By AARON YNCLAN, Staff Writer
Though many in the film industry believe that video games will follow in the steps of comics to become the next great renaissance of blockbusters, gamers aren’t expected to wait with bated breath. From Hitman and Mortal Kombat to Silent Hill and Super Mario Bros., fans have had little incentive to anticipate adaptations of their favorite franchises when the most financially successful films, specifically Resident Evil, can best be described as “mildly entertaining.”
The potential for proper transitions of games is growing, however, with some adaptations like Warcraft and Halo being handled by prestigious filmmakers while creative control of Assassin’s Creed and Uncarted are largely retained by respective studios. Now, fans can count Naught Dog’s critically acclaimed The Last of Us among them.
Set twenty years after a viral outbreak ravages humanity, The Last of Us follows battered smuggler Joel as he attempts to escort a teenager named Ellie across the country to find the base of a group of insurgents called the Fireflies.
Rumors first arose last year when Sony registered various domain names referring to a film version of The Last of Us, and now Deadline Hollywood has confirmed that an adaptation is currently in development under Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures Banner, with Screen Gems (Resident Evil) distributing the film. Raimi, of “Spider-Man” and “Evil Dead” fame, will produce the film alongside Naughty Dog Co-Presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra and Game Director Bruce Straley. Neil Druckmann, who served as Creative Director on The Last of Us, will pen the screenplay.
“Our partnership with Sam Raimi, Ghost House Pictures, and Screen Gems to develop a film based on The Last of Us universe is a perfect fit,” said Wells in a statement. “Since our game released last June, we’ve talked with many companies about making a film, but we couldn’t have found better partners who share our creative vision and high standards. We look forward to collaborating with Sam, his team, and Screen Gems, to make a movie that will thrill fans of The Last of Us and general audiences worldwide.”
While some fans may be alleviated to know that Naughty Dog is working in such close collaboration on the project, others are bound to remain skeptical. While The Last of Us lends itself better to an adaptation than most video games, most would argue that compressing the games 15-hour campaign into a two-hour film would detract from many of its appeals, assuming the film follows the games story. Moreover, as cinematic as the game is from a visual and narrative perspective, a film version would appear pretty moot.
Still, Naughty Dog does have one voice in their corner in the form of Troy Baker, voice of The Last of Us protagonist Joel. Speaking with ign Baker voiced his support of the film, saying that if “it wasn’t going to be something that accurately represents the story, [Naughty Dog] wouldn’t be doing it.” Baker didn’t reveal whether or not he’d reprise his role as Joel in the film, but did say that, were he not to be apart of it, he would still “participate in watching the film with just as much enthusiasm and excitement as if I was in it.”