The Last of Us creators tease more “action & infected” in Season 2 amid criticism

The Last of Us Part 2 gameplayNaughty Dog

The Last of Us showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have addressed criticism over a supposed lack of action and infected appearances in Season 1, teasing “a lot more” of both to come in the second batch of episodes.

With episode nine now out in the wild, the first season of HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation is now complete. Having been met with resounding critical acclaim and staggering viewership that only continued to grow week over week, it’s clear millions around the globe are now anxiously awaiting the second season.

With Season 2 officially going ahead, fans of the games will know what to expect. But for those not familiar with the source material, showrunners Mazin and Druckmann have teased an explosive follow-up with a more significant threat posed by the infected.

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As for the first season, while the undead horde certainly had their moments, the emphasis was largely on human relationships, both between Joel and Ellie and the supporting cast reflecting the protagonists in various ways. However, this focus came at a cost of more action-packed sequences fans enjoyed in the original game.

The Last of Us TV show clickerHBO
Although various infected appeared in Season 1, their impact was limited, especially in the second half of the run.

“Ultimately, we generally stressed the power of relationships and trying to find significance within moments of action,” Mazin said during a recent press conference for the show, one attended by Variety. Admitting there “may be less action than some people wanted,” he argued every scene that made it into the show had to justify its inclusion in one way or another. For most action-heavy scenes, it simply didn’t add up in that sense.

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“[There was] concern that it would be repetitive,” he explained. “After all, you’re not playing it, you’re watching it. And although a lot of people do like to watch gameplay, it needs to be a little more focused and purposeful when we’re putting it on TV.”

“Part of the adaptation process is trying to figure out how to take source material that was built around gameplay, and port it over to a medium that is passive,” Mazin continued. “A lot of the gameplay is centered on [non-playable characters] that you have to get around, avoid, stealth kill or just confront head-on. The NPCs were either raiders, cannibals, FEDRA, or the infected. So there’s a lot of fighting. I don’t know what your ultimate kill count is on a typical run of ‘The Last of Us,’ but it’s in the triple digits for sure.”

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Speaking to that kill count, Druckmann chimed in stating “It’s much higher” in the game than “we would want for the show. “If an action scene doesn’t move character, and it was only there for spectacle, it was an easy cut for us.”

The Last of Us TV show infectedHBO
We saw multiple types of infected in Season 1, but the next batch of episodes looks to be ramping things up in a big way.

When it comes to the second season, however, it appears the justification for more action-oriented scenes is there. In fact, both showrunners teased not only “a lot more infected” to come, but also “different kinds” we’re yet to see get the live-action recreation.

Without giving anything specific away here, we do know for certain The Last of Us Part 2 introduces a number of new enemy types, meaning we could see a range of powerful infected jump to the silver screen in Season 2.

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