Friday, May 8, 2015

'The Last of Us' Turned Into A Compelling TV Drama

For one fan of the post apocalyptic survival video game, playing it on console simply wasn’t enough. So  he decided to cut it all into a beautiful cinematic drama for everyone to enjoy.

Any video gamer can point to at least a few titles from the past few years that really stand out (and I mean really stand out). Though the list may vary from gamer to gamer, the ones who are worth their salt will all have one title in common: The Last of Us. 
Without giving too much away, the game is less of a game and more of a cinematic experience that tells the saga of Joel–a grizzled smuggler dealing with the tragic death of his daughter twenty years earlier–as he escorts a young teenage girl named Ellie across a zombie/cannibal/roaming-band-of-murderous-raiders infested country. The reason they take this risk: Ellie carries the key to curing the world of the mutated Cordyceps fungus that turns people into flesh eating zombies.Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic survival zombie game may sound like any other of the hundreds of games that follow the same sort of model (group of survivors must navigate their way through zombie mayhem while contending with the true enemy … each other blah blah blah) but The Last of Us is unlike any other. With it’s striking visuals coupled with the dynamic game mechanics and arguably one of the most compelling storylines to have come out of gaming yet.
Which is why it is great to hear that one enterprising person took it upon themselves to create an epic online series of the game that makes the game more accessible to those who might not otherwise experience the story. These videos come from a college student named Grant Voegtle who has released them on his YouTube channel.Though I am an avid gamer myself, I often understand when gaming isn’t anyone’s cup of tea. That said, The Last Of Us is one of those experiences that transcends the hobbyism and the niche nature of gaming into an art form that cannot be missed. Considering this, it is pretty frustrating trying to convince everyone I know to buy a Playstation 3 and a copy of the game so they can know how great it is too.
Though he describes them as “cinematic playthroughs,” that description might just be a little misleading. They are not your run of the mill video game lets plays after all. Voegtle painstakingly went through every facet of the game and cut them all into episodic chapters, effectively turning The Last of Us into a group thirty minute chapters. The series plays out more like a compelling miniseries now and I think you would be hardpressed to find it all too different from your favorite television drama.
Of course, a lot is cut from the source material. Gameplay mechanics and a lot of the combat is pruned out. But what we’re left with is a fantastic and thrilling story. It’s perfect for anyone who you have been meaning to get into the game but they just don’t have the time to sit down and slog through a whole lot of game play.
Speaking to The Verge, Voegtle spoke on his reasons for creating the game:
“I was hearing that people wanted to share the story of The Last of Us with their family, but they just didn’t have the time to have them sit down and play the entire game,” Voegtle says. “Hearing that and knowing that I could do that for people — that’s been the most motivating thing so far to keep me working on it.”
One of the coolest things about the episodes is the fact that they each come with their own title sequence comparable to something you’d see on The Walking Dead. It’s a nice little flair that really adds a lot to the presentation of it all. We are also given a lot of really professional video capture work, wherein Voegtle shows you bits and pieces of dialogue you might have even missed though you played the game yourself.
So far, the series has six episodes out with a seventh and last one slated to be released soon. For Voegtle, the series has been a labor of love, though it’s really the kind of love a parent has for an unruly child.
From The Verge:
“I still love the game — I’ll always love it,” he says, a noticeable hint of burnout in his voice. “But I also hate it sometimes a little bit. I’m just going to take a long break from it after this.”
After all the hours logged into creating this masterpiece, it’s pretty understandable.
Check out the first episode of the Cinematic Playthrough below.

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