The Last of Us HBO show changes how the fungus spreads

The Last of Us HBO clicker
(Image credit: HBO)

While it's generally expected that The Last of Us HBO show will be faithful to the games, we're now learning of a fairly significant change the creators felt was necessary for the sake of realism.

In a new interview with Comicbook (opens in new tab), series co-creator Craig Mazin revealed that in the TV series, the fungus that turns human beings into flesh-eating monsters won't spread through the air like it does in the games.

"Obviously, there are some big things that we know we're keeping, of course, but then there are challenges from the game to the show that had to be considered," Mazin said. "For instance, little things like the spores. In the game, there are these where you encounter spores and you need to put a gas mask on. In the world that we're creating, if we put spores in the air, it would be pretty clear that they would spread around everywhere and everybody would have to wear a mask all the time and probably everybody would be completely infected by that point. 

So, we challenged ourselves to come up with an interesting new way for the fungus to spread, but mostly I think we just connected with the soul and spirit of the game. He, as the creator of the game, and me, as a fan of the game, we were caretakers on behalf of all the fans but also on behalf of all the people who haven't played the game who need a television experience that is holistic and connected to itself and doesn't feel like you need to play a game to understand."

The discourse around HBO's adaptation of The Last of Us, specifically with regards to how closely it sticks to the games, has been loud these last couple of weeks. Recently, The Last of Us director and the TV series' co-creator Neil Druckmann told our sister publication SFX that the adaptation tones down the violence, but a couple days later he said it would be "the best, most authentic game adaptation." Then, earlier this week he said The Last of Us show wouldn't hit the same snaggles as Game of Thrones did in its final few seasons because it won't diverge from the games' story.

However, in subtle contrast, the show's co-creator Craig Mazin has let slip a couple of the ways the show differs from the games. In addition to this new detail about the spores, he said just a couple of days ago that HBO is "telling more story" and that "there is so much in-between."

In the grand scheme of things, and especially compared to a show like Game of Thrones, a tweak like the one Mazin teased today is pretty mild. There's still no indication The Last of Us series won't be faithful to the original story, and frankly, it's unsurprising that they're adding onto and gently conforming the source material for a completely new format.

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Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.