HBO’s The Last of Us massive budget is bigger than Game of Thrones'

HBO is reportedly breaking the bank to make sure their highly anticipated video game adaptation series Last of Us, lives up to the hype.

Gaming adaptations have a hard time translating their success to both the big and small screens. Netflix’s Arcane and Castlevania managed to pick up some hardware, but by and large, the audience has not been fond of what they saw. And that could be attributed to many factors, from production and management delays to wrongful interpretation of the story. But HBO seems to have a hunch on what could break that trend, so it’s drawing from a well-established title that saw great success as a narrative-driven experience.

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To make this happen, HBO is putting its money where its mouth is. HBO's The Last of Us' production costs are reportedly higher than the first five seasons of Game of Thrones. It's not exactly higher than House of the Dragon, but it's still a pretty insane amount.

While fans are approaching the adaptation news of the PlayStation-exclusive game with cautious optimism, HBO isn’t scared to spend on trustworthy and proven talent. With the show being co-written and co-produced by The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann, along with the contributions from Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin, it sure sounds like a solid strategy.

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A recent article from The New Yorker reported that production costs have gone "upward of a hundred million dollars", which is telling of HBO’s confidence in this project. Considering reports from TV Guide put the production costs of each installment of the fifth Game of Thrones run in the $6 to $8 million range, HBO is spending nearly double for nine episodes.

Mazin shares similar confidence in the vision claiming the strong narrative from the source material will set this video game adaptation apart from other game-inspired properties:

I cheated – I just took the one with the best story. Like, I love Assassin’s Creed. But when they announced that they were gonna make it as a movie I was, like, I don’t know how! Because the joy of it is the gameplay. The story is impenetrable.

Having Neil Druckmann on board, the original Naughty Dog game creator, ensures the adaptation will stay its course. And while both contributors have stated that the show will deviate from the game in some aspects, jaw-dropping moments cut from the game will be included. The game has built a passionate following over the last 10 years, that will be keen to tune in, despite having a sour taste in their mouths from the second installment of the game.

With the first episode airing on Sunday, January 15, fans won’t have to wait much longer. If the premiere’s movie-like length is anything to go by, the $10-$15 million per episode cost isn’t even that much. Amazon Studios just dished out a $465 million budget for eight Rings of Power episodes, which is the current record holder at $58 million per episode. The sixth season of Game of Thrones and Netflix’s Witcher were in the same ballpark of production costs as Last of Us, so it’s not like HBO is setting itself up for failure.

Scott Kostov

A passion for writing and gaming has propelled Scott down the path of content creation. When he isn't scouring every known source on the internet for information, he's a track addict vibing to music in the countryside of sunny Macedonia. Link up with Scott on Twitter and Steam.
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