Craig Mazin, one of The Last of Us showrunners alongside Neil Druckmann, has revealed why the HBO series feels less violent and has fewer action sequences than the game. In a PlayStation blog, Mazin explains why they decided to stray away from the abundance of fights against the various infected in the original game.
Violence and action were toned down for realism
The main reason why violence was toned down in the HBO show is due to having a realistic approach to healing, according to Mazin in a PlayStation blog:
The other issue with the show where we had to do things differently than the game is games have healing mechanics and healing doesn’t work quite that way on television. It’s just, we can’t crouch, bandage, you know, and be fine. So, violence has a different impact. Smaller bits of violence do a lot more damage, and the damage lasts much, much longer or permanently.
The Last of Us video games can normally get away with multiple combat sequences in a row because the gameplay mechanics allow for different experiences. But in the show, too much action can be repetitive.
Mazin explains that the action moments in the show are better because they are “unique, separate, and apart from each other.” Having a lot of action sequences would also have extended the runtime of an episode or cut out other scenes that would be important in building the narrative.
Meanwhile, the second episode of the series has an Uncharted 4 easter egg and another easter egg from Google.