The numbers have proven that Mazin/Druckmann’s THE LAST OF US is a hit for HBO. Episode 2 of the show tallied 5.7 million viewers this past Sunday night, up 22% from the series debut. This marks the largest week 2 audience growth for an HBO Original drama series in the history of the network. The episode’s 5.7 million viewers across HBO and linear telecasts in the U.S. is an additional one million viewers versus its premiere week, based on Nielsen and first party data. After one full week of availability, Episode 1 was tracking at 18 million viewers, up nearly 4x from its premiere night audience. Those kinds of numbers have, to no one’s surprise, led to a renewal for a Second Season!
Even Bella Ramsey, the show’s Ellie, saw that coming. She told the BBC last week that, “If people keep watching, I think [a second series] is pretty likely. It’s down to the guys at HBO. There’s nothing confirmed yet so we’ll have to wait and see.”
And a few days later, a sophomore season was greenlit. Even WBD CEO Zaslav had to know that was a good call, even despite how much it will cost. He has nothing to say of its success, or at least not yet, but others more closely associated with the series did pass comment via a press release:
Francesca Orsi, Executive Vice President, HBO Programming, Head of HBO Drama Series and Films – “Craig and Neil, alongside EP Carolyn Strauss, and the rest of our phenomenal cast and crew, have defined a genre with their masterful debut season of ‘The Last of Us. “After pulling off this unforgettable first season, I can’t wait to watch this team outshine themselves again with season two.”
Executive producer, as well as creator and writer of the award-winning The Last of Us franchise and Naughty Dog Co-President, Neil Druckmann – “I’m humbled, honored, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey. The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations. Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog & PlayStation, thank you!”
Executive producer Craig Mazin – “I’m so grateful to Neil Druckmann and HBO for our partnership, and I’m even more grateful to the millions of people who have joined us on this journey. The audience has given us the chance to continue, and as a fan of the characters and world Neil and Naughty Dog created, I couldn’t be more ready to dive back in.”
Now, if you really want to dive back in then you should discover the games if you haven’t. I’ll say it again though, you need not have to play the games to enjoy the series! But if you happen to have a PlayStation and do not yet have the games well, what are you waiting for? They need to be in your game library. Here is just one outlet, dare I suggest where you can get a copy of both The Last Of Us Remastered and The Last Of Us Part II. And if you are really all in and don’t have a PlayStation 4 or 5 then follow those links. But listen, that isn’t an expense you should take lightly, only if you’re really interested.
Druckmann says it’s up to Naughty Dog to decide if it wants to continue, but right now they are currently focused on the multiplayer game set within that universe: “We’ve been pretty open that the next Last of Us game is going to be this multiplayer experience, where you’ll be able to enter the world of The Last of Us with your friend and get to experience the tension and the brutality of that world – and a brand new story and cast of characters that live in another city that we haven’t seen yet in the world of The Last of Us. This is going to be another chapter in the universe of The Last of Us.”
They are games worth playing and you only can do so on the Sony consoles right now. But, as you’ll see below, a PC version is coming soon. Check what Bella Ramsey had to say, as a first-time gamer – “It’s really cool; I’m really into it. I think being in the show might have converted me. [Video games] are so much richer than I ever imagined, being a naïve, ignorant, non-gamer. It’s really cool that video games can work in a cinematic medium. Maybe it will form a blueprint for video game adaptations going forwards. It’s such a good representation of how video games can be adapted in the right hands.”
So, there you go. Continue to enjoy the series and if you ever get around to the games (I did three times!) it will just enrich the whole experience. Oh, yeah and don’t forget the Podcast! As for me, after Season One concludes I just might play it for a fourth time on the hardest level.