The Last of Us is heading to the big screen, although screenwriter Neil Druckmann has suggested the film will be ‘quite different’ from the game.
One of the biggest, most cinematic and critically acclaimed games in recent memories, The Last of Us is being converted into a film, with some of the game’s uniqueness seemingly at risk from rewrites in the transformation process.
“In two hours you can't tell the same kind of story that you can in a game like The Last of Us, which is 15 hours,” Neil Druckmann, screenwriter on The Last of Us film and creative director on the game said.
Speaking with MCV he added: “I'm in the middle of it now, and it's been super difficult because there's so much that happens in The Last of Us – even just in the cinematics – that can't fit in a film, let alone all the gameplay in-between and dialogue.”
Set to be directed by Spider-Man filmmaker Sam Raimi, The Last of Us film will still focus on the core relationship between the game’s lead protagonists Joel and Ellie. Beyond this however, Druckmann has suggested the film could be a very different entity to the game.
“It almost has this novel quality as far as how much content there is,” he said. “And a film works really well when it's laser-focused, so the first part of it was like: well, what is this story really about? It's clearly about Joel and Ellie. What are the most important beats that we can't lose? Start with those, and cut everything else out.
“It's been really difficult to cut certain things out, but what I'm starting to get this is really focused narrative that's about these two characters. Some parts will be similar to the game and some parts will be quite different, but it's kind of interesting in helping me understand this other medium and its strengths compared to video games.”
A number of games have already been converted into films, with many more currently in the works. Druckmann has suggested that the boundaries between the two formats are constantly narrowing.
“Different mediums have different strengths, and games just have this bad perception that they're slowly overcoming. One of the kind of things I'm trying to do is promote the idea that games are this compelling narrative form, just as strong as any of these other mediums.”
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