Game director Bruce Straley thinks they did “an extraordinary job” in creating strong characters.
The Last of Us is being touted as one of the best games of all time. Even more path-breaking has been the inclusion of Ellie, the second protagonist whom Joel must accompany across the nation. Oddly enough, despite how loved she’s been, Naughty Dog has faced some backlash over the treatment of female characters in the game, especially those who had to be “rescued” so to speak.
Speaking to GamesBeat, game director Bruce Straley stated that, “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.
“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.
“We agree about all of those things. Every single one of those inequalities in the industry-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.”
Creative director Neil Druckmann stated that such discrepancies that people point out are a sign of things improving for the depiction of female characters overall. He also stated that, “How popular Ellie ended up being says a lot about whether games can sell with a female protagonist.”