The Last of Us 2 Co-Game Director Explains the Origins of the Rat King's Name

The Last of Us 2 features its fair share of creatively dreadful enemy designs, thanks to the tragic Cordyceps brain infection that behaves as the franchise's atmospheric backdrop. The Last of Us 2's infected opponents are given names that only make logical sense for their classification apart from one another, though one particular monstrosity was given a more unique name. Please note that this article will contain some SPOILERS for The Last of Us 2.

Clickers, bloaters, and shamblers, for example, all have distinct names and classifications because they appear frequently throughout The Last of Us 2 as infected enemy types. However, one infected enemy only appears once during a single boss battle in The Last of Us 2, and it's aptly named as distinguishable from the rest. Kurt Margenau, a co-game director on The Last of Us 2, recently shared an interesting fact about one of the game's most grisly foes.

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Margenau shared that the Rat King's name was never intentionally meant to be the Rat King, at least not publicly. The name "Rat King" is not spoken anywhere in-game, but Margenau explains that its interal name during development was, in fact, the Rat King, which led to its official name. It was instead Naughty Dog's intention not to have to name it, perhaps for an added mystique, but the studio ended up having to "have a label for it in the Model Viewer." It then seems as though Naughty Dog went with its internal name for the Cordyceps malformation rather than turning to the drawing board for a new, arbitrary name.

The Rat King is a gruesome Cordyceps fungus amalgamation made up of different infected types melded together. Abby encounters the Rat King beneath the WLF-occupied hospital in Seattle and a boss battle ensues during a horrifying and tense sequence. But as players learn, this creature is not a natural adaptation of the fungus infection and may perhaps be its own unique concoction from very early in the stages of outbreak in Seattle.

While the Rat King's origins and art design has been marveled over, it appears as though the creature's name was less of a thrilling revelation. Regardless, the Rat King's name has stuck nicely and perfectly separates it from its other infected enemy counterparts.

The Last of Us 2 is available now on PS4.

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