The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

David Hughes consulted in production of post-apocalyptic video game "The Last of Us"

Sony and video game developer Naughty Dog have consulted Huck Institutes affiliate David Hughes in making their new PlayStation game "The Last of Us," set in a post-apocalyptic world brought on by a Cordyceps-type fungus pandemic.

"In 'The Last of Us,' the developers at Naughty Dog Studios and Sony have gravitated towards the ever-popular dystopian view where civilization is devastated by some nasty infectious disease," said Dr. Hughes, a professor of entomology and biology at Penn State. "It was therefore a wonderful opportunity to teach them and their audience about pandemics and zoonotic diseases which are transmitted to humans from animals. It was also, of course, great to tell them about Cordyceps unilateralis – the fungus our lab works on in rain forests which was the inspiration for the game."

David Hughes is co-funded by the Huck Institutes as a faculty member of the Ecology graduate program and a researcher in the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics and Center for Brain, Behavior and Cognition.


Watch some videos, below, of David discussing the biology behind "The Last of Us," and read a write-up of the game and its scientific accuracy on The Gamers Hub.

Sony documentary

Presentation in London