HBO’s original series The Last of Us, based on the globally popular and universally acclaimed video game of the same name, recently premiered on HBO and the streaming service HBOMax, and both critics and fans seem to be pleased with what they see. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey play Joel and Ellie, the two main characters played by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson in the games.
The Last of Us games are some of the best-selling and most awarded video games in history, and with such a large fan base, and with this adaptation, a lot of potential future fans, you might wonder if The Last of Us is suitable for all ages of viewers.
HBO’s The Last of Us is rated TV-MA (read it as R rating for TV shows), which indicates content suitable for mature audiences only. Like the video game, the series contains many scary scenes and horror elements. Although there is no explicit content such as sex and nudity, the amount of violence, bloodshed, profanity, and scary and intense scenes is very high, so we do not recommend parents watch this series while their children are around.
Is The Last of Us game suitable for any audience?
The Last of Us was originally released in June 2013, exclusively for the PS3. A remastered version for PS4 was released in July 2014. In September 2022, a remake of the game, titled The Last of Us Part I, was released on PS5, and that remake should mark the debut of the franchise on PC in March 2023. The original game, regardless of release, has always had a PEGI 18 rating by Pan-European Game Information in Europe and M by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in the United States and Canada, making the game suitable for mature players only.
The same thing happened with The Last of Us Part II when it was released in 2020. Both PEGI and ESRB indicated that both games contained a large amount of violence and foul language. None of this comes as a surprise when you consider the world these games are set in, a post-apocalyptic world where the question isn’t whether you’ll survive, but how long. Critics and fans who watched the first episode of the HBO adaptation praised how the series does its best to replicate the atmosphere of the games, and what’s even better, the series is suitable for both game fans and viewers who have never encountered the world of The Last of Us before.
Will the age rating affect popularity?
Film studios in Hollywood usually don’t tend to make big-budget movies that are only suitable for mature audiences because that could potentially narrow their target audience, making it harder to break through at the box office. However, when it comes to TV shows and video games, the situation is a little different, considering that many of the hyped TV shows and video games are intended for adult viewers only. Of course, today it is impossible to keep children away from video games that are not suitable for them. The best example is Grand Theft Auto, whose latest installment, GTA V, is the second (behind Minecraft) best-selling video game of all time with more than 170 million copies sold.
Although The Last of Us can only dream of reaching such high numbers, mainly because we’re talking about a PlayStation exclusive (although the remake of the first game will finally be released on PC this March), it would be a huge mistake to say that The Last of Us is not a profitable franchise. The original game (counting the original PS3 release and the PS4 remaster) has sold around 17 million copies. For comparison, only God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man sold more, each around 20 million.
So when we look at the numbers, the age rating shouldn’t be an issue. HBO has a great history of creating amazing shows that are rated TV-MA. Just like Game of Thrones, which already had its own fan base thanks to the books when it premiered, The Last of Us also already has a large target audience, thanks to the massive popularity of the games. And this TV series can only expand the fan base and potentially boost game sales even more.
Fans of The Last of Us have a lot to look forward to. This series will air its season finale on March 12, 2023. Although it has not yet been officially renewed, a potential season 2 is expected to follow the events that took place in The Last of Us Part II. Another thing that fans expect is that Naughty Dog will soon break the silence on the development of The Last of Us Part III, which has not been officially announced yet, but everyone is expecting it and it is very likely that we will get an anticipated threequel one day. Until then, we have a TV show to watch and games to play over and over again.
HBO’s The Last of Us is now streaming on HBOMax.