*Warning: Spoilers ahead for “The Last of Us” below!*
The giraffe scene in “The Last of Us” — a pivotal and emotional moment that occurs during the post-apocalyptic survival game — was re-created using a real giraffe for Sunday’s season finale of the hit HBO show.
The scene, in which Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) meet a giraffe in the remains of Salt Lake City, was re-created using a “combination of a VFX stage, scenery and location shoot with real giraffes from the Calgary Zoo,” according to the show’s Twitter account.
In the game, the iconic scene symbolizes one of its darkest periods, when Ellie begins to recover emotionally after falling into a deep state of depression. During the heartwarming scene, Joel and Ellie feed the massive animal, making a new friend before continuing their journey.
The moment marks one of the most popular scenes in the game series since its launch nearly a decade ago.
Explaining why the show’s team chose to forgo using CGI, production designer John Paino told Variety: “I’m sure Alex Wang, visual effects supervisor, could have made a CGI giraffe if we had the time.”
“The trainers worked to get [giraffes] to eat out of a stranger’s hand. So, when Ellie and Joel walk up at the enclosure, that’s the giraffe eating those branches of food,” Paino added.
Many fans sharing their thoughts on Twitter initially assumed that the giraffe was 100% computer-generated. However, viewers quickly realized that there was nothing simulated about the towering creature.
On the other hand, some viewers called out the beloved scene on social media for not closely resembling the video game.
Last month, HBO announced that “The Last of Us” had been renewed for a second season amid the series’ massive success.
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