According to Neil Druckmann, the HBO adaptation of The Last Of Us will directly lift dialogue from the original game, while some episodes will “deviate greatly” from Naughty Dog’s source material. In an interview with IGN during SXSW 2021, Druckmann, the game director for the franchise, detailed the process of adapting the game for television with Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin.
Druckmann and Mazin agreed that “the philosophical underpinnings of the story” were a crucial component to get right with the adaptation. “Some of my favorite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can’t wait for people to see them.”
“As far as the superficial things, like should [a character] wear the same plaid shirt or the same red shirt? They might or might not appear in it, that’s way less important to us than getting the core of who these people are and the core of their journey.”
As for the dialogue, Druckmann confirmed that the adaptation would “stay pretty close” to the source material. “It’s funny to see my dialogue there from the games in HBO scripts. And sometimes they deviate greatly to much better effect because we are dealing with a different medium,” he added.
Game mechanics are a fundamental aspect within Naughty Dog’s post-pandemic titles, but less vital within a TV medium. Druckmann explains that “you have to have to train the player about mechanics. You have to have more violence and more spectacle to some degree than you would need on a TV show because you don’t need to train people on how to use a gun.”
Druckmann later teased: “I just saw the first prosthetic test for the Clicker and it’s awesome. It’s so rad to see this thing come to physical life".