The show will cover the events of the first game, which swept Game of the Year awards when it was released in 2013 for the PlayStation 3. An HBO statement said the show has “the possibility of additional content” based on The Last Of Us Part II for the PlayStation 4, releasing May 29.
“From the first time I sat down to talk with Craig I was equally blown away by his approach to narrative and his love and deep understanding of The Last of Us,” said Druckmann in a statement. “With ‘Chernobyl,’ Craig and HBO created a tense, harrowing, emotional masterpiece. I couldn’t think of better partners to bring the story of The Last of Us to life as a television show.”
Druckmann and Mazin will write and work as executive producers, along with Carolyn Strauss (“Game of Thrones”) and Evan Wells (president of Naughty Dog, the game’s developer).
This is the first TV show under a new PlayStation Productions studio and made in partnership with Sony Pictures Television Studios.
“This is the first of many shows we intend to develop with our friends at PlayStation Productions,” said Chris Parnell, co-president of Sony Pictures Television, in a statement.
The Last of Us was a milestone in video game storytelling. It tells the story of two zombie outbreak survivors, Joel and a young girl named Ellie, trekking across America. While much of it seems like a standard “The Walking Dead”-style zombie story, the game was notable for a crafting a believable, touching and complicated relationship between its two lead characters and the world in ruin. Its morally ambiguous ending continues to haunt players who finished the journey.
That’s why pairing it with the creator of “Chernobyl” seems like a perfect fit. Mazin won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special. Druckmann, meanwhile, is a three-time winner of the Writers Guild of America Award for Achievement in Video Game Writing. The Last of Us also won Best Game from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.
The game already had the writing and acting of a prestige television program. The Last of Us was even adapted into a stage play, if only for one night.
Netflix’s “The Witcher” series highlighted how shows based in part on video game franchises could succeed on the smaller screen. According to Netflix’s internal figures, 76 million Netflix accounts tuned in within the show’s first month, making “The Witcher” Netflix’s second-most watched program of 2019, despite the fact it was released in December.