Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” video games are celebrated for their richly woven narratives, wonderfully realised characters and intense blend of action, horror and emotional heartbreak.

They’re also violent as all hell, with plenty of brutal deaths ranging from attacks by clickers to more straightforward human-on-human violence as people with people shot, bashed into bloody pulps, and frequently requiring the player to slit throats with a handmade knife.

It can be an incredibly gory work at times, the sequel even more so as it makes one highly complicit in some rather nasty acts. However, the upcoming HBO TV series adaptation, which is only a few weeks from premiering, will reportedly scale back some of that brutality.

Show co-creator and Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann recently spoke with SFX magazine (via Games Radar ahead of the release of the series and explained how the translation to another medium meant the violence was cut back to only the most essential scenes to have more impact:

“We need a certain amount of action, or violence, that we could use for mechanics so you could connect with Joel and get into a flow state. Then you would really feel like you’re connected with this on-screen avatar, and you’re seeing the world through his eyes. But that doesn’t exist in a passive medium.

One of the things that I loved hearing from [co-creator Craig Mazin] and HBO very early on was, ‘Let’s take out all the violence except for the very essential.’ That allowed the violence to have even more impact than in the game because when you hold on showing the threat and you’re seeing people’s reaction to a threat, that makes it scarier. And when we do reveal the infected and the Clickers, you get to see what brought down humanity and why everyone is so scared.”

“The Last of Us” is coming to HBO on January 15th in the United States and will hit Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the U.K. from January 16th.

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