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HBO’s The Last Of Us has the potential to be something really magnificent

HBO’s The Last Of Us has the potential to be something really magnificent

Video game adaptations don't have the greatest of reputations, but HBO's The Last of Us looks set to change that.

If you ventured onto the internet last Saturday, you were probably hit with a whole lot of chatter about the brand new The Last of Us trailer released by HBO. If you’ve read any The Last of Us related content on GAMINGbible before, chances are you’ve heard me raving about the franchise. It’s what I was born to do, so naturally I have a few thoughts to share on the trailer which, in the space of just two minutes, has already succeeded where so many other video game adaptations have failed.

As a major fan, my expectations for this show are high. Even still, I know how video game adaptations often turn out so trust me, I’ve tried to reign those expectations in. I can safely say though that I truly believe The Last of Us could soon become the most successful video game adaptation of all time. From the casting to the approach taken by showrunner Craig Mazin, this is a series that’s poised for success - and I’ll tell you why.

You may as well watch the trailer again. Take a look below.

There have been so many dire video game adaptations over the years - and those that escaped being dire were bang average. Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed were tolerable, but the Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat films leave a lot to be desired. Halo also went off the rails, you get the idea. The problem is, adaptations typically try too hard to emulate gameplay which simply doesn’t work well when it comes to TV and film. When playing a game, we’re active participants but watching film or TV is a passive activity. That loss of agency has to be compensated for in an adaptation.

From what we’ve seen so far, The Last of Us seems to recognise this. Producer and showrunner Craig Mazin has been quite vocal about the fact that it was The Last of Us’ story that appealed to him most and likewise, franchise creator Neil Druckmann said previous attempts to adapt the game were shut down because studios were trying too hard to emulate big action set pieces. The trailer confirms what many of us suspected. The Last of Us will have its fair share of action, but the project is being enhanced and enriched by additional storytelling - and meaningful storytelling at that.

It doesn’t look like we’re set to get cheap thrills (See: Master Cheeks). Instead, the series is taking the time to show us Ellie’s backstory with her mum - a topic that we’re interested in but didn’t fit with the pacing of the video game. The Hunters have been given a leader, Kathleen, and suddenly, a bunch of nameless NPCs become a ruthless revolutionary group with a story to tell.

The Last of Us /

There’s no denying that us video game fans love to see a level of accuracy when it comes to adaptations, and The Last of Us’ trailer seems to strike the perfect balance between providing us with that familiarity while also offering us something new. From the sight of that bloater, to Merle Dandrige’s reprisal of the role of Marlene, or even hearing Pedro say “You have no idea what loss is,” the teasers have so far left us feeling like we’re in safe hands. I trust that any departures and differences are for the bettering of the story - and that’s how adaptations should be approached both via fans and creators … with an open mind.

Pinpoint accuracy will never result in a good adaptation. Bella Ramsey may not look exactly like Ellie, but it doesn’t need to be pointed out. It’s already clear to see why she was cast in the role. Bella perfectly captures Ellie’s fearlessness and verve - that’s what matters. It goes without saying that we won’t truly know if The Last of Us lives up to the hype until 15 January but from what we’ve seen so far, I have a good feeling that it's going to impress fans both old and new.

Featured Image Credit: HBO

Topics: The Last Of Us, Naughty Dog, TV And Film, Opinion