Naughty Dog wanted to "change the industry" with The Last of Us

Neil Druckmann says his ambition for Ellie was to create "one of the coolest, non-sexualized female" protagonists and influence the industry at large.

Naughty Dog wanted to "change the industry" through its presentation of a "non-sexualized" female protagonist in The Last of Us, creative director Neil Druckmann has said.

Druckmann--who became a father during the development of The Last of Us--said it was no accident that Ellie was designed the way she was.

"I had this secret agenda," he said during a recent talk at the Toronto chapter of the International Game Developers Association attended by The Verge. "I wanted to create one of the coolest, non-sexualized female video game protagonists. And I felt that if we did that, there's an opportunity to change the industry. I know it sounds pretentious, but that was my goal."

Druckmann is bullish on the potential for AAA games with non-sexualized female protagonists to become more commonplace, and more commercially successful, in the future.

"I feel like AAA games… we're on this cusp of at the very least seeing strong, non-sexualized female protagonists starring in games," Druckmann said last week. "You're going to see a lot more of those, and a lot more that are commercially successful."

Naughty Dog's most recent game was The Last of Us, which was released exclusively for the PlayStation 3 in June. The developer is currently working on an undisclosed PlayStation 4 title.

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Discussion

571 comments
forcefactor13
forcefactor13

I want to cry after reading this. Then I scroll down and read the comments, and I want to cry for a different reason.

StupidDopeFresh
StupidDopeFresh

I think its great that Naughty Dog is doing this but I think they should have just done it and not talked about it, kept it a "secret agenda" and let in influence people subtly rather than overtly

ignis_sulphur
ignis_sulphur

cool you wanted to make a sexually unattractive female , ok . but i doubt she would be cool unless she is a action hero or psychopath .  What not's cool is libtarded preaching . You hate sexually attractive females ? Well why dont you plow yourself and move to Saudi Arabia land of the female freedom where all sexulization of  female body is illegal and women have all the rights in the world , NOOOOOOOOT!

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

Well. Better luck next time! But thanks for such an amazing experience, ND.

bawgs
bawgs

Who cares about all that? Where is the DLC info they promised us last month?

krolm
krolm

And what better way to change it than by making a third person shooter with zombies in it, yeah.... real different.

shanthjibu
shanthjibu

Ell....Ellen Page right? I sure would have a sexy time with Ellen Page

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

Why would you want to change the industry? Just do what you're doing and add variety. I play games as an escape and surrogate challenge for what modern society has taken away from me as a man, don't try to over-socialize the world with insecurities about what is considered the desired norm. Over complicating our primal desire and attraction to strong human specimens is only lying to yourself and others.

stuff238
stuff238

If I was a 14 year old boy, I would want to have sex with ellie. She is still attractive. So Naughty Dog failed in that regard.

Heck I'm 25 and I would still bang her. ****I'm burning my computer after this comment in fear of chris hanson and the FBI knocking at my door***** Just kidding, I'm canadian, and no one will be knocking on my door. It will take like a month before the RCMP makes it here on their horses LMAO.

AWDFTWEVO
AWDFTWEVO

Metroid did this. if you don't want a sexualized character fine. if you do, fine. if the game is good, I will buy it. case in point, bayonetta. all these guys and reviewers pushing their view that they were embarrassed to play it, because of the female lead. that game was awesome. keep your politics to yourself, and create the game you like.

godfather830
godfather830

I smell BS. Sure, Ellie was not "sexualized" in an overt manner, but she's still a pretty girl.

If you really want to change the world, then next time make a fat, short and ugly black girl the protagonist. Then I'll believe you.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

Because there have never been non-sexualised female protagonists before right? 

Congrats on changing the industry naughty dog.




abidx
abidx

The Last of Us was a great game; one of the best I played this year in fact.

But making a non-sexualized 14 year old isn't meant to be applauded, it's meant to be expected.

OneStrong2
OneStrong2

I'm sick and tired of this issue, particularly, the sexuality of women, being blown out of proportion in games. They're sexual, and often make more sex jokes than men. I'm sick of the paranoia of a certain constituency always making it seem far worse than it is. Give me a break already.....Sex is a part of life. All this making a mountain out of a molehill does is needlessly muddle the issue. 

snarple_basic
snarple_basic

Some strong words there considering visually she looks just like Juno actress Ellen Page.  I haven't played the game yet but I haven't been expecting such a cool character since she seems like a copy of a actor....  Does this mean this character is cooler then Ellen Page?  Does she drink orange juice much more then most people also?  Or was it just the visual essence they stole and went in another direction for the attitude.  I'm interested in playing the game but wasn't expecting so much from the girl character.

xhominid
xhominid

I'm sorry, but no, I can't take this level of pretentiousness...

I don't see what's so proud of making a 14 year old girl not sexualized or maybe, you know, make a female character that is sexualized...BUT HAVE CHARACTER. It's like some extreme level of cardinal sin these days that you can't have a sexualized female character anymore, it's honestly ridiculous.

Apparently, you can't have a character like Tifa Lockhart anymore because despite her having as much development as Cloud, she holds women back because she wears a sexualized outfit...This is honestly pathetic, come back when you do your goal with someone older or try what Kojima is trying with Quiet and maybe I'll respect you.

remysola
remysola

Dear Naughty Dog: First Release it for PC then we talk...

I hate platform exclusive crap.

Tielo1
Tielo1

Putting a minor in a game and do it non sexualizing way and praise yourself for it is a bit silly. Unlike Japanese developers that put huge breasted schoolgirls in their games the way ND does it is the only right way to do it.

I think the other female characters in The Last Of Us do a much better job to prove their point. But I think they succeeded in making an amazing AAA game that is meaningful and adult without the cheap  tricks most of these titles are guilty of.

Can't wait to hear on what titles both ND studios are working on for PS4.

Tielo1
Tielo1

Putting a minor in a game and non

marlobc
marlobc

kojima disagrees lol

OneHundredPunks
OneHundredPunks

A bit pretentious, but you can brag when you actually back it up, as he did with this game.

moxyz1
moxyz1

http://www.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn6wzM1Bwb8  saw this Last of Us comparison video yesterday comparing what they hyped and said was actual gameplay footage and what we actually got on release. I enjoyed the game myself 8/10  but removing things for release is wrong imo. Cough Aliens Colonial Marines . 

camichan
camichan

@frostbite2user Agreed. I enjoyed "being" Faith as much as I did Ellie. I think both were notable female protagonists. Ellie was less sexualized than Faith, but I think Mirror's Edge did make a contribution in a similar way to the Last of Us. Both are great games. I think Naughty Dog succeeded in a sense with their goal.

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

@godfather830 They're just trying to justify the new hipster trend in gaming, which is vulnerable little girls.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

@godfather830 There's a difference between having sex appeal and being sexualised. A female character can be attractive and not be sexualised.

Brine-
Brine-

@abidx Obviously. The real point is that they *could* have made her a sexualized 18 year old.

gretehe
gretehe

@xhominid 

We should all make a campaign against sexualized Men or that men die more than women in video games, or that men are usually the villan or that men are the psychos etc etc but wait, that's okay because they're men lol - jesus this industry is diving off a cliff.

xhominid
xhominid

@AyatollaofRnR @godfather830 There isn't really much of a difference...

You can have a sexualized female have a character in the same way a female with sex appeal have character. The only difference is the stupidity of those that believe it's all the character is despite the fact

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

@SexyJazzCat  Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite, Lara Croft in the most recent tombraider reboot, Femshep in Mass Effect, Princess Zelda, Jade from BG&E, Alex from Halflife, 

Ellen Page's Character in Beyond Two Souls, Lightning from final fantasy, Faith from Mirrors Edge.

Boom!

xhominid
xhominid

@SexyJazzCat @AyatollaofRnR Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite...The main from Remember Me...Laura Bow...the female protagonist of Broken Sword...Princess Zelda...If I can look through some more games, I can definitely find them

xhominid
xhominid

@Brine- @abidx And that's an issue...why? You honestly can't have your pie and eat it too? I mean, you can't make a sexualized character AND give her character on top of that or is this bizarro world where people honestly believe that it's impossible?

abidx
abidx

@Brine- @abidx fair point, but they would have had to change a lot of the emotional dynamics that are pretty fundamental to the story (and tbh a reason for the success). An eighteen year old running around with Joel just wouldn't have worked as well.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

@Brine- @abidx Well yes, but that would have had other implications as well, since Ellie being a child is fairly significant also.

xhominid
xhominid

@macca366 @xhominid @AyatollaofRnR @godfather830 Except there honestly isn't a difference...and if you want to be frank:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sexualize

By it's very definition, NONE of the DOA females or even most female characters people say ARE sexualized aren't. You either have to MAKE them sexual or they need an actual characteristic that can be described as sexy.

So he's technically right, people CAN sexualize Ellie as much as people sexualize Tifa, Mai, Nilin, Zelda, Peach, Kratos, Nathan Drake, etc.


macca366
macca366

@xhominid @AyatollaofRnR @godfather830 You don't get it. Sure Ellie could be considered attractive. But she's not presented in the same way as, say, the girls in Dead Or Alive. There is a difference between being attractive and being sexualised.

SexyJazzCat
SexyJazzCat

@AyatollaofRnR @SexyJazzCat Elizabeth with her cleavage, Lara Croft moaning in to the hearts of all prepubecent boys, Femshep humps everyone on her ship, Alex with dat ass, Lightning with her new boob physics. I'll give you faith.

Princess Zelda and Jade i would exonerate as their games aren't rated M. Might as well throw in Princess Peach and Cooking Mama in there.