Cordyceps: The Last of Us’ Apocalyptic Killer

With a “megaton” “mysterious and shocking PS3 exclusive title” set to be revealed next week at the Video Game Awards, Sony has begun to tease the unknown game, releasing a trailer called The Last of Us. Now, we’ve uncovered some more info about the game.

On the YouTube page of the video, one of the tags for the teaser is “cordyceps”, a type of killer fungus. But what exactly is cordyceps? In a BBC documentary, footage shows a fungus killing ants and other insects, and erupting from their body, sending spores out that infect even more insects:

The clip of the ants being infected is actually also shown on, as well as an picture from the video being used as a background image, providing further evidence that cordyceps are the cause of the apocalypse in the game.

In real life, cordyceps are actually used in Eastern medicine. The earliest use of the Cordyceps Mushroom dates back to 15th Century Tibet, but it is claimed that cordyceps have been used for thousands for years in China. Cordyceps have been used in scientific studies to help treat numerous life-threatening illnesses, including cancer. Extracts from mycelium and fruiting of several Cordyceps species showed significant anticancer activities through various means, including modulating immune system and inducing cell apoptosis. Cordyceps sinensis has also been used to protect the bone marrow and digestive systems of mice from whole body irradiation.

The importance of cordyceps in modern science points towards scientists creating a strain of the fungus designed for humans as some kind of cure, but then accidentally release the fungus upon the world.

But as apocalyptic as the fungus is, an organism that simply immobilizes a human and spreads spores doesn’t sound like the most interesting of enemies. Also tagged on the YouTube vid is “humanity”, “end of civilization”, “martial law”, “survival” and “riots”. The tagging of riots and martial law does seem to suggest that the actual threat in the game will be other humans, all desperately fighting for limited supplies – just like how in The Walking Dead, people are far more of a threat than zombies.

Of course, for now this is simply speculation – but if it turns out to be true, do you like the sound of the game? Let us know in the comments below.