The last of usThe second episode finally introduced Clickers, one of the game’s deadliest enemies. And while they share many similarities with their in-game counterparts, some of the creators of the HBO Max series explained how the portrayal of these beasts in the show differed slightly from the interactive medium.
Neil Druckmann, writer of the game and TV series, set the stage 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 with the medium’s interactivity.
“For an action sequence, we would almost never put it in an in-game cutscene because it would be, ‘Oh, I want to play that,'” Druckmann said. “Those are the parts we want to give the player control and say, ‘ Deal with this situation’.”
This approach doesn’t work in the TV realm, so Druckmann talked about how they chose to hold back and barely show the creatures to build tension, a lesson no doubt learned from other horror classics such as Alien and Jaws.
“With the show, it was very much about restraint,” he continued. “Often when something is horrible like this, it’s scarier when you don’t see it. So let’s hold off and not show it for as long as possible, and then when we do show it, let’s make sure it’s in a setting where the characters don’t get a clear line of sight to it.
“And when we see it, it’s very quick, very quick. We’ll see a glimpse of them, or you’ll see them in a reflection in the glass. And it’s scarier, especially in that medium, to see the fear in the character’s eyes. So much of the direction, as far as where you put the camera, is, ‘Let’s show the character’s fear as much as possible, even more so than the thing that’s chasing them.’
But the game obviously has several Clicker encounters that wouldn’t work for a show. Executive Producer Craig Mazin said that this distinction meant that the plot of the series should have more impact and be more unique.
“When you have an action sequence, it has to be unique,” Mazin said. “So one of the things we talked about was the role of action in the show and our belief that we would appreciate the action moments more if they were each unique, distinct and separate from each other, and each of they affect the story directly. in a very clear way and either very small or very large.”
The first Clicker scene in the game (which is at the school) is meant to act as a tutorial, but the media change also meant that Clickers couldn’t be introduced in the same way in the series. The team knew that this scene had to have a bigger impact on the story, so, as Druckmann said, it was necessary to force Joel into a situation where he had to protect Ellie, someone he is not too fond of this moment in history.
“In the game, you have to have enough action to master the mechanics so you can connect with the characters, you get into a flow state,” he said. “With the show, every action sequence, our approach was, ‘How do we make it character-driven?’ Something has to happen with the characters. They can’t be all about acting. And in this [Clicker] sequence, until that point Ellie is truly connected to Tess. Only when forced to do so does she talk to Joel, and it feels like it’s an effort for her to ask him questions. They don’t like each other, but this sequence forces them together and forces Joel to protect her in a way that he didn’t want to, but he can’t help himself.”
The rest of the video and corresponding post go into some of the details regarding the clicker’s origins as well as their sound design, some of which have been covered in the documentary on the first game.