(Photo courtesy of Dextero) “The Last of Us” has done an amazing job at adapting scenes directly from the game.
Video game adaptations are infamous for their lack of faith to their source material and overall low quality, but to the surprise of many, the adaptation of developer Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” began with a jaw-dropping debut. The new show dropped on January 15th on HBO Max with an hour and a half long first episode that shocked and impressed.
The beginning of the main story begins 20 years after the beginning of a global pandemic that triggers the collapse of almost all human civilization on Earth. A fungus, a form of cordyceps, caused the global catastrophe after it evolved to take over the minds of humans and turns them into bloodthirsty, vicious zombies.
Joel Miller, played by Pedro Pascal, is the one of the protagonists of the show. He finds himself working his life away doing menial work in the Boston Quarantine Zone run by the Federal Disaster Response Agency, a branch of the US government that seized control and declared martial law. Him and his friend Tess, played by Anna Torv, take a job helping an insurgent group transport a child named Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey. Unbeknownst to them, Ellie may hold the key to saving humanity and it may be up to them to protect and deliver her to her destination.
“The Last of Us” was released 10 years ago, in June 2013, as one of the early titles on the new Playstation4 by Naughty Dog Studios. Naughty Dog had been previously known for games like “Crash Bandicoot” and the “Uncharted” series; lighthearted action games were their specialty. “The Last of Us” was a massive tonal change for the studio, switching to a story-driven game with profound moral dilemmas and masterful storytelling. Upon release the game received boundless praise from critics and gamers alike, who found the game’s presentation, gameplay, and story to be beautiful and immersive. The game went on to become one of the most popular games of the platform, influencing countless games across many genres. “The Last of Us” and its sequel, “The Last of Us: Part 2” won several awards, including Game of The Year.
The internet had great amounts of skepticism towards this new show. The writers changed a few aspects from the video game, which concerned many fans of the original story. The race of the people cast in lead roles became a controversy, with backlash regarding authenticity and politics online. Joel Miller and his daughter’s races have been changed in the show; Pedro Pascal is Chilean and Nico Parker is African American. Their performances make-up for any slight inaccuracy through the amazing debuts. Their immersive performances touched and crushed, captivating audiences.
The way in which the fungus spreads has also changed, getting rid of the spores, but cleverly writing in a new detail. Several scenes from the show were ripped directly from cutscenes and in-game dialogue gracefully. The faithful execution made for an authentic and engrossing experience for those familiar with the game and not. The writing team showed their respect for the source material and the fans in this masterclass of video game-adaptation.
“The Last of Us” currently has three episodes available for streaming. New episodes air Sundays 9:00 PM EST on HBO and HBO Max.