The Last of Us TV show boss calls it ‘the biggest story ever’ at play

Joel from the show stares off into the distance inside a building.

Joel (Pedro Pascal) from the upcoming HBO adaptation of The last of us.
Screenshot: HBO / Sony

In a recent interview, The last of us show runner Craig Mazin said that the original game contained the “greatest story ever told” in the history of video games. Not only is this statement silly, but it also continues this strange pattern of people trying to rewrite history to make Naughty Dog’s original PS3 adventure one of the most important pieces of interactive art ever created, even though it’s completely unnecessary to do it.

I am not a successful Hollywood writer or producer. (At least not yet!) But still, I have two pieces of advice for anyone in the industry. Number one: Treat the people you work with with kindness and respect. Number two: Don’t claim that the movie or show you’re working on or adapting is “the greatest thing ever.” It will always end badly for you. Yet that is exactly what The last of us showrunner Mazin, best known for his work on the 2019 series Chernobyldid in a recent interview with empire around upcoming post-apocalyptic HBO show.

“It’s an open-and-shut case: this is the greatest story ever told in video games,” Mazin said in the soon-to-be-released February 2023 issue of the magazine. For Mazin – who co-runs the show with the original game’s writer Neil Druckmann – the reason this is the best story ever told in a game is because of how grounded it is.

“They weren’t shooting anything out of their eyeballs. They were just people,” Mazin explained. “And that, in and of itself, is remarkably rare in games. The fact that they kept it so grounded, and really made you feel — I’d never experienced anything like that, and I’ve been playing video games since 1977.”

HBO / Sony

Ignoring the fact that there have been plenty of grounded games released in the last decade—many of which didn’t feature spore-covered zombies or protagonists gunning down armies of nameless thugs—Mazin’s comment sounds desperate. It seems like an attempt to lift The last of us above other games, suggesting that this dark, gritty tale of survival is “art” and most other games aren’t even close. It almost feels like Mazin is worried that people won’t give The Last of us a chance, and so he’s trying to oversell its narrative to convince people that this latest prestige TV is worth watching, even if it’s based on a video game.

It also continues this strange trend of people trying to contort themselves The last of us to something bigger, more significant than it really is. Let’s be clear here: I like both The last of us and its successor. I think they are a bit too long and the combat isn’t always fun, but I enjoy the stories told in these games. I like these characters a lot. But Mazin and others don’t seem satisfied The last of us just being good. (And they are good games!) Instead, these games must be elevated far above almost every other game being released. The last of us can’t just be a great game with a great cast. no it is literally the greatest story ever told in a video game. It’s all so stupid and pointless.

It’s stupid because… really? I don’t need to tell you that most people will take care of the statement that anything is the largest ever. And it’s pointless because The last of us doesn’t have to be the best story ever told in video game history to warrant a TV show adaptation. It’s a well-written tale of found family and survival that I think many people can relate to, and I’m genuinely curious to see how Mazin is able to translate that to the small screen, while I also expands it. We don’t need to be told it’s the best thing since sliced ​​bread. Just make something you love and tell this popular story in a way that feels right to you as a director and showrunner. That’s more than enough. I promise.

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