‘Last of Us’ Creators Surprised by Fan Reaction to Gender Roles

Naughty Dog creative leads Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley expressed surprise at fan reaction to gender roles in its hit PlayStation 3 exclusive game, The Last of Us. In an extensive interview with GamesBeat, the duo expressed discomfort at the game they created being used as a jump-off point for criticism of the video games industry as it relates to gender roles.

"We were surprised by some of the criticism of our use or execution of the female roles inside of the game, and some of the backlash that we got from it," Straley told GamesBeat. "I think we did an extraordinary job of creating strong characters–men, women, black, white, gay, straight. We're just trying to create completely fleshed-out characters. Yet somehow we were used as a soapbox or something for people to stand on and say that there are still problems with the industry."

Druckmann said that the industry is heading towards a "sexism valley" where progress on the issue will make remaining problems within in the industry stand out even more.

"There have been a lot of articles pointing to the positive aspects of the women and other characters. I think that there's a little bit of a sexism valley, for lack of a better term, like the uncanny valley," Druckmann said. "The more progress we make, the more those problems stand out. I get that people are going to want to pick things apart."

Straley does think it is important that discussions on these important issues continue.

"It's good to have the conversation. We agree about all of those things. Every single one of those inequalities in the industry," Straley said. "We need to have that discussion and we need to be more mature about our approach to the medium. It was just odd, the way it felt like our game was being used in that way. I mean, think of all the games you could use instead of The Last of Us."

Finally Druckmann addressed The Last of Us' three-week sales total of 3.4 million copies, noting that his company built the game they wanted to before worrying about it being a commercial success.

"Also, how popular Ellie ended up being says a lot about whether games can sell with a female protagonist," Druckmann said.

You can read the entire interview on GamesBeat.

Source: GameSpot


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  1. 0
    quiknkold says:

    I know! A female lead would be great, and with the franchise having its 3 protagonists in 5, why not a female lead? Rockstar likes to mimic movies, so heres some movies/comics/tv to mimic with strong street level female characters : Sin City, Kill Bill, La Femme Nikita, Carla Soprano from the Sopranos, Elektra Nachios, Foxy Brown, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  2. 0
    GrimCW says:

    Or even a customizable one like Saints Row and many other games have.

    The only downside is needing either a set surname, main name, or some other name that they can use to keep the story interactive, but include it in a script.

    but it is entirely possible, and been done many times.

  3. 0
    quiknkold says:

    Any Criticism towards Last of Us based on its gender Roles is just STUPID and I bet they never played it. You could easily swap Joel or Ellie's gender and you'd get the exact same game. You have an older person, trying to protect a younger person, while also teaching a younger person. I swear they are trying to find excuses now to make complaints. We live in an age where there are more female leads than ever. Samus, Peach, a Percentage of Commander Shepard, Lara Croft, Chell, Every major female character in Final Fantasy, The girl from Remember Me which is a game I've sadly neglected, gender options in fallout or elder scrolls or any mmo,  the Siren in Borderlands, any JRPG, Jill Valentine.

    Come to me when you have a legitimate beef with a game that really does have this problem, like GTA. I'd pay good money for a female protagonist in that. 

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