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Even though it’s on HBO, The Last of Us will be nowhere as violent as the game

Pedro Pascal stars as Joel in Season 1 of HBO's The Last of Us
Pedro Pascal stars as Joel in Season 1 of The Last of Us. Pic credit: HBO/Liane Hentscher

Gaming fans of The Last of Us are eagerly awaiting HBO’s adaptation which is set to drop on January 15.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the new series focuses on Joel (portrayed by Pedro Pascal in the TV adaptation) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they traverse the dangerous landscape.

HBO has supplied the following synopsis for this new TV show.

“The Last of Us takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal and heartbreaking journey as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.”

Now that the network has also released a couple of trailers, fans of the original game are already starting to compare the two.

However, even though the series will air on HBO, it turns out it will not be as violent as the original game.

Key artwork for Season 1 of HBO's The Last of Us featuring Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel.
Key artwork for Season 1 of The Last of Us featuring Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel. Pic credit: HBO

HBO’s The Last of Us will not be as graphic as the game

The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann recently spoke about what to expect in the TV version.

Considering the new show will premiere its first nine-episode HBO season, it turns out they dialed back the violence.

According to Collider, Druckmann revealed that even though the Last of Us video game has very graphic and gory visuals, this would not be the case for the HBO show. Instead, only key elements of violence would be displayed to set the scene and develop a connection between the audience and the characters.

“We need a certain amount of action, or violence, that we could use for mechanics so you could connect with Joel and get into a flow state,” Druckmann said. “Then you would really feel like you’re connected with this on-screen avatar, and you’re seeing the world through his eyes.”

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Bella, as seen in Season 1 of HBO's The Last of Us.
Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Bella, as seen in Season 1 of The Last of Us. Pic credit: HBO

Less violence will mean more impact in The Last of Us

By scaling back the gory scenes, the series co-creator believes it will lead to more of an impact on viewers.

“One of the things that I loved hearing from [co-creator Craig Mazin] and HBO very early on was, ‘Let’s take out all the violence except for the very essential,’” Druckmann explained.

“That allowed the violence to have even more impact than in the game because when you hold on showing the threat and you’re seeing people’s reaction to a threat, that makes it scarier. And when we do reveal the infected and the Clickers, you get to see what brought down humanity and why everyone is so scared.”

As for whether or not this is the case remains to be seen, and viewers will have to decide for themselves once the new series drops on HBO Max.

The Last of Us will premiere on HBO Max on January 15.

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