The Last of Us Part 2 was one of many huge games that ended up releasing last year. The much anticipated sequel was largely beloved critically, cleaning up in the major end of the year awards, but the discourse around it (especially online) felt far more polarizing. There was a lot of reasons for that, far too many to get into all at once, but some came from the reaction to a new character, and the voice behind that character recalls the hatred this character garnered.
If somehow you’d avoided spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2, turn back now, as major spoilers are ahead.
In an extensive interview with Game Informer, prolific voice actor Laura Bailey talked about the role. Abby Anderson was largely hidden from the marketing in the lead up to the game’s launch. Though she’d been featured in trailers, no one knew who she was, what her role would be in the story, nor the fact that half of the game would see her in a playable role.
However, the game saw a high profile leak before its launch, which revealed all of this, leading to a lot of backlash before the game even hit store shelves. Bailey reflects on that, saying that a lot of the hate for the character built up from those second hand spoilers, so she knew a lot of that would trickle down. Still, she says she was surprised at how visceral the response was in the end, a large part due to missing context and the lack of ability to actually see and play through Abby’s side of the story.
“I knew that there would be backlash for sure,” Bailey said. “I knew that I was going to get some hate. I didn’t anticipate the extent.
“It was the perfect storm. I think the leaks had a lot to do with it. If your first experience with that had been in the game, and then you kept moving forward, you would have had the growth and understanding. But the leaks came out a couple months in advance; you had months of people forming barriers and forming walls before they were able to understand Abby’s side of it, and therefore a lot of people never were able to.”
Ultimately, though, she said she was proud of her performance and thinks it was one of the better and more challenging characters in her long career. The character definitely changed up the series in an unexpected way, regardless of what one thinks of her, that much is undeniable.