The Last of Us TV series has slowly introduced us to the infected at various stages of their sickness. In the horror series, a fungus called cordyceps got into the food supply and, combined with global warming, was able to infect the brains of those who consumed the food, who then went on to infect others through bites. So, like zombies — but don’t call the infected zombies.
So far, we’ve come across runners, stalkers, clickers, and bloaters. But in the videogame The Last of Us Part 2, it’s revealed there was one further stage of infection known as the ‘rat king.’ Inspired by the real-life phenomenon, where rats would get their tails tangled together and move as a collective, The Last of Us’ rat-king is an anomaly where multiple stalkers, clickers, and a bloater are fused together by the cordyceps fungus and move as a collective.
“Even during development of the first game, we were thinking about what two infected stuck together would look like,” says Anthony Newman, co-director of The Last of Us 2, told Games Radar in an interview. “Visually, it was just a really exciting idea.”
Kurt Margenau, co-director added, “I think Resident Evil is probably the limit for us in terms of how crazy we want to go. The reason that we entertained the idea of these infected fused together is because there’s history in our canon of what happens to them when they sit around for a really long time.”
With The Last of Us season 2 already being confirmed by HBO, it’s likely we’ll be introduced to this horrifying The Last of Us character in the next chapter of Joel and Ellie‘s story. In the meantime, check out our The Last of Us TV series episode 6 recap, and our guides explaining FEDRA and the Fireflies.