If you believe the ‘common saying’, there is a curse behind any video game adaptation that causes it to fail. And realistically speaking, it would make sense if there was one. A transition from a video game, a hugely interactive medium, to a movie or tv series, static experiences, is a hugely difficult leap to make. And if IGN hadn’t beaten me to it by two days, I’d be writing a whole rant here about that. But alas, the professionals have me beat, and I’m too ethical to copy someone’s work.
However I am still going to discuss the recently released series adapting the 2013 hit game “The Last of Us”, and comparing it to last year’s live action “Halo” series.
In the end, the two are barely comparable. Though only two episodes of “The Last of Us” have been released, it is already massively superior to “Halo”.
“The Last of Us” absolutely oozes love for its source material, while making changes from its video game counterpart/source in ways that help adapt it to the big screen. Naughty Dog’s classic fungal-zombie survival game, hailed by many as one of the greatest games of all time, succeeds in every place where its science fiction competition failed.
During the leadup to “Halo”’s release, some of the production staff took to Twitter to claim that they had not even played the games or read the books that they intended to adapt. And this showed in the quality of the adaptation they were able to produce. Even I wanted to give it a chance, but “Halo”’s sheer disregard for its source material, and in some parts what felt like true contempt, absolutely ruins any credibility it may have earned. Butchering important characters to the lore while failing to follow some of the most basic rules of the characters and setting that had been handed to them.
On the contrary, “The Last Of Us” takes special care to be accurate to its source material. Some scenes being shot for shot recreations of parts of the original game. This is to be expected considering they had staff from Naughty Dog, the studio behind the games creation, helping. In fact, the lead writer for the game serves as one of the directors for the show. Even so, the show proves that it can handle itself, fundamentally changing certain aspects of the ‘zombie infection’ that serves as part of the main conflict for the game. Within the original game, the Cordyceps fungus that creates the game’s zombies spreads through spores, shown in game to require gas-masks and forces the player to take things slow.
Of course, this doesn’t really translate too well for the tv series. So the series introduces tendrils of the Cordyceps, based on the concept of Mycellia, another spreading aspect of fungus. While some fans find the change unnecessary, I personally can cope with the change because of acting difficulties while faces are covered, and the research put into its function.
Perhaps it’s too early to say, I mean, I liked the initial episodes of “Halo”…
Well, LIKE is perhaps a bit too strong. I stomached the initial episodes of “Halo” with the hope that perhaps something good could be done. I was proven wrong then, but I get the distinct feeling that “The Last of Us” is different. And it sure is a good different.
Braedon Martin is a Hutchinson sophomore studying journalism. He is the Collegian’s Opinion Page Editor and the Managing Editor for Design.