The Perfect Enemy | The Last of Us: Did COVID-19 pandemic influence the post-apocalyptic video game adaptation? - WION
February 3, 2023

The Last of Us: Did COVID-19 pandemic influence the post-apocalyptic video game adaptation? – WION

The Last of Us: Did COVID-19 pandemic influence the post-apocalyptic video game adaptation?  WION

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When the Insider media outlet questioned the show’s creators, Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, in December via Zoom about why the timeline of the show begins in 2003 rather than 2013, as it does in the game, Mazin said that he had suggested the change. When Mazin is watching a show that takes place 20 years in the future from the time he is viewing it, it just appears less genuine, he claimed. He claimed that doing it makes him feel less connected. He continued by saying that it oddly did provide them a chance to study the intriguing early 2000s era because it had its own design and technology. It was an unusual area to freeze the planet, according to Mazin, and it helped give the world a little bit more of a historical sense.

The series’ has similarities to COVID-19 in the pilot and early episodes. The show is based on a mutant fungus that infects and zombifies humans, causing a pandemic and the show investigates the roots of the outbreak. Although COVID-19 triggered lockdowns throughout the world when the series was initially revealed in March 2020, Druckmann, who also made the popular PlayStation and Naughty Dog game, told Insider that COVID-19 barely changed the series. The influenza epidemic of 1918 served as a major inspiration for the original The Last of Us game.

Druckmann’s analysis of how COVID-19 influenced the development of the series showed that not much had changed. Prior to the pandemic, according to Druckmann, Druckmann and Craig had been meeting on a fairly frequent basis. When Craig would visit Naughty Dog, they would discuss for hours about the show, the game’s plot, each individual character, their relationships, the locales, and the various factions. What do we wish to retain? What do we want to get rid of? These were some of the talks the duo had. 

The Spanish virus and how people responded and how they in some ways became xenophobic and locked off their tribes were a major focus of the study, he continued. Therefore, he said he thinks the reason it feels so genuine is that they have already lived it as part of their past. Druckmann added that the HBO adaptation’s goal was not to emphasise the current outbreak. With Ellie, who appears resistant to the virus, throughout the country, the series explores the potential of discovering a genuine treatment for the fungal infestation. The programme focuses on the surreal friendship that develops between the two throughout the course of their adventure. 

Druckmann said it became important to them actually not to comment on the modern outbreak too much because they did not want to make a Covid-19 show. He said that ultimately, this is a show that’s post-pandemic. “The pandemic itself is a part of the show, and then we deal with 20 years after that,” Druckmann said.

“How are people are dealing with this new reality? And people that are born after this outbreak? Ellie is an example of that. She doesn’t know the world from before. All she knows is this world. And Joel is one of the few people that are slowly dying off in this world that straddles this line. He knows enough to miss it, to be nostalgic for it, or to be sad about what’s no longer there.”