Unlike different exhibits of comparable scope and pedigree, HBO’s upcoming video game-inspired collection The Last of Us won’t overstay its welcome. Speaking at a current press day, present creators, writers, and producers Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann (Uncharted) revealed that the present, which debuts January 15, is very unlikely to go longer than three seasons.
“The first season is the events of the first game—and you can tell, if you have played the game, from watching the marketing materials that we’re also covering the events of the Left Behind [downloadable content],” Mazin stated. “I think that the amount of story that remains that we have not covered would be more than a season of television. So assuming we can keep going forward, the idea would be to do more than just one more season. But this isn’t the kind of show that is going to be seven seasons.”
Mazin is referring to The Last of Us Part II, launched in 2020, seven years after the unique recreation. Both releases observe the lives of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey); within the first recreation, they traverse a zombie-infested United States for an opportunity to save lots of the world. In the second recreation, the pair take care of the fallout from that journey. The implication right here is Mazin needs to inform that over two seasons. So, season one is recreation one and seasons two and three are recreation two. The story is all on the market for anybody to examine or play, a reality Mazin stated they took full benefit of in crafting the present.
“We have the benefit of something that Neil didn’t have when he was making the game initially, which was knowing what the Left Behind DLC was and knowing where the second game goes and understanding a little bit more about the fuller context,” Mazin stated. “So we certainly took advantage of understanding that fuller context when we plotted out this season.”
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Mazin could be very clear, although. For him, The Last of Us is the 2 video games and the DLC. That’s it. And although followers have actually questioned if Druckmann was engaged on half three, or if he might present main future story beats a la George R.R. Martin and Game of Thrones, it appears none of that’s within the playing cards ought to the present attain the tip of the second recreation.
“Unless some miraculous thing happened and the video game production was accelerated by 1000% and the third game magically came out,” Mazin stated by means of a match of laughter, “I am not interested in going beyond the existing source material. As a viewer, I have no problem watching shows that just keep going and going and going. No problem. But as a writer, I don’t want to be in the position of spinning plates to just spool out season after season of stuff. To me, it’s important that things are purposeful, and if they’re purposeful, that means they have endings. That means everything you do is carefully selected and chosen, not just there to keep going.”
That doesn’t imply, nevertheless, that the present will likely be a 1:1 adaptation. The first season provides many layers to the established online game story. Certain characters are expanded, some large mysteries are revealed, and so forth. All of which occurs solely when Mazin and Druckmann suppose it serves the present.
“Every potential change that we discussed, we would discuss not only on its own merits for the moment and the episode it’s in, the reasons it’s being proposed, but Neil, in particular, would always be careful to say, ‘Okay, let’s talk about what this means going forward,’” Mazin stated. “’What are the impacts of this choice that we make and how do we carry it forward and be true to that?’ And, Neil’s philosophy generally was if we were going to change something, it had to be better. There had to be a great reason for it.”
So what adjustments are Mazin speaking about particularly? He didn’t say however did provide some hints. “I would ask a lot of pesky questions of Neil to try and become as much of an expert on that world as he was. Questions of things that weren’t in the game like, okay, what happened between the outbreak and the time we catch up with FEDRA [Federal Disaster Response Agency] in the QZ [Quarantine Zone]? How did FEDRA become FEDRA? Why FEDRA? How are they run now? Ellie is in FEDRA school? What is that like? What is the purpose? All of these questions.”
Some of these solutions even got here from recreation improvement that by no means made it into the sport. “Every now and then I would mine this thing that had been kind of in the substrate of [game developer] Naughty Dog,” Mazin stated. “This idea that had not been able to get into the game or maybe it wasn’t right for the game, and that would get me so excited. And I would say ‘It’s mine mine mine mine! Give it to me!’ And we run with some of those and there are some of my favorite moments.”
With the primary season encompassing the primary recreation (and DLC) of the collection, followers can already start to think about what their favourite moments may seem like. But there’s no assure a second season occurs. Or, if it does, a 3rd which might full the story of the second recreation. Thankfully, Druckmann says that uncertainty has been constructed into the franchise from the very starting.
“When we build the games, every single time we did it, it was with the mindset like the story might end here. There might never be an opportunity to do a sequel,” Druckmann stated. “So this has to be a strong enough ending, not a cliffhanger just waiting for more story to unfold. It’s like ‘This is the end.’ And when we did part two, approached it the same exact way, as if there might never be a part three. So this has to work as an ending. And I’ll leave it at that.”
So even when season one is the tip, or season two or season three, Mazin feels that The Last of Us could have a definitive ending. One which, hopefully, will give it that rather more impression.
“I think every episode should deserve your eyeballs,” he stated. “I don’t like filler, I don’t like stretching. I want everything to be as compelling as possible. Concision still matters, especially in a world where streamers tend to give creators so much flexibility that they sometimes indulge a little bit. And you get very long episodes and seasons that are too long and I hate that. So I just want to make sure that if someone sits down to watch an episode of The Last of Us, it’s awesome every single time.”
The nine-episode first season of The Last of Us begins January 15 on HBO.
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