greatest story that has ever been told in video games,” Mazin explained to Empire during its new issue of the Greatest Actors.

The story of The Last of Us follows the smuggler Joel (Pedro Pascal) and the young girl Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they traverse through a post-apocalyptic USA that is filled with fungus-like zombies named Clickers in hope of a cure. Metacritic and GameRankings’ revealed that The Last of Us was the second-highest-rated game for the year 2013, and many still consider it one of the best games ever made.

“They didn’t shoot anything out of their eyeballs,” Mazin added, explaining what made the game so successful. “They were just people. And that, in and of itself, is remarkably rare in games. The fact that they kept it so grounded, and really made you feel – I had never experienced anything like it, and I’ve been playing video games since 1977.”

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However, while The Last of Us already has a stellar story, the fact remains that it is a game, and that the landscape of TV series is vastly different. Gameplay mechanics, stealthy sequences escaping clickers, and all the hours of exploration have to be replaced in the new format. A task that the showrunners of the upcoming HBO sci-fi series are up for.

“Games themselves are often brilliant to play, and not at all brilliant to watch when dramatised,” Mazin said. “Neil and I always knew to ask, ‘Why are we only doing what’s in the game? What can we do to expand?'”

The Last of Us hits HBO on January 15 2023, in the US and on January 16, in the UK on Sky. If you want to know what we thought of the show, check out our The Last of Us TV series review. We’ve also got an article breaking down The Last of Us cast, so you can learn who’s playing your favourite The Last of Us characters. Read it quickly before the infected come.

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