Screens Gems is Putting The Last of Us on the Silver Screen
Another property is making the jump from the interactive medium to the passive viewing magic of the big screen. Screen Gems, the production studio responsible for the eight-hundred Resident Evil films released since 2002, has signed on to distribute a feature film based on Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us.
Ghost House Pictures, the studio behind horror hound movies like Drag Me to Hell and last year’s superb Evil Dead remake, is set to produce, automatically attaching famed director/producer Sam Raimi to the project. Wisely, the game’s co-director and scribe, Neil Druckmann, has been tapped to write the movie’s screenplay as well as warm up a producer’s chair. Bruce Straley, the other co-director on the game, and Naughty Dog co-presidents Christophe Balestra and Evan Wells join in on the fun in producing roles.
"Since our game released last June, we’ve talked with many companies about making a film," said Evan Wells, "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.”
Seeing as how Sony owns Screen Gems, they were destined to handle the rights to the PlayStation 3 exclusive. Ghost House is an inspired choice to tackle the material, though their track record is spotty (more than half their ventures are B-movie horror flicks; before Evil Dead, the American Grudge films were their only totem poles… very unfortunately).
But having a veteran such as Raimi on the project, especially given his keenness toward video games — this was the man originally meant to bring World of Warcraft to theaters — and allowing Neil Druckmann and company to lord over the material are classy ass moves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still nervous. The Last of Us may be an extremely cinematic game, but what the game gets right, which is a lot, might come off wrong translated to film. It’d also go a long way in my book if the studio that cursed us with five Resident Evil mistreatments wasn’t anywhere in spitting distance of The Last of Us, but that’s just me (obviously it’s just me since those films are the most financially successful game adaptations in history… very unfortunately).
Still, if even a modicum of The Last of Us' powerful, affecting narrative — one that touches on loss, humanity, and hope juxtaposed against constant hopelessness — endures the transition, I think I'll be happy. Pretty excited to see how this one plays out.
Watch From Dreams - The Making of The Last of Us: Left Behind
DLC add-on’s are typically just that: add-on’s; an addendum that, honestly, isn’t a crucial component to the main experience, but serves as an extra caveat for fans hungering for more.
Left Behind is a groundbreaking triumph in that regard by serving as a completely necessary expansion to the core themes of loss, love, and survival prevalent in The Last of Us. It manages to be heartwarming one moment, and heart-wrenching the next, matching the ebb and flow of emotion found in the original campaign, while helping us find out who Ellie was and who she became.
If you haven’t played Left Behind, you’ll want to detour around the massive, capital-S Spoilers in this short doc. Otherwise, enjoy the insights and inspirations Naughty Dog put forth into the best piece of DLC this generation.
This whole bit, man. This is the part that hit me in a special, unreachable place. A video game in a video game reminded me why I love video games. Just… I’m out of words for once.
Naughty Dog Kicking Around Ideas for The Last of Us 2
Left Behind, the first and final piece of story DLC created for 2013’s post-apocalyptic sensation, The Last of Us, is finally releasing next week on Valentine’s Day.
Left Behind's tale actually pits players before the events of the main game — following the exploits of Ellie and her ill-fated bestie Riley — but writer/creative director Neil Druckmann and cohort Bruce Straley (the game's director) are looking to the future of this potential franchise.
Of course, they may need to step away from the material for a bit. “We just wrapped up Left Behind, and Bruce Straley, the game director, and I have been doing this for over four years now,” says Druckmann, speaking to Eurogamer. “So it’s just time for a break, and to recharge the batteries.”
Still, ideas are beginning to manifest, though it sounds as if any one concept can quickly tip into a new property entirely. “We have started brainstorming some stuff. To be honest, some of them are sequel ideas, and some of them are brand new IP - we’ve spent the last few weeks brainstorming new IP.”
Ultimately, Naughty Dog is going to pursue what feels right. If it’s The Last of Us 2, awesome. If it transforms into something else, so be it.
"It’s kind of like how we approached Left Behind,” Druckmann says. “Can we tell people a story that’s really worth telling, and that’s not repeating itself? And if we can’t, where can we get inspired - what is something that’s really going to challenge us, and push storytelling in this medium forward?”
Meanwhile, with the advent of next-gen upgrades of titles like Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, the internet’s been speculating ND would follow suit, porting an upscaled version of The Last of Us to the PlayStation 4. Neil’s answer to that was a confident… “possibly.” It comes down to a matter of resources and demand.
"It’s something that we’ll figure out as we move forward," he said.
Production on a next-gen Uncharted for PS4 remains steadfast.
This year’s bulb is almost out, folks. And what a goddamn year it was! If it wasn’t enough that a high profile title hit market just about every other week, 2013 also saw fit to usher in a new generation of home consoles, bringing with it a wave of innovative, game-changing releases— Nah, I’m kidding. They just ported over some shooters and racing games.
See, despite the starter pistol having gone off for the next-gen race, 2013 belonged to the current-gen. Through years of strife and growth and learning, developers were able to forge some of the best games we’ve seen in a while, leaving gamers with a slew of graceful sendoffs to a generation in its twilight. Here are my favorite games of 2013 (that I got around to playing… really important to remember that).
Naughty Dog Lowdown - Uncharted PS4 + The Last of Us Story DLC
The famed Santa Monica based developer came at us last night with updates on two of its most coveted, Sony exclusive IP’s. Let’s dig into the less enigmatic of the two announcements:
Undoubtedly my favorite title of the year, the third-person apocalyptic heartbreak simulator, The Last of Us, has had story DLC quietly in the works over the last several months. Now we finally know the name: Left Behind.
A prequel to Joel and Ellie’s giraffe filled adventure, Left Behind focuses on Ellie and Riley (first depicted in the comic American Dreams), a rebellious teen whom Ellie befriends within the military operated boarding school she attends. Spoiler alert: Expect your emotions to be damaged.
Priced at $14.99, Left Behind will hit PSN early 2014. Watch the teaser trailer hereabouts (light on the “trailer,” thick on the “teaser”).
And now for something cryptic. Naughty Dog announced a new Uncharted game! Annnnd… That’s it. ND swears there’s revealing hints to be found in this trailer, but it takes a better fan than I to be able to spot the bastards.
What’s certain is that it’s setting course exclusively for the PlayStation 4. What’s uncertain is everything else: Is Nathan Drake back? What’s the official title? When does it take place? Is the love of my virtual life Elena back?
Nothing official has been plotted, though rumors are already suggesting Sir Francis Drake may be the protagonist, making this Uncharted a period piece. More on this diddy as it develops, folks.