Meeting Ellie: How an NPC Became the Face of the Game

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Meeting Ellie: How an NPC Became the Face of the Game

The Last of Us isn't even on store shelves, but fans are already in love with Ellie.

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I can see this. It reminds me of the incorrect and irrational adoration for Clem from "The Walking Dead" game.

Dont get me wrong, I like Clem and all, but the adoration is entirely too much and it isnt actually merited.

Joel looks too much like Nathan Drake. I can't unsee it.

The relationship in the Last of Us looks really good though. I hate any horror elements at all, but darn everything about this game seems impressive. So gorgeous too

Crazy idea: If the game does well make Ellie the main character in the sequel!

Just the idea of having AI help that's not a complete joke and flaw of the game, or so unstoppable that he/they take all the fun out of a fight, is a beautiful thing. Theoretically beautiful at this point. But still, isn't it about time?

Did I mention how much I want this game? Like, so freakin' bad?

Every time I hear more about this game, I just want it even more. Just 14th just can't come quickly enough.

...Dammit, I am THIS close to preordering it from EB games for mail delivery, and I typically don't like doing that.

aegix drakan:
Did I mention how much I want this game? Like, so freakin' bad?

Every time I hear more about this game, I just want it even more. Just 14th just can't come quickly enough.

...Dammit, I am THIS close to preordering it from EB games for mail delivery, and I typically don't like doing that.

I'd be at EB Games, now, preordering it, but I'm a bit broke at the moment. Soon...

I'll probably get it off PSN though, if they release it day one there.

Sartan0:
Crazy idea: If the game does well make Ellie the main character in the sequel!

I could totally see that if they pull a Walking Dead, or it being selectable if not.

G3:
Just the idea of having AI help that's not a complete joke and flaw of the game, or so unstoppable that he/they take all the fun out of a fight, is a beautiful thing. Theoretically beautiful at this point. But still, isn't it about time?

This is what will make or break the game -- how well Ellie functions as an AI character, but it looked pretty impressive at PAX East. Already preordered it from my local GameStop, can't wait for it to come out. I'd have already preordered Remember Me too, but it allegedly will have a PC release and I want to see if it ends up on Steam.

Every single thing I hear about this game makes me sad. It looks so good and I don't think I'll ever be able to play it, not for quite a long time at least. I don't think I've ever wanted a game to be multi-platform more. :(

Schadrach:

This is what will make or break the game -- how well Ellie functions as an AI character, but it looked pretty impressive at PAX East. Already preordered it from my local GameStop, can't wait for it to come out. I'd have already preordered Remember Me too, but it allegedly will have a PC release and I want to see if it ends up on Steam.

I'm with you on this, and it's not just this game. I find myself playing fewer games now as the variability of the environments or characters is so limited. Most of the development budgets just go to overdone graphics. Played one modern tactical shooter, played one space-station FPS, played one magic and sorcery epic, played them all to a point.

I rarely pay full price unless I'm sure I'll get something new.

Ellie strikes me as a young L4Dead Zoey, or Zoey's daughter. The look, some of the dialogue.

I am looking forward to this game.

I can't help but feel that I would rather play as Ellie. She seems like a much more interesting character than Joel to the point where I'd rather he be the tag along. It could be a more interesting dynamic especially given that Eliie is painted as the knowledgable and brave character.

viranimus:
I can see this. It reminds me of the incorrect and irrational adoration for Clem from "The Walking Dead" game.

Dont get me wrong, I like Clem and all, but the adoration is entirely too much and it isnt actually merited.

Can you point out a few better developed child characters? Just curious, as it's rare enough that I like a kid that's driving the plot, but I can scarce think of a paternal relationship that worked as well in a game as Telltale's did.

Did anyone else come in here thinking fat Ellie from borderlands 2 wondering how the hell that happened?

Yes not making them family gives it a twist, and a post apocalyptic that isn't grey is lovely but to me boils down to:

Horror survival with possible zombie elements.

Sorry, it may look pretty but I'm out!

While I think the game looks great and I can't wait to play it, I can't help but wonder at the reaction if Ellie was a boy. Most if not all games that feature the protagonist protecting or guiding someone as a prominent feature always has the "protectee" be a girl.

Resident Evil 4
Ico
The Walking Dead
Amy
Bioshock Infinite

And this is most likely because guys - the target demographic for games - would rather protect a girl than a dude. Not trying to rain on the Ellie parade or open a can of worms, just something I think we should keep in the back of our heads.

Casual Shinji:
While I think the game looks great and I can't wait to play it, I can't help but wonder at the reaction if Ellie was a boy. Most if not all games that feature the protagonist protecting or guiding someone as a prominent feature always has the "protectee" be a girl.

Resident Evil 4
Ico
The Walking Dead
Amy
Bioshock Infinite

And this is most likely because guys - the target demographic for games - would rather protect a girl than a dude. Not trying to rain on the Ellie parade or open a can of worms, just something I think we should keep in the back of our heads.

Yep, my thought as well. I can certainly appreciate that these side characters (that may, in a sense, be main characters) are well written and well developed. I can also appreciate that, in more frequent cases, the games may not even exist without them.. but it does seem to stand out a little that they're still all fairly ineffectual female sidekicks/tag alongs. As I posted above, I think the Last of Us could be more interesting if Ellie was the played character and she had to escort a middle aged generally ineffectual male character.

StriderShinryu:

Casual Shinji:
While I think the game looks great and I can't wait to play it, I can't help but wonder at the reaction if Ellie was a boy. Most if not all games that feature the protagonist protecting or guiding someone as a prominent feature always has the "protectee" be a girl.

Resident Evil 4
Ico
The Walking Dead
Amy
Bioshock Infinite

And this is most likely because guys - the target demographic for games - would rather protect a girl than a dude. Not trying to rain on the Ellie parade or open a can of worms, just something I think we should keep in the back of our heads.

Yep, my thought as well. I can certainly appreciate that these side characters (that may, in a sense, be main characters) are well written and well developed. I can also appreciate that, in more frequent cases, the games may not even exist without them.. but it does seem to stand out a little that they're still all fairly ineffectual female sidekicks/tag alongs. As I posted above, I think the Last of Us could be more interesting if Ellie was the played character and she had to escort a middle aged generally ineffectual male character.

Well, sometimes having the player character be less interesting than the tag-along, can serve as observing the more interesting character instead of playing her. Cause let's face it, it's always a her.

I was actually really looking forward to The Last Guardian, because it shifted the roles. Where the player character is a puny little kid and the tag-along is a giant monster. Too bad that game is rotting away somewhere in its unfinished state.

I still don't understand the outdated idea that someone would chose not to play a game because it features a female protagonist, prominent female character or because there isn't at least twelve explosions on the box art.

I mean look at this:

image

We've got a devastated, flooded and overgrown city for a background setting. We've got a dishevelled guy with a revolver and a gas mask, indicating that this world is far from safe. We've got a young girl with a god damn sniper rifle on her back... how could that not inspire even the smallest glimmer of interest in just about anyone?

Casual Shinji:
And this is most likely because guys - the target demographic for games - would rather protect a girl than a dude. Not trying to rain on the Ellie parade or open a can of worms, just something I think we should keep in the back of our heads.

The trouble is it's pretty much a no-win situation. Man protecting girl opens up all the accusations about how sexist it is to always have a man protecting a girl. Switch the genders and people will complain about the sexism inherent in showing a woman in a mothering role. Make it all men and people will complain about the lack of girls. Make it all girls and people will complain that you're obviously focussing too much on gender and therefore must be sexist. No matter what you do someone will complain that you're sexist, so it's best to ignore the complaints entirely and just focus on making a good game with good characters regardless of gender.

Proverbial Jon:
how could that not inspire even the smallest glimmer of interest in just about anyone?

Mainly because of the large "only on Playstation" label. It doesn't matter how interesting a game might look if the developers make it absolutely clear they don't want most people to play it. Note that that's not a dig at the PS3, it's just a simple fact that most people don't own every gaming system, or even more than one. While a few fanboys love exclusives because it gives them an excuse to boast about how much better a thing someone else made is, they suck for the majority of gamers because all it means is you're arbitrarily banned from playing many games because you happened to buy a different console. Think how insane it would seem if buying a TV from Panasonic meant you couldn't watch a bunch of shows, but buying one from Samsung wouldn't help because then you'd just miss out on a different bunch.

Casual Shinji:
While I think the game looks great and I can't wait to play it, I can't help but wonder at the reaction if Ellie was a boy. Most if not all games that feature the protagonist protecting or guiding someone as a prominent feature always has the "protectee" be a girl.

Resident Evil 4
Ico
The Walking Dead
Amy
Bioshock Infinite

And this is most likely because guys - the target demographic for games - would rather protect a girl than a dude. Not trying to rain on the Ellie parade or open a can of worms, just something I think we should keep in the back of our heads.

Yup. Fo' sho'. I love all those games mentioned (mostly), but strong guys helping ineffectual girls is kinda too much of a staple.

Hurray for Bayonetta! Not only does she save the male sidekick repeatedly, but she plays protector for a bit too. She's protecting a little girl still, but that's cool. Not everything has to be uber-trope-subversive (and it's still subversive in other ways).

First time I heard my buddy boast about Bioshock Infinite by saying "But she's not useless! She's invulnerable and gives you stuff!" I was like "... So?". It's a cool mechanic, blah-de-blah, but I'd be more shocked and impressed if it was the woman being shot in the face (and shooting back) on behalf of escorting some weird helpless man.

Cheers!

aegix drakan:
Did I mention how much I want this game? Like, so freakin' bad?

Every time I hear more about this game, I just want it even more. Just 14th just can't come quickly enough.

...Dammit, I am THIS close to preordering it from EB games for mail delivery, and I typically don't like doing that.

I already have, it's one of the games that have earned that rare position. It's good to see games that focus on story and character arc rather than just bang bang explosion. Yeah I've seen lots of exposions, and killed more humans/animals/aliens/targets than there are lifeforms on earth. That won't impress me, a good story with interesting characters like this sounds do.

Kahani:

Proverbial Jon:
how could that not inspire even the smallest glimmer of interest in just about anyone?

Mainly because of the large "only on Playstation" label. It doesn't matter how interesting a game might look if the developers make it absolutely clear they don't want most people to play it. Note that that's not a dig at the PS3, it's just a simple fact that most people don't own every gaming system, or even more than one. While a few fanboys love exclusives because it gives them an excuse to boast about how much better a thing someone else made is, they suck for the majority of gamers because all it means is you're arbitrarily banned from playing many games because you happened to buy a different console. Think how insane it would seem if buying a TV from Panasonic meant you couldn't watch a bunch of shows, but buying one from Samsung wouldn't help because then you'd just miss out on a different bunch.

I think you missed the point of my original post. I was referring to the fact that Naughty Dog had to fight to get Ellie on the front cover of the box art because their marketing and focus testing departments said that it wouldn't sell so well if a female character featured so prominently. I was asking why Ellie's presence would be such a deterrent to some gamers. That has nothing to do with console exclusivity.

As it happens, I do agree with you to a point. I bought a second hand PS3 simply so I could play the exclusives. I'm lucky that I was able to do that and, yes, I would have missed out on a lot of good games if I could not. On the surface it would seem that Developers and Publishers are only self limiting their success by putting their franchises on only a single console. However franchises such as Halo, Uncharted, Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid (to a certain extent) seem to enjoy critical and financial success despite the narrowed market. Don't forget that the PS3 and Xbox 360's architecture are quite different from one another so it must be easier to create a higher quality product when devs don't have to worry about making it work on multiple systems... a problem we've recently seen with Skyrim.

Ellie just looks like the "Boy" from "The Road" with tits to me, dont see what the fuss is all about

When I saw the first gameplay video way back when they first announced this game, I knew everything that was going on. The relationship with the girl was clear and powerful right off the bat. The fact that the protagonist was so Nathan Drake looking wasn't so bad when you consider there is such an interesting relationship dynamic because of the girl.

Now looking at the box art or anything related to that game, I see the exact same message. I don't know what kind of monkeys they used as focus testers, but I can't imagine anyone being more encouraged to buy the game if just brooding Nathan Drake was on the front.

And if they were, that'd just be misleading advertising.

StriderShinryu:
I can't help but feel that I would rather play as Ellie. She seems like a much more interesting character than Joel to the point where I'd rather he be the tag along. It could be a more interesting dynamic especially given that Eliie is painted as the knowledgable and brave character.

Agreed, ever since this game was revealed I have thought it would have been a much bolder decision for naughty dog to make Ellie the PC and Joel the NPC. It definitely would have required some careful game design and good AI for Joel. But it really would have made the game stand out from the crowd a whole lot more. Sigh, I guess AAA games are just too expensive for that sort of risk-taking...

vhailorx:

StriderShinryu:
I can't help but feel that I would rather play as Ellie. She seems like a much more interesting character than Joel to the point where I'd rather he be the tag along. It could be a more interesting dynamic especially given that Eliie is painted as the knowledgable and brave character.

Agreed, ever since this game was revealed I have thought it would have been a much bolder decision for naughty dog to make Ellie the PC and Joel the NPC. It definitely would have required some careful game design and good AI for Joel. But it really would have made the game stand out from the crowd a whole lot more. Sigh, I guess AAA games are just too expensive for that sort of risk-taking...

I think it's way more interesting to watch the more interesting character than play them. You can't really script a controlled ccaracter's actions because that would mean taking control away from the player. But you can script an npcs actions and make them have an awesome story to tell.

vhailorx:

StriderShinryu:
I can't help but feel that I would rather play as Ellie. She seems like a much more interesting character than Joel to the point where I'd rather he be the tag along. It could be a more interesting dynamic especially given that Eliie is painted as the knowledgable and brave character.

Agreed, ever since this game was revealed I have thought it would have been a much bolder decision for naughty dog to make Ellie the PC and Joel the NPC. It definitely would have required some careful game design and good AI for Joel. But it really would have made the game stand out from the crowd a whole lot more. Sigh, I guess AAA games are just too expensive for that sort of risk-taking...

I can't help but feel that would be unrealistic. However, doing something like having a boy and girl character around the same age, eg 14, would work a lot better if you're going for the girl protagonist thing. I think it's a bit of a stretch going for the 14 year old girl babysitting the grown man, or the 14 year old boy babysitting the grown woman. If you narrow the age gap then it could work admirably, might even be a great story

The NPCs are getting all the attention these days because frankly Player Characters are dull and lifeless. That's assuming "Player Characters" actually exist at all.

Kahani:
The trouble is it's pretty much a no-win situation. Man protecting girl opens up all the accusations about how sexist it is to always have a man protecting a girl. Switch the genders and people will complain about the sexism inherent in showing a woman in a mothering role. Make it all men and people will complain about the lack of girls. Make it all girls and people will complain that you're obviously focussing too much on gender and therefore must be sexist. No matter what you do someone will complain that you're sexist, so it's best to ignore the complaints entirely and just focus on making a good game with good characters regardless of gender.

But the easy answer for that is to just not make every "two characters against the world" game into "Player Character protects NPC", but just have more games with male and female characters in equal positions. If Alpha and Bravo from Army of Two were a man and a woman, would it have been a big deal? It's kind of sad that 1990s Sega beat-'em-ups like Golden Axe and Streets of Rage could have female playable characters who were just as effective as their male counterparts, but that dynamic's practically non-existent in current-day action-adventure games. I mean, Elena and Chloe in the Uncharted games are shown to be just as competent as Nathan Drake and Sully and English guy whose name I forget. Why not play as any of the five? It's not like any of those characters are especially compelling or undergo unique experiences.

Since I don't know the actual timeline of this game, I have to wonder why Ellie isn't combat trained? Must be some years since whatever apocalypse happened, there are ruins around and wouldn't you want your kid to be trained in using a weapon/self-defence in that kind of a world? In other words, a kid that actually wouldn't need that much protection.

I also can't help but feel this game will start off character development/drama with "you need to pull the trigger, Ellie, or this bad man will kill me" moment. I sure hope it doesn't, I'd hope ND are better than that, but still...
I guess I'll never find out since it's rather late to get a PS3 now.

anian:
Since I don't know the actual timeline of this game, I have to wonder why Ellie isn't combat trained? Must be some years since whatever apocalypse happened, there are ruins around and wouldn't you want your kid to be trained in using a weapon/self-defence in that kind of a world? In other words, a kid that actually wouldn't need that much protection.

I also can't help but feel this game will start off character development/drama with "you need to pull the trigger, Ellie, or this bad man will kill me" moment. I sure hope it doesn't, I'd hope ND are better than that, but still...
I guess I'll never find out since it's rather late to get a PS3 now.

Good point. Carl wouldn't have a problem pulling the trigger, after all.

As somebody with out a PS3, I wish naughty dog all the best. I wish I could support them in a game of the style....

To me the fact that such adoration and hype is being leveled on a game that hasn't been released yet solely because one of the main protagonists is young and also a girl is the true tell that there is obviously a hunger for something a bit different and a more leveled representation in terms gender, which the fact that there is a market for it is a good thing to me, as I love being a gun totting space marine from time to time, but I would also like to be and interact with real charters in crazy situations.

But on the hype, lets get real, this game has not been reviewed yet, it's not been released and people are talking about it like we should just throw our money at it in a pre-emtive strike. Yes it's also a new IP but it's a new IP that just from the premise has borrowed from a whole multitude of existing media.

Oppressive militaristic Goverment - (millions of sources) V for vendetta, Equilibrium,
Post Apocalypse/Distopian near future - The Book of Eli, I am legend, Mad Max, The postman, Terminator Salvation, the walking dead
Parental relationship in a violent post apocalyptic environment/Protector story - The Road, Children of men, the walking dead

I could give allot more but just wanted to make the point that NONE of the idea's at this stage that we know are new. I mean even the idea of the fungal infection isn't "The Invasion". An in games post apocalypse has been done to death Fallout, S.T.A.L.K.E.R, Metro, The Walking Dead, Gears of War, Tokyo Jungle and I Am Alive (Which even at this stage seems heavily borrowed from). If you read the Original Walking Dead comics as well I think most would agree that the game will struggle to come up with any original ideas on the whole parent/kid relationship.

I will probably give this game ago. Just because there's not a new idea in the bunch doesn't mean it can't make a good game. Just so fed up with the OMG the supporting NPC is a kid and it's a Girl? In any game that want's to be taken as a serious piece of story telling it's what we should expect. The unnecessary hype of that soul aspect, mainly on this site I might add (are you getting paid for each piece?) is so unwarranted it's unreal. People saying their are going to back this game with their cash just because they dared to but a female protagonist on the cover? Seem's just as crazy as people who will refuse to buy because she is there.

viranimus:
I can see this. It reminds me of the incorrect and irrational adoration for Clem from "The Walking Dead" game.

Dont get me wrong, I like Clem and all, but the adoration is entirely too much and it isnt actually merited.

I think it's appropriate. Much of the series depends on you fostering a father/daughter relationship, and most players report doing their damndest to keep Clem safe. That's an astonishingly rare achievement for what is basically a five episode long escort mission featuring a female, child, game character. In most horror games, kids are just a talking, whining, hyper fragile albatross around the player's neck. No wonder people adore her - she's well written enough to not be the typical burden.

I think the Playstation exclusive on this game is incredibly stupid. PC games would love this type of title. Maybe we'll see a port in time but if they haven't ported Infamous I doubt they'll port this.

This game really sounds amazing, I can't wait to give the developers some money and play... Oh. Platform exclusive. Well, fuck that then.

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