The Last of Us plot and writing work are a revelation and a clear sign once again that videogame writing can hold up to massive scrutiny. I mean, we in the videogame industry have always held it in high esteem because it’s a monumental work that IGN called “a masterpiece.” Edge dubbed it “the most riveting, emotionally resonant story-driven epic” of the console generation. Okay, that’s a sizable statement.
Who do we have to thank for The Last of Us’ outstanding plot? In the original Last of Us game’s credits, Neil Druckmann is given the writing credit, with Jacob Minkoff garnering a designer credit. Druckmann and Bruce Straley have director credits and, in interviews, are attributed with the overall leadership by copresidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra. (Druckmann stepped into Balestra’s shoes in 2020.) The game was developed by game industry heavyweight Naughty Dog, which is also the home of Uncharted, another world-beating action-adventure franchise noted for cinema-quality storytelling.
To us, it seems like the multi-talented, award-winning Druckmann is the guy who deserves the bulk of the credit for The Last of Us’ plot greatness. A former programmer, Druckmann also cowrote several Uncharted titles, a few comics, and a good piece of HBO’s The Last of Us as well. He and veteran screenwriter Craig Mazin (Chernobyl, Scriptnotes podcast) share creator/writer/executive producer credits on The Last of Us (the TV show) and he directed the second episode, his first experience directing a TV production.
Congrats to Druckmann. But we’re also cautioning him: don’t let your game writing work get criminally overlooked in the movie as happened to Rhianna Pratchett on Tomb Raider.
That Time “The Last of Us” Plot Got Overshadowed
… by a rogue HBO server? Or worse yet, by an error by the show’s production team? Yep, it happened.
While we’re talking about The Last of Us, we might as well highlight this astonishing visual mistake in the infamous Bill and Frank episode (“Long, Long Time”). As you’ll see here, there’s a massive change in light and color values as soon as the camera cuts to Ellie’s face. The warm tones in the scene flash brightly blue and the overall light levels spike.
What happened here? We’re not talking about a soap opera here; this is The Last of Us, a pillar in the HBO empire, a major cinematic undertaking.
Whatever the case is, it’s a bit gobstopping for us to see a cinematographic mistake of this magnitude in this show. Maybe it’s just a glitch on the HBO server, but we’re hoping that HBO doesn’t let the production pressures erode their standards.