One of the things that made The Last Of Us such a great video game, and then an excellent TV adaptation, is that its world was both familiar and yet terrifying. It was set on our Earth, and in modern times, and the reason everything went wrong wasn’t because of some “experiment we shouldn’t have done,” but because of something within nature evolving to a terrifying degree and infecting humanity. The result rocked the world, and it became something no one would want to live in. But that doesn’t mean people wouldn’t want to go to Universal Studios to be a part of it for a night!
If you didn’t see the announcements by now, Universal Studios Horror Nights brought in Naughty Dog and Neil Druckmann to make a special “entry” into their Horror Nights event, and Druckmann was happy to deliver. In a special interview with IGN, Neil Druckmann sat down alongside Universal Orlando Senior Director Mike Aiello to discuss what it was like bringing this “haunted house” to life and wanting it to be like the game while also scaring those who came through it.
One of the things the two discussed was how they needed it to both feel like a Horror Nights event but also feel like you’re a part of the game. That’s one of the reasons Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson were brought back to play Joel and Ellie, as the characters sometimes appear virtually to interact with those in the event. For Druckmann, he also wanted to ensure there were “layers” to the event that would show the visceral nature of the world:
“There’s a moment we do a projection gag where there’s a Runner really going to town on a victim, and the audio for that is the notion of they’re doing this horrific act and they know it. So, it’s this cross between the savagery of that action and the cries of sadness that they’re doing it, which is something we implanted into the audio design to kind of show both sides of the turmoil that some of these victims are going through, knowing that they’re uncontrolled now at this point.”
The duo also talked about how it was hard at the beginning to decide where to “feature” the event within the focus of The Last Of Us. They almost put people in a “greatest hits” version of the game, but instead, they focused on a key moment where survival was everything, and you wanted to do everything you could to survive alongside Joel and Ellie.
The event is on right now at Universal Studios.