Episode 3 of The Last of Us has broken just about everyone's hearts - including writer Craig Mazin.


The latest instalment of the HBO show diverts from the game in an important way, taking the focus away from Pedro Pascal's Joel and Bella Ramsey's Ellie, and introducing Bill, played by Nick Offerman, and Frank, played by Murray Bartlett.

What follows is a beautiful story expanding on characters only briefly mentioned in the game.

Episode 3 director Peter Hoar (best known for his work on It's a Sin) has now revealed that the cast, crew, and even showrunners Mazin and Neil Druckmann, found the story just as emotional as everyone else.

He said at a Q&A: "Quite honestly, Craig was a wreck through episode 3 because his heart is on his sleeve. And that's how he sees the world. That's how he tells stories. And I think it would never have worked for him to do it any other way.

Nick Offerman as Bill and Murray Bartlett as Frank in The Last of Us.
Nick Offerman as Bill and Murray Bartlett as Frank in The Last of Us. Liane Hentscher/HBO

"And the game is like that, people might not think it is but honestly, you've never played a game like it - it's so heartfelt. As I said, I had to stop because it was too much to do it in one sitting. It was months in between, before I'd go back and go and try and finish [the game]."

Cinematographer Eben Bolter added: "One great thing about Craig, I thought, with this adaptation is there was no sense of, 'I want to do it my way because it's better and it's about me.' It was never that, it was like a true love for the game.

"And in adapting it for television, using real people, real locations, how do we sort of honour the game, like the spirit of the game, in the most truthful way? Even if it’s different."

Murray Bartlett as Frank in The Last of Us
Murray Bartlett as Frank in The Last of Us. Liane Hentscher/HBO

Mazin is best known for series including Chernobyl, while Druckmann created The Last of Us video games.

The pair, who have largely kept the series very faithful to the game, previously explained why they chose to deviate in key moments.

Mazin told RadioTimes.com and other press: "Ultimately, adaptation is all about choices. And we can talk until our faces turn blue about how we make those choices. And there's a lot of math to it. But for me, what it always came back to was, 'What do I love?' What, as a fan, would I be hurt if I didn't see it in the show?

"And what do I think we would absolutely have to change to adapt to a medium that is passive, that isn't interactive, that doesn't require gameplay? And what are the things that we can be inspired by and adjust and just let ourselves be creative, but always within the bounds of 'what do we love?'"

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Mazin noted that this process "was made a lot easier by the fact that the narrative material, putting the gameplay aside, just the straight bedrock drama of the game that Neil [Druckmann] created is wonderful.

"There are incredibly rich characters, and most importantly rich relationships. And the way the plot moved was always in service of forcing those main characters and their relationship to change and grow.

"So everything we did, all of that adaptation process, picking and choosing, for me, came down to loving the game, and understanding the game. And then understanding this other thing we wanted to make that had to be both the same and different at the same time."

The Last of Us is exclusively available on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW.

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