“That wasn’t the case for us”: Todd Howard Unveils Why Adapting Fallout Poses Greater Difficulty Than The Last of Us, Garnering Further Respect for Jonathan Nolan

The Amazon Prime Video series began streaming on April 10.

“That wasn’t the case for us”: Todd Howard Reveals Why Adapting Fallout is More Difficult Than The Last of Us That’ll Make You Respect Jonathan Nolan Even More

Video game developer Todd Howard has been looking forward to a cinematic adaptation of the game Fallout for over fifteen years. The developer reportedly thought of Jonathan Nolan after seeing his work on The Dark Knight and wished for him to adapt the beloved video game franchise to TV. His wish came true, as Amazon Prime Video’s Fallout recently began streaming.

Fallout is another video game adaptation that is getting positive reviews like last year’s Pedro Pascal starrer, The Last of Us. Howard mentioned that he loved The Last of Us as a game too, and had immediately thought how it would be as a movie. However, with Fallout, the team had to go in a different direction than the games as it was an open-world video game.

Todd Howard Waited For A Decade To Get Fallout Adapted To TV

Ella Purnell in FalloutElla Purnell in Fallout

Video game adaptations have always been a tough nut to crack for filmmakers. Many adaptations such as Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted have been victims of bad writing and have not been successful. However, things seem to be changing with more adaptations such as last year’s The Last Of Us, and now with Amazon Prime’s Fallout.

Fallout is one of the most popular open-world games, with four main games and multiple spin-offs. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic future that has been influenced by the post-war culture of ‘50s America. The first game was released in 1997. A fifth game, Fallout 5, was also announced (via IGN).

A still from Todd Howard's FalloutA still from Todd Howard’s Fallout

Todd Howard, who developed the game, reportedly began working towards an adaptation of the game in 2009. The game had reportedly been tapped to be adapted into a film for Interplay’s film division but the movie never materialized. While Howard was working on it, he reportedly came across Jonathan Nolan’s work and wished to work with him. He told Filmfare,

“I remember my first meeting on something like this and kind of just took a long view and I was such a fan of the work that Jonathan had done both in movies with Dark Knight and Interstellar and then seeing Westworld. He had done a couple of interviews where he had mentioned video games and one of the games that I had done…Then somebody reached out and we connected and we hit it off right away.”

Howard mentioned how he and Nolan connected immediately and that the former felt that he was the right person and creative partner to develop the show with. Jonathan Nolan developed the show along with Lisa Joy, with Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner being showrunners.

Why Was Fallout More Difficult To Pull Off Than The Last Of Us?

A still from The Last of UsA still from The Last of Us

Unlike other video game adaptations, Jonathan Nolan’s Fallout does not adapt the story of any particular game in the series. Instead, the show is set in the same world as the game and follows the original story of a vault dweller who comes to the surface for the first time and sees the real world. The show stars Ella Purnell and Walter Goggins in lead roles.

Todd Howard mentioned that it was harder to adapt something like Fallout, which is an open-world game, and that they had to take the creative route of developing an original story instead of following the games. Howard compared the show to last year’s successful The Last of Us, which was lauded for its faithfulness to the source material. Howard told Filmfare,

“Last Of Us’ story is so strong, you kind of could see that, ‘Okay, this would make a good movie.’ The game just works if you go on YouTube and just watch the game cutscenes. That wasn’t the case for us. Open worlds are very hard to translate, which is why we took the approach that we did.”

Howard also mentioned how video game adaptations were getting better by the day as the creatives who were in charge of adapting them were people who had played the games and had grown to love them.

Fallout is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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