Naughty Dog insisted on female testers for The Last of Us

The marketing company responsible for focus testing the apocalyptic game ignored female gamers; suggested removing Ellie from box art.


The Last of Us was originally intended to be focus tested only on a male audience, Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckman revealed in an interview with The Escapist.

The oversight came not from the studio creating the game, but rather from a seemingly "girls don't play video games" attitude from an unnamed research firm given the job of managing focus testing during development.

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"Another aspect that influences how a game is promoted is focus testing. Players are rounded up and are asked to view materials and answer some quantitative and qualitative questions about it," Druckman explained. "My big surprise during this process [was] that the research group wasn't planning on focus testing female gamers--it's something we had to specifically request. I hope this is a relic of the past that will soon go away."

The article went on to suggest that the marketing firm even allegedly went as far as to recommended moving co-main character Ellie to the back of the game box. Naughty Dog ignored the advice, instead placing her alongside Joel on the front of the game's packaging.

The Last of Us was previously scheduled to arrive on May 7, but was last month delayed five weeks to a June 14 launch. Naughty Dog explained at the time that due to the "massive" nature of the game's story, the extra development time was needed to "ensure every detail" was up to the developer's standards.

A demo for The Last of Us is in the works, with owners of God of War: Ascension receiving first access.

For more on The Last of Us, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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