If we woke up tomorrow to find ourselves in the midst of a Last of Us style outbreak, it turns out our chances of survival would be virtually nonexistent.
I’m sure most of us figured this anyway, but a team of actual experts have now gotten together to tell us that a Cordcyeps outbreak would fuck everything a lot more than Naughty Dog’s seminal post-apocalyptic adventure claims it would.
Obviously, I’m more inclined to go with the boffins.
Benjamin Thompson of The Microbiology Society put together a great video for the Wellcome Trust, in which he hosts a discussion between a panel of experts.
In it, they debate how The Last of Us’ deadly infection would go down in reality, as well as how the UK government would respond, and how quickly a cure or vaccine could be found.
If you’ve yet to play The Last of Us, then there are some pretty big spoilers ahead (and also, shame on you).
The 15 minute video is genuinely fascinating stuff, and well worth a watch – check it out below.
It’s pretty depressing to realise that even the world shown in The Last of Us isn’t as bad as the world we’d end up in – but this is the biggest kick in the teeth, for my money.
The entire game hinges on the idea that Ellie (who is immune to Cordyceps) could be used as a catalyst to make a cure.
Unfortunately, vaccinologist Christine Rollier states that it just wouldn’t be possible to reverse-engineer Ellie’s antibodies to create something that could combat the spread.
Then again, Rollier has never been stuck in a world full of infected monsters, so maybe the motivation just ain’t there.
So, the cheery takeaway from this article is: No matter how depressing you think The Last of Us is, it would be about 50 times worse in reality… Yay.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.