That Last Of Us Co-Director Calls For Unionisation Over HBO Series

That Last Of Us Co-Director Calls For Unionisation Over HBO Series
HBO | Naughty Dog

Written by 

Tom Chapman


20th Jan 2023 10:53

Where were you when you first saw John Hannah's Dr. Neuman explain the horrors of the Cordyceps infection and we all got worried about when we next pick up a pack of button mushrooms at the supermarket?

When we look back on TV spectacles, HBO's The Last of Us is sure to be up there with The SopranosBreaking Bad, and Game of Thrones - well, not Season 8.

There's no denying Craig Mazin's live-action series has made its pitch as the best video game adaptation of all time, and while most of us love it, the Co-Director of Naughty Dog's 2013 game isn't happy.

Why Does The Last Of Us Co-Director Want To Unionise?

Although HBO has brought on Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann as an Executive Producer on The Last of Us, former colleague Bruce Straley wasn't consulted.

Straley is remembered as the Co-Director of the original The Last of Us but left Naughty Dog shortly after Uncharted 4: A Thief's End was released in 2016.

While HBO's The Last of Us has plenty of support, Straley gave a seemingly scathing interview with the LA Times where he called out his lack of credit. 

"It's an argument for unionization that someone who was part of the co-creation of that world and those characters isn't getting a credit or a nickel for the work they put into it."

Straley urged a call to action for co-creators and added, "Maybe we need unions in the video game industry to be able to protect creators."

Druckmann's involvement as Executive Producer and the fact he directed an episode means he was obviously going to be heavily credited for the live-action reimagining, but Straley's musings raise an interesting debate.

How Involved In The Last Of Us Was Bruce Straley?

One of The Last of Us' big wins is the fact it's about as faithful to the video games as adaptations come, even copying some shorts 1:1. 

If the nine-episode runtime was a little looser with the source material, like Paramount's divisive Halo series, Straley would have less of an argument.

Straley and Druckmann previously described their relationship as being like a "marriage," however, it's unclear what happened between the pair. Either way, Straley was a major part of the first game and largely handled gameplay. 

The LA Times describes Straley's relationship with Naughty Dog as "strained," so a response like this was expected. HBO, Druckmann, and Naughty Dog are yet to respond to his words. 

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