All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.


Games generally haven’t made a successful transition to movie theaters. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a handful that actually made the grade.

The movie project based on acclaimed PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 survival-horror adventure game The Last of Us may buck the trend, but it’s going to need to lose some fat along the way, according to writer Neil Druckmann.

“In two hours you can’t tell the same kind of story that you can in a game like The Last of Us, which is 15 hours,” Druckmann, who was also writer and creative director for the game, told trade magazine MCV.

Druckmann said there’s just too much in-game content to make the cut in the movie, which was officially announced at San Diego Comic-Con last month. “I’m in the middle of it now,” he said, “and it’s been super difficult because there’s so much that happens in The Last of Us – even just in the cinematics – that can’t fit in a film, let alone all the gameplay in-between and dialogue.”

Webinar

Three top investment pros open up about what it takes to get your video game funded.

Watch On Demand

The movie, which has The Evil Dead and Spider-Man director Sam Raimi at the production helm, will keep the core relationship between the game’s two protagonists, Ellie and Joel, but beyond that it may differ significantly from its source material.

“What is this story really about?” asked Druckmann. “It’s clearly about Joel and Ellie. What are the most important beats that we can’t lose? Start with those, and cut everything else out.”

Druckmann said that the game “almost has this novel quality as far as how much content there is, and a film works really well when it’s laser-focused.”

Maisie Williams is a potential Ellie in the movie version of The Last of Us

Above: Maisie Williams is a potential Ellie in the movie version of The Last of Us

Reducing the story to its core elements clearly hasn’t been easy for Druckmann, who is more used to working on the long-form medium of video games.

“It’s been really difficult to cut certain things out,” he said, “but what I’m starting to get is this really focused narrative that’s about these two characters. Some parts will be similar to the game and some parts will be quite different, but it’s kind of interesting in helping me understand this other medium and its strengths compared to video games.”

The Last of Us doesn’t have a release date yet, but the production team is openly pursuing Maisie Williams, better known as Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, as a potential Ellie.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
Become a member