HBO and Craig Mazin, creator of the hit historical limited series Chernobyl, are teaming up to bring The Last of Us to television. The Last of Us, created by Naughty Dog, has been a cornerstone exclusive of Sony’s PlayStation systems since its debut in 2013 and has since received 78 nominations of which it won 53 in categories ranging from outstanding sound design to best storytelling. The Last of Us told the story of Joel, a smuggler, as he escorts Ellie across the post-apocalyptic American landscape. Together, they must combat hostile humans and a host of mushroom-infected zombies. The sequel, The Last of Us: Part II is set to release this May.
According to The Hollywood Reporter Neil Druckmann, the writer and creator of the game, will be heavily involved in the series as an executive producer and will work with Mazin to bring the series to life. Carolyn Strauss, known for her role in the executive production of Game of Thrones and Chernobyl, will also be executive producing alongside Naughty Dog President Evan Wells. The production of the series will be a collaboration between HBO, Sony Pictures Television, and the newly christened Playstation Productions (Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Film and TV group). This will be Playstation Productions’ first television series.
In a statement from Mazin to The Hollywood Reporter, he stated, “Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus. Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years and I’m honored to do it in partnership with Neil.” Mazin is said to be an avid fan of the original game.
Mazin’s last television project, Chernobyl, dramatized the story of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster including the heroic efforts of the response team. The limited series was primarily based upon accounts from the recollections of Pripyat locals collected by Svetlana Alexievich in her book Voices from Chernobyl. The series won an Emmy for outstanding limited series as well as for outstanding writing.
A Last of Us movie had previously been in the works with Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures, however, the project had stalled due to a disagreement with Druckmann over the direction of the film.
Sony Pictures Television is planning on delivering several more game adaptations. According to Chris Parnell, the Co-President of Sony Pictures Television, “This is the first of many shows we intend to develop with our friends at PlayStation Productions.”
This new wave of video game-based content could mark a new future for the medium. In the past, video game movies were seen as a nigh impossible feat. However, with the recent success of the Sonic movie and Detective Pikachu, traditional media seems to be opening up to the idea, especially with the recent announcement of the production of a Borderlands movie.
The series intends to cover the events of the original game, however, there is a possibility of including content from the upcoming sequel to the game. So far, no casting or production information has been released.