The Last Of Us’ Sam Will Be Deaf In HBO’s Adaptation

The hype train for HBO's The Last Of Us is really starting to pick up steam as the show's debut nears. A seemingly pretty faithful adaptation of the first game, but there will be some key differences. Particularly to Sam, a character who plays a short but significant role in Joel and Ellie's journey.

As the first reviews for the show went live this week, The Last Of Us creator Neil Druckmann spoke with The Washington Post (via Naughty Dog Central) regarding the challenges of turning a video game into what will hopefully be a critically acclaimed TV series. Druckmann explained that some of the hardest decisions when choosing what to include revolved around rejecting potentially great ideas, and also tweaking the game's award-winning story so it better fits a new medium.

Among those changes was the choice to make Sam deaf. “That kind of constraint led to really interesting storytelling decisions that, in some ways, make that sequence more impactful than it is in the game,” Druckmann revealed. If you have played through that particular part of The Last Of Us, then you'll know making it even more impactful will be quite the accomplishment if Druckmann is right.

If you're familiar with Keivonn Woodard, the actor who will play Sam in the adaptation, then you likely assumed his character would be deaf since Woodard himself is deaf. The alteration to Sam's character, when compared to the game, isn't the only aural change made for the show. Its creators have also revealed Joel will be deaf in one ear, an issue caused by a gunshot before the events of the show.

Changes to characters' hearing won't be the only things different when people who have played the games compare them to the show. Perhaps the biggest change detailed so far is the one made to the way the virus spreads. Spores will not have a presence in HBO's version of The Last Of Us story, but tendrils will. A concept that was almost included in the games, as has been revealed by an unearthed, unused voice clip.

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