Craig Mazin, who created the critically acclaimed limited series Chernobyl for HBO, will write and executive produce the adaptation with Neil Druckmann, the writer and creative director of the game. Carolyn Strauss will also executive produce alongside Evan Wells, the president of the game developer, Naughty Dog.
It’s rare that networks work so closely with game developers on adaptations but with Druckmann and Wells’ prominent positions, it may bode well for the series. It certainly bodes well for PlayStation Productions, which scores its first television series while giving game developers a significant voice in the production process. Sony Pictures Television will also produce the series.
Sony and Naughty Dog launched The Last of Us in 2013, garnering significant critical praise for its story-telling and immersive gameplay. The game won numerous awards and went on to sell more than 17 million copies of the original version for PlayStation 3 and the remastered version on PlayStation 4.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a smuggler named Joel meets a teenager named Ellie, who may hold the key to cure a deadly pandemic that has spread across the planet. Joel must smuggle the girl out of an oppressive quarantine zone, across the wreckage of what was once the continental United States in a last-ditch effort to save humanity.
The HBO series will cover the events of the original game, which was written by Druckmann. The series may also feature additional content from the upcoming, highly anticipated sequel, The Last of Us Part II, which is due out on May 29, 2020. It’s unclear how the series and game will influence or intertwine with the events of one another, if at all.
Mazin is an avid player of the game and felt Druckmann’s involvement was crucial to the series. “Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus,” he said. “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.”
Chris Parnell, co-president of Sony Pictures Television Studios, teased that The Last of Us is just the beginning of the video game adaptations to come. “This is the first of many shows we intend to develop with our friends at PlayStation Productions,” he explained. “The Last of Us is a brilliant achievement in storytelling and character development, and we are lucky to have the opportunity to work with this team to adapt it.”
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