The Last Of Us' Bloater Was Created In Part By Gollum Designer

The Weta VFX veteran known for The Lord of the Rings contributed to the development of the Bloater.


As it turns out, HBO's The Last of Us TV series is connected--in a way--to the popular The Lord of the Rings series. The connection doesn't stem from an in-game Easter egg or anything like that. But it's come to light that one of the main designers of Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, Gino Acevedo, designed the Bloater from The Last of Us. This story contains spoilers for The Last of Us.

Speaking to, Weta FX supervisor Simon Jung said Acevedo was "heavily involved" in bringing the Bloater to life. "He figured out all the proportions and some of the growths," Jung said.

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Acevedo worked off reference materials from the video game and elements from the prosthetic suit that the actor who played the Bloater was wearing. Naughty Dog also shared previously unreleased concept art with Weta VFX, Jung said.

Weta animation supervisor Dennis Yoo said The Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin is "such a fan" of The Lord of the Rings, so the connections to the fantasy series continue.

The Bloater was a combination of a human actor wearing a prosthetic suit and CG elements. Jung said the design is "haunting," and indeed, fans agreed it was a majorly scary reveal when the creature emerged out of a hole in Episode 5.

The Bloater reveal was one of multiple major moments from Episode 5, which also saw an infected brutally killing the character Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey). Earlier in the episode, the tragic story of brothers Sam (Keivonn Woodard) and Henry (Lamar Johnson) played out, ending in a horrific manner.

Weta FX worked on six of the nine episodes in The Last of Us Season 1. In total, the New Zealand-based effects studio created 456 shots for The Last of Us. It was one of more than a dozen VFX studios that contributed to The Last of Us, which had about 250 visual effects shots per episode, according to TechCrunch.

The Last of Us Season 2 is in the works and could be released in late 2024 or early 2025. Game director Neil Druckmann, who also works on the show, plainly stated that Season 3 is also in the works. This is no big surprise, though, as both Druckmann and showrunner Craig Mazin have said the events of The Last of Us Part II will not be squeezed into one season.

The Last of Us reached more viewers than House of the Dragon, so it's clearly a very big deal for HBO. For more, check out GameSpot's rundown of everything we know about The Last of Us Season 2.

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