The HBO show Last of Us will reduce the game’s graphic violence

“When we reveal the infected and the clickers, you get to see what brought humanity down and why everyone is so scared,” said game creator Neil Druckmann.

The 2013 game The Last of Us is not for the faint of heart. Naughty Dog’s acclaimed action-adventure game features gruesome and extremely violent scenes as protagonists Joel and Ellie explore the apocalyptic remnants of the United States and engage in bloody battles with infected monsters and militant humans. Now the show is coming to TV in a big-budget HBO adaptation – but in an ironic twist for the premium cable channel, that bloodshed is being massively scaled back, according to game creator and showrunner Neil Druckmann.

In an interview with gaming magazine SFX Magazine (via player radar), Druckmann explained that the violence of the original should help audiences connect with the player character Joel, as they guide him through a variety of visceral situations.

“We need some level of action or violence that we can use for mechanics so you can connect with Joel and get into a flow state,” Druckmann said. “Then you really feel like you’re connected to that avatar on screen and you’re seeing the world through their eyes.”

In transitioning from interactive media to television, Druckmann said that his co-creator Craig Mazin and HBO spoke to him very early on about toning down the show’s graphic violence, saying, “Let’s eliminate all violence, down to the essentials.” Druckmann said he loves the idea as he feels it adds a lot more weight to the violence on the show.

“It allowed the violence to be even more impactful than it was in the game, because if you keep showing the threat and seeing how people react to a threat, it gets even more sinister,” Druckmann said. “And when we reveal the infected and the clickers, you’ll see what brought humanity down and why everyone is so scared.”

The Last of Us premieres January 15 on HBO. Game of Thrones actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey join the series as Joel and Ellie, while Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, who played the characters in the original games, reprise roles. Other cast members include Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Merle Dandridge, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman, Melanie Lynskey and Storm Reid.

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Lindsay Lowe

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