They did say that The Last of Us series on HBO Max was going to be taking some creative liberties, and they’re starting to become more apparent before the premiere. One huge change was going to be that the cordyceps would spread through tendrils and not spores (like in the game), and showrunner Craig Mazin explains this would have been the more scientifically grounded way for the infection to spread in television.
Talking to Extraordinerd (via @NaughtyDogInfo), Mazin reveals:
“In reality, if the fungus did spread that way through spores, everybody would be wearing masks all the time, because spores don’t sit in one spot; they go everywhere. And honestly, if cordyceps did spread by spores, in reality I think everybody would be infected within a few hours—We can’t run away from air.”
In an interview with Extraordinerd, Craig Mazin revealed why the decision to remove spores from HBO's The Last of Us was made. pic.twitter.com/66NkjcqDUj
— Naughty Dog Info (@NaughtyDogInfo) January 9, 2023
Though the Last of Us show is going to have less gasmasks than the game, Mazin does say that the new way of infection is considered scarier by the people making the show. He continues:
“So we wanted to come up with a different vector of infection; a different way that the infection passed through, and again, talking to scientists, we came up with a slightly different method that honors the game, feels very similar to the game, and in really important ways—biting matters, but it’s not incompatible with the way fungi actually work; and in truth I think we thought it was actually scarier.”
For now, there are those who already think the change is terrible, but there are some that agree that the change is more scientifically accurate when it comes to the nature of the cordyceps.
If anything, Mazin is an amazing writer, and I can’t wait to see what he and original game director Neil Druckmann have brought to the show.
Catch The Last of Us when it premieres on HBO Max on Jan. 16.