HBO’s The Last of Us will remain faithful to the games that it’s based on, but it won’t be identical. “I have played The Last of Us about 12 times. I know how it ends. I love the journey. And we promise, there will be surprises along the way,” co-creator Craig Mazin said. “If you’ve played the game, I promise you there are things that you don’t know that are coming that will blow your mind.” One of the changes is how the Infected-causing virus that wipes out much of humanity spreads — say goodbye to spores; hello, tendrils.
One similarity between the much-anticipated TV show and games, however, is the fear you’ll feel after learning that the “Cordyceps brain infection,” which causes the civilization-destroying fungus, isn’t science-fiction gobbledygook; it’s a real thing.
Naughty Dog developers [the studio behind The Last of Us] created the idea for the Cordyceps brain infection after they were inspired by an episode of the BBC documentary Planet Earth titled “Jungles,” narrated by Sir David Attenborough. In the episode, it features an infected ant being killed by Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, as well as showing a variety of other insects and arachnids that were killed by different species of the fungus.
“It was all based on the idea that the more numerous a species becomes, the more likely it is to be preyed on by this fungus,” The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann told Mashable in 2013. Fortunately, the likelihood of fungus bursting through your skull is low.
That won’t stop me from adding this to my list of worst ways to die, however.
The Last of Us premieres on HBO on January 15.