How Did the Apocalypse Start in The Last of Us? Explained

One of the things that we know about The Last of Us is that this series is a post-apocalyptic storyline that’s based on the successful video game franchise from PlayStation Studios and Naughty Dog. That means that the storyline focuses on the state of the world right after an apocalyptic event caused by something that caused people to go mindless. But how did the apocalypse start in The Last of Us?

The apocalypse in The Last of Us started when a fungal infection called the Cordyceps Brain Infection caused the majority of the population to become mindless slaves to the fungi. This began 20 years before the events of the game and the series. The infection can be caused by a bite or exposure to spores.

While we’ve seen a lot of post-apocalyptic games and series, The Last of Us seems to be unique in the sense that it doesn’t follow the usual zombie apocalypse that has become quite common today. That is why the storyline of The Last of Us is a lot more unique than most other apocalyptic storylines. So, with that said, let’s look at how the apocalypse in The Last of Us started.

How Did The Apocalypse Start In The Last Of Us?

The Last of Us is set to become one of the biggest releases on HBO, and fans are now excited to see what’s in store for them in the series. Of course, the one thing that people already know about The Last of Us is that this storyline takes place in a world that has been ravaged by an event that devastated the population and basically caused human society to crumble.

Based on the hit video game series from PlayStation Studios and Naughty Dog, The Last of Us has a clear storyline that has already been established by the video games. Nevertheless, the live-action adaptation seeks to expand the storyline to make it more accessible to both non-fans and fans of the game. And, as mentioned, it isn’t a secret that the storyline takes place in a post-apocalyptic world.

That means that the world where The Last of Us is set has already been destroyed and is no longer the same as the one we know now. People no longer live in conventional cities and are now cooped up in quarantine zones where life is tough and has become a shell of its former self. So, what caused the apocalyptic scene in The Last of Us?

As said, The Last of Us was adapted from the video game of the same title, and that means that the cause of the apocalypse is similar. In the video game series, the story first takes place in 2013 (2003 in the live-action series) as people were living their lives normally until the military started taking over due to an event that had caused people to go wild and savage. That was when Joel lost his daughter, as he and the other survivors spent the next 20 years in a world that has become far different from the one that they used to know.

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Outside of the quarantine zones, cities all over the world have now been plagued by infected and mutated humans that were transformed into monsters by something called the Cordyceps Brain Infection (CBI). It is the CBI that is responsible for devastating the human population and causing normal society to crumble down into a shell of its former self.

In video games, the CBI is said to have originated in South America before making its way to major populations all over the world. Meanwhile, in the series, it is possible that the virus originated in Indonesia, as that was what we saw in recent rumors regarding the series. In the game, it was mentioned in passing that the goods that came from South America quite possibly carried the fungus to major population centers around the world.

What Is The Cordyceps Brain Infection?

Those who played the video games would know that the CBI is central to the plot and storyline of The Last of Us because how it is the cause of the events that led to the story of the games. However, unlike other post-apocalyptic series that follow characters that are actively trying to solve the post-apocalyptic situation, The Last of Us doesn’t include characters that are looking to find a way to stop the spread of the virus. Instead, the characters are simply trying to live and survive, and that’s why details regarding the CBI can be easy to miss.

Basically, the CBI is a fungal outbreak that is caused by the Cordyceps fungus. Infected people can spread this infection to other people by biting them. However, people can also get exposed to this infection if they get exposed to spores. People who are infected go through different stages that allow them to mutate and transform into mindless creatures that will attack people and are actually controlled by the fungus.

In that regard, the creatures in The Last of Us aren’t zombies but are living people that end up becoming mutated creatures due to the effects of the CBI. That is why this storyline isn’t a zombie series but is actually one that is similar to zombie storylines but is still quite unique in its own way.

The problem in The Last of Us is that the infection is fungal in nature, and that means that there is no virus or bacteria that the body can fight. Basically, there is no cure for CBI as this is caused by a fungus that takes over the human body. What’s scarier is that there is no vaccine for the pandemic as well.

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But the thing that needs to be known about the CBI is that this is actually based on a real-life infection that can affect insects. In nature, we have something called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which is a fungal parasite that can infect an insect and allow it to control its brain. However, because the fungus wants to make sure that its host is alive, it allows it to feed while it is feeding on the host’s body itself. That is why there is a need for the fungus to control the brain and the movements of the insect itself as it needs the host to stay alive for the fungus to stay alive as well.

In real life, the victims of the fungus go through drastic physical changes that allow the cordyceps to overtake the infected body. This is why the infected humans in The Last of Us also undergo physical changes as well.

However, the real-life cordyceps fungus isn’t capable of infecting human beings. In The Last of Us, however, the fungus underwent an evolution that allowed it to mutate into something that could now affect human beings in a manner that’s similar to how it affects insects. As such, in both the games and the series, the human population was decimated and regular society was destroyed due to how fast the infection spread from one person to another.

  • Ysmael is a self-professed geek that loves anything related to fantasy, sci-fi, video gaming, and anime. Spends his free time watching movies, TV shows and gaming, a lot.