The Last of Us concept art explains how virus-spreading 'Tendrils' could work in HBO show

The Last of Us
(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

Concept art from the first The Last of Us game may give us an insight into how the virus is spread in the upcoming The Last of Us TV show

We already know from the TV show's co-creator Craig Mazin that The Last of Us HBO show changes how the fungus spreads. Rather than spores - which require the characters in the game to wear gas masks to avoid being infected - we may be getting a new kind of vector currently known as 'Tendrils'. This news comes from a recent Collider (opens in new tab) interview with Mazin and fellow co-creator Neil Druckmann who give more information about the Cordyceps virus in the show. 

"With the more recently infected, we had a lot of conversation about what that vector could look like because there are certain things from the game that we took away," Druckmann explains. "The game had spores in the air and people had to wear gas masks, and we decided, early on, that we didn’t wanna do that for the show. Eventually, those conversations led us to these tendrils," the series creator adds. 

It's not been revealed exactly how these Tendrils will act or even what they'll look like in the upcoming show, however, as spotted by one Reddit user (opens in new tab) (via Naughty Dog Central (opens in new tab)), the idea of Tendrils has actually been in mind way before the HBO show existed. Traces of the Tendrils can be found in concept art for the first The Last of Us game. 

According to sketches found in the 'The Art of The Last of Us' art book, this enemy is made up of several infected people all clumped together, similar to The Rat King from The Last of Us 2. The illustrations also have a few notes beside them including: "walks on two legs pulling the body forward", "head is wrapped in tendrils, is severed and dragged by spine", tendrils slither along the ground looking for hosts", and "heat sensitive fruiting bodies look for hosts to inseminate." So yeah, these creatures are pretty terrifying. 

It isn't just concept art where these mysterious monsters can be found. Mentions of the Tendrils can be found in a scrapped voice line, also spotted by Naughty Dog Central (opens in new tab). The clip sounds like a conversation between Ellie, Tess, and Joel where the trio discusses this kind of infected. The exchange starts with Joel saying: "Tendrils" before Ellie asks what they are and Tess replies: "The fungus. It grows these… tendrils. Smallest touch and they snap back like a whip, and can break your arm." 

Wondering what else we have to look forward to? Take a look at our upcoming video game movies list.  

Hope Bellingham
News Writer

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.