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Fans Discuss Why Halo Failed Where The Last Of Us Succeeded

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It's safe to say that Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, the showrunners for HBO's The Last of Us, did a good job with the adaptation of the video game. In fact, the TV series has been praised as video game adaptations done right, with the performances of Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey highlighted, and certain episodes, such as Bill and Frank's, earning miles of column inches and many plaudits.

This only puts in stark contrast the performance of Paramount's Halo adaptation. The much-hyped show released around this time last year, and starred Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is The New Black; American Gods) as Master Chief, while Steven Spielberg was attached as executive producer. But the overall reception, from fans of the Games to critics, for the nine-episode season, was middling at best. Since the end of HBO's The Last of Us, Halo fans have been lamenting what could have been.

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Over on the popular 'Gaming' subreddit, a thread titled, "Probably the biggest wasted opportunity of a gaming franchise", has drawn hundreds of comments and many thousands of upvotes, and sparked a passionate and in-depth analysis of what went wrong with Paramount's Halo show. The biggest top notes? That the adaptation simply wasn't detailed enough.

Probably the biggest wasted opportunity of a gaming franchise. Oh what could have been

by u/Isunova in gaming

"This was definitely an existing project that got the Halo title slapped on it right?" said one of the most popular comments, with more than six thousand upvotes at the time of writing. "Most definitely", came a reply, itself receiving thousands of upvotes. "At least this is what I choose to believe given how generic some of the plot points and characters are", it continued.

The removal of Master Chief's helmet was another hot button issue in the thread, with comparison to how The Mandalorian was able to succeed without viewers needed to see the character's face mentioned. "I didn't mind him [Master Chief] removing his helmet", said u/greatgoogliemoogly. "I did mind him spending entire episodes with the helmet off".

Master Chief and Spartans from Silver Team in Halo show

Specific mention was made of The Last of Us, with commentors highlighting the HBO show as a standard against which the Halo adaptation should be measured, a kind of "how to do it vs how not to" test case.

But another commentor pointed to how different the source video Games are, and underlined what they referred to as "the action to chattiness ratios" for an accurate adaptation.

"The Last of Us benefits a LOT from being a fairly slow, contemplative Game," u/DiggyMcGriz wrote, saying that while Naughty Dog's Game does feature sneaking and gunfights, much of the experience is simply moving through an area and talking. Something TV shows can do well. "But even still, the biggest complaint from the fans? Not enough infected, which I believe they're rectifying for S2".

John touches Makee's cheek in the Halo TV show

"Now Halo", they continued. "Biggest problem with Halo is there's a drive and urgency to the Game stories. They're all 'man on a mission' stuff with ticking clocks; a pace that could fit film but does NOT translate well to live action TV shows with season-long arcs".

It's an in-depth discussion, with the enthusiasm for Halo's source material clearly evident, so it's well worth reading the thread at your leisure. With The Last of Us setting a new watermark for Game-to-TV adaptations, perhaps TV execs and producers will up their Game from now on.

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