Changes Made to The Last Of Us Show

After three years of hard work and over 37 million copies sold worldwide to date, The Last of Us is a game loved by the masses. A game where you discover what the term found family really means, this game leaves a lasting impact on anyone who follows the storyline. Neil Druckman, the writer of the story, worked alongside Naughty Dog in producing and releasing the game in 2013, as well as the recent television adaptation of the story. 

As of January 15th this year, episodes of the TV show The Last of Us, have been released each sunday at nine pm. However, some changes have been made to the story. 

In the setting of The Last of Us, the zombies formed by people getting infected by a cordyceps fungus, spread by breathing in spores or getting bitten by a zombie. After getting infected you have only a few hours until the fungus eventually takes over your brain and transforms you. In the game we see some iconic, noteworthy scenes which revolve around breathing in the spores. This left fans worried when creative writer, Craig Mazin, announced that spores would not be featured in the show. 

Mazin expressed that he was concerned with how realistic spores would be in the show. When playing the game, players enter certain rooms that are full of spores where they face enemies that typically inhabit those areas. However, in the real world spores work differently.

 “If we wanted to treat it realistically, and there are spores near, characters would wear gas masks all the time,” Mazin explained. 

As most would know, spores do not stop and start in sudden places. They typically are carried through the air and take up a much larger space than they do in the game. Due to this issue Craig was facing, he decided to use a different idea. Instead of breathable spores, the writers went with tendrils. 

Neil Druckman explained that when making the game and thinking of ideas for how the fungus should be spread, one idea that they decided against was tendrils. 

Tendrils resemble what fungi are like in real life. Certain species of fungi are spread throughout the ground and are able to feel when something is walking over it, similar to a motion sensor which is how tendrils were made to act. While they took out a well known obstacle in the game, Mazin and Druckman were able to incorporate a new one that is just as much of a challenge as the original. 

Apart from big changes to the original world of The Last of Us, the writers also changed some of the characters, giving them a more meaningful background. 

One of the first big obstacles players face in the game are the people. From the oppressive government force of FEDRA to the WLF, a militant-like group, everyone seems to be after the main character Joel. While driving along a road in the game, Joel comes across a man asking for help, however what comes next is unexpected. Players quickly come to find out there is a group of people who have overrun the government and are not keen on unexpected visitors. In the game these people are nothing more than an obstacle, the player learns very little about the group or who their leader is. However, in the show Mazin decided to expand on them. 

Instead of simply posing as an obstacle you have to beat, Mazin gave them a story to tell. Viewers find out what their cause is, why they are after Joel, who their leader is and what their backstories are. 

Mazin took the opportunity to give fans a stronger connection to the story they are seeing. Expanding on characters that were merely brushed past in the game introduces viewers to a whole new perspective of this post-apocalyptic world. Instead of having just one story of a man and a girl who he has to transport across the country, Mazin went above and beyond and gave the viewers so much more. While some fans of the game are upset with changes made to the story, Craig and Niel took The Last of Us and made it much more than what it already is, opening up the fanbase to thousands more people. Mazin wrote a show with a significant amount of depth to each character you encounter, and an entirely different experience than the game.

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