Building ‘The End of Us’ Business: Inventor Reveals How They Made This Arcade, Carousel and More (UPDATE)

DISCLAIMER: This interview contains excerpts from Season 7 of “The Last of Us,” now streaming on HBO Max.

“The Last of Us” designer John Paino’s biggest challenge was to bring the beloved world of the video game to life and fill the HBO show with Easter eggs. This week, Paino delivered one of his most important nos yet in the “blink-and-you’re-close-to-it moment.”

Named after the game’s downloadable expansion pack, Episode 7, titled “Left Behind,” explores Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) history before she meets Joel (Pedro Pascal) and reveals what happened the night she found out that is not immune to cordyceps infection. Meanwhile, Ellie is trying to save Joel’s life after he was stabbed in the previous game. In doing so, she remembers one of the happiest, and saddest, days of her life. The situation comes to a head again when Ellie’s friend crushes on Riley (Storm Reid) and they attack her in an abandoned store. Unfortunately, the clickers attack the two and bite them after a night of fun. That night Ellie found out she was sick, but Riley wasn’t so lucky.

Paino said the idea behind the night market was an eye-opening time for Ellie to see the world before the outbreak. He built between 20-25 stores, with the remains of life places such as Foot Locker, Victoria’s Secret and Panda Express covered with dirt and grapes. “We have to take and create these stores. It’s good to use their logo, and we can play with what they are, the luxury stores and the numbers behind them. “Creating an adorable American Girl store is an exciting thing to do,” Paino said.

His creative brief was that the mall would be a double-edged sword for Ellie. “She’s interested in the dress code and can’t believe that people have time for that, but it’s sad because she’s denying us something that’s normal, like understanding the bigger world while trying to get on with life,” he said. he.

Paino hopes to have an American-style store in Calgary, Canada, where “The Last of Us” was shot: “I am a child of the 70s, and the store is a temple. The size of 10 football fields. I will spend time with a lot there and in the video arcade. So, we were hoping to find something similar. We found an abandoned store that was completely torn down and had no second floor. We built the roof and the shops, but what they see from the balcony is all CGI because our market doesn’t have a second floor.”

As for Raja’s Arcade, Paino says it’s the biggest Easter egg. While its content is based on other arcades, Paino said, “We copied the name, which was in the game, and we copied it forward. We gave it a bit of a push through games like ‘Frogger,’ ‘Tetris’ and ‘Mortal Kombat’.”

Paino said that all the games in the arcade series worked so well because creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann wanted everything to be as realistic as possible. However, those retro game screens were made from cathode-ray tubes (CRT), which meant that when the cameras were rolling, the images weren’t clear. “We rebuilt them on an LED screen,” Paino said.

The mall recreation cycle was imported from elsewhere. Paino said: “It used to be in this mall, but when it went out of business, another store took it over, so we made a deal to rent it out.”

The team took the carousel separately and sent it to the set. The center panel has images related to the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo festival. “We put bright panels around the center that were scary and inconsistent to add to the feeling because the whole thing was like a fever dream,” Paino said.

In the first episode of “The End of Us”, a scene from the epic movie “Dawn of the Wolf” can be seen in the bedroom of Joel’s daughter, Sarah. A poster for the series can be seen later when Ellie and Joel are walking through Boston. In “The Last of Us: Part II,” Ellie spied an old document for “Dawn of the Wolf II” while in Seattle.

“This is a nod to ‘Twilight,'” Paino said. “That’s an interesting thing to have and fun to be involved in.” Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that this is the second time “Dawn of the Wolf” has been featured in the show. “We have a theater that you don’t see much of in the first half, and people are pouring out of that, but it’s playing out there.”

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