The Last of Us is set to end the video game adaptation curse bolstered by the Doom and Assassin’s Creed movies – but the root of their failure is pretty simple, according to the show’s creator.
It’s one of the longest-running curses (and jokes) in pop culture: video game movies are a disaster waiting to happen, whether it’s Hitman, Max Payne, Alone in the Dark, or Super Mario Bros.
Yet, there have been a few bright spots: Silent Hill (but definitely not its sequel), Detective Pikachu, Mortal Kombat, Sonic the Hedgehog, and for all their trashiness, the Resident Evil movies with Milla Jovovich.
The Last of Us is different: it’s a prestige TV show on HBO with a starry cast and high production values, and it may be the first true success in the genre.
The Last of Us creator on Doom and Assassin’s Creed movies
In an interview with The New Yorker, Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann said The Last of Us “will be the best, most authentic game adaptation”, but the show’s co-creator Craig Mazin said: “That’s not the highest bar in the world.”
“I cheated – I just took the one with the best story. Like, I love Assassin’s Creed. But when they announced that they were gonna make it as a movie I was, like, I don’t know how! Because the joy of it is the gameplay. The story is impenetrable,” he added.
Druckmann has a theory about why there have been so many blunders. “The other thing that people get wrong is that they think people want to see the gameplay onscreen,” he said.
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He cited 2005’s Doom, a dreadful sci-fi action movie with Dwayne Johnson based on the iconic FPS, which featured a standout first-person sequence in an effort to emulate the experience of the game.
“Doom is also a perfect example of something that you don’t actually need to adapt. There’s nothing there that you can’t generate on your own,” Mazin said.
“If what the property is giving you is a name and a built-in thing, you’re basically setting yourself up for disaster, because the fans will be, like, ‘Where’s my f*cking thing?’ and everybody else will be, like, ‘What’s Doom?’ And then you’re in trouble.”
The Last of Us will premiere on January 15, 2023. You can read more about the show here.