Our Ultimate Creators Explain Adapting Clickers for TV

The Last of Us‘ The second stage finally introduces the Clickers, one of the deadliest enemies in the game. And while they have many similarities with their in-game counterparts, some of the creators of the HBO Max series explain how to describe these animals in the show that is slightly different in the interactive medium.

Neil Druckmann, writer of the game and TV series, set the scene by talking about how Naughty Dog wanted to put the action on the controller for the game. So when players encounter Clickers, they have to overcome the challenge themselves, which fits the interactivity of the medium.

“For an action sequence, we never put that in a cutscene in the game because it’s, like, ‘Oh, I want to play that,'” Druckmann said. “Those are the parts where we want to give the player control and say, ‘Shoulder this situation.'”

This method does not work in the field of television, so Druckmann talks about how they chose to hold back and hardly show the creatures to create tension, a lesson no doubt learned from other horror classics such as on foreigners and Jaws.

“With the show, it’s more about prevention,” he continued. “Usually when something is as scary as this, it’s scarier if you can’t see it. So we’re going to hold back and not show it for as long as possible, and then when we do show it, make sure it’s in a setting where the characters can’t get a clear eyeline to it.

“And when we see it, it’s very fast, very quick. We see a glimpse of them or you see them in a reflection in a glass. And it’s even more frightening, especially in that medium, to see the fear in the character’s eyes. So a lot of the direction, as far as where you put the camera, is, ‘Let’s show the character’s fear as much as possible, more than the thing that’s chasing them.’

However, the game naturally has a lot of Clicker encounters, which doesn’t work for a show. Executive Producer Craig Mazin said that this difference means that the action in the series should have more impact and be more unique.

“If you have an action sequence, it has to be singular,” Mazin said. “So, one of the things we talk about is the role of action in the show and our belief that we can better appreciate the action moments when they are unique, different and different from each other, each of them directly affecting the story. in a very clear way and can be very small or very large.”

The first Clicker scene in the game (which is in the school) was meant to act as a tutorial, but the medium change also meant that the Clickers could not be introduced in the same way in the series. The team knew that this scene had to have a greater impact on the story, so, as Druckmann stated, Joel had to be forced into a situation where he had to protect Ellie, someone who he doesn’t want to at this point in the story.

“In the game, you need to have enough action to master the mechanics so you can connect with the characters, you can enter a state of flow,” he said. “With the show, every action sequence, our approach is, ‘How do we make it character-driven?’ Something has to happen to the characters. They cannot be purely part of the landscape. And this [Clicker] sequence, up to that point, Ellie really connected with Tess. If only he was forced to talk to Joel, and it seemed like he was trying to ask him questions. They don’t like each other, but this sequence forces them to be together and forces Joel to protect her in a way that he doesn’t want to, but he can’t help himself.”

The rest of the video and corresponding post go into some details about Clicker’s origins as well as their audio design, some of which are covered in the documentary about the first game.

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