Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s words have been badly changed: “Spores, spores everywhere, and not a drop of a vaccine.” In The Last of Us, the main problem for humanity is trying to survive in a dystopian world where a fungus called “cordyceps” has gotten into people’s bodies and turned them into crazed zombie killers who have killed 60% of the population.
In the 2013 video game, which was a huge hit, these spores were in the air. If you breathed the sick people’s air, there’s a good chance you’d get sick too.
But this is one important thing that has changed in the series, and fans were quick to notice. On The Last of Us Reddit page, one person said, “I did find the spores to be a really unique part of the cordyceps fungi and the overall infected in the universe. It set TLOU apart from a lot of other zombie media,” said one person. “I hate this change,” said another. I know it’s too soon to say, but I hate it.”
But there was a good reason why the movie didn’t show that the infection could be breathed in. Neil Druckmann, the game’s writer and creative director, told Collider, “In the game, there were spores in the air and people had to wear gas masks. We decided early on that we didn’t want to do that for the show.” In the end, those talks brought us to these tendrils.
Then I was thinking about how the infection spreads from one person to another, and how, like fungus, it could grow into a network of connections. It became very scary to think that they were all working together against us, which was a theme I liked that the show developed.
Craig Mazin has already worked on a movie called “Chernobyl,” in which the actors had to spend a lot of time in hazmat suits. If they stuck to the source material, the actors would have to wear gas masks again, which wouldn’t be very interesting to watch.
He told Comicbook.com, “There are parts of the game where you come across spores and have to put on a gas mask. If we put spores in the air in the world we’re making, it seems likely that they would spread everywhere. Everyone would have to wear a mask all the time, and most likely everyone would be infected by then. So, we gave ourselves the task of coming up with a new way for the fungus to spread. I think we mostly just got in touch with the heart and soul of the game.”
So, the actors in masks didn’t make any Darth Vader-like noises, and the only heavy breathing you’ll hear in the series is your own.