The Last of Us Developer Disputes Claims of Sexism

The Last of Us Developer Disputes Claims of Sexism

The Last of Us Ellie

One Naughty Dog developer argues that The Last of Us was never about Joel, nor was it about Ellie - it's about depending on someone.

The Last of Us was very well-received at launch, but some people still had complaints (as people so often do). In particular, one cutting review from the New York Times criticized the game for downplaying its female characters and telling another story "made by men, for men and about men." Looking back, Naughty Dog developer Alexandria Neonakis decided to revisit that review in an editorial piece defending the game - and the role that she and her female peers played in creating it. Minor spoilers below.

"Ellie's power comes from her bravery, ingenuity and determination throughout the game," Neonakis writes. "It was also shown in her ability during the game's final moment to accept Joel for all of his flaws and forgive him, because she understood that he needed her more than she needed him. She was ultimately the hero of this story. She's powerful the whole time, and it had nothing to do with wielding a gun or physical ability. In an industry that more often than not represents women as either a damsel in distress or a male character in a female body, this was a triumph in storytelling and representation."

"Her journey from a damsel in distress to a fully capable and complex character is made clear through the relationship she develops with Joel," she continues. "Likewise, Joel's growth could not have happened without Ellie. This was not a game 'about men.' It was about a mutual relationship and about how people need one another."

Naughty Dog is currently working on Left Behind, a single-player DLC storyline starring Ellie and her best friend Riley before the events of The Last of Us. That friendship is bound to be a very different kind of relationship from Joel and Ellie's, so we'll see what other themes Naughty Dog decides to explore.

Source: New York Times

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These guys dont have to defend shit even if it was a case where there was actually something to argue about, they made a game with a story that they wanted to tell, doesnt cater to your specific idea of what the game should be? Then go fuck yourself instead of claiming that its wrong for not being that.

Wondering why they're going back to such an old complaint after so long. And let's be frank, did anyone EVER take that complaint about the Last of Us seriously?

Here is a tip for developers.

YOU CAN NOT WIN ON THE INTERNET!!!

"made by men, for men and about men." Forgets to mention about killing a lot of men who are scumbag killers of other men

It was such an offensive game that the only two men worth of any importance completely overshadowed The Last moments before Joel's daughter died and made you give a damn about her as opposed to hundreds of anon manly men scumbags nobody will shed tears for

*Dammit double post IGNORE*

It's particularly cutting to say that a game is a lot like lots of other games? Huh.

This still needed defending?

The people critisizing it were already grabbing at straws. That says more than enough.

Totally agree with the quotes taken from the Naughty Dog article. This is not a game "made by men, for men and about men." I should probably go and read both pieces in full to make a proper informed judgement.

...

Oh god the original article mentioned Anita Sarkeesian.

ABORTING THREAD

"New York Times"
"Games Journalism"

There we go folks, story over.
Although it makes me wonder how someone could misinterpretation a story about a parent/child relationship as sexist. The game is somehow less subtle about that dynamic than Walking Dead S1.

Before people start popping veins on their foreheads, I would like to remind them that this wasn't a particularly common complaint when the game was released, so it might be a good idea not to make it into a huge issue now, 6 months after the release of the game. Unless you love pointless drama, of course.

I am still too raw from the ending of LoU to care one whit about what this idiot thinks negatively about the game. It was a masterpiece. Best game of 2013 in my eyes. Best game ever on the PS3 as well in my eyes. Everyone has to tear down the popular target it seems.

It only goes to show that if you want to find sexism in something, you absolutely can, though I'd just like to point out that the review never mentions the actual word.
The reviewer just sought a different experience than the developers set out to make and drew conclusions from those expectations, it's only fair to dismiss most of it.

The only thing a dev can use for this, is that if they make a compelling enough female character, people want to play them, especially if they're animated well, voice acted and show a believable amount of emotion.

I'm not one for defending these accusations, I think the reviewer was off point and judged a game for the wrong reasons, under the influence of a horrible pop-psychology video.
So while I don't believe in accusing games for something they're not, I do believe in improving games and putting more believable female protagonists out there is only a good thing.

Drummodino:

ABORTING THREAD

Yes, please.

Also, while I think that claiming that TLoU pushed the industry forward with regards to female characters and sexism is silly and those people should actually play games (FF6 came out 19 years ago with multiple awesome female PCs shut up), but it's certainly not sexist. That's all I'm speculating, though, because I can't be arsed to purchase games for 60 USD up front. Fuck the police.

Exactly why did they decided to revisit an old article and make comeback to it?

It's like the equivalent of coming back 10 minutes later after you got the smack down to make your own comeback because you just thought of a genius insult while your were stewing in your private place.

Dragonbums:
Exactly why did they decided to revisit an old article and make comeback to it?

It's like the equivalent of coming back 10 minutes later after you got the smack down to make your own comeback because you just thought of a genius insult while your were stewing in your private place.

Because if they do it to quickly, people claim that it was sexist and the quickness in which they responded proves it. With claims of sexism, companies also want to make sure that its worded correctly.

I think we should just ignore most peoples claims of sexism anyway, as its mostly grasping at straws in many places and is currently being used as a "make games for me, specifically me, nobody else" platform than as an actual solution, from what i've observed when people are attacking games that only feature male characters.

My "favourite" was that article someone wrote about how the game is sexist because Ellie actually had an emotional reaction after being forced to hack a rapist cannibal to death, as he was trying to strangle her.

I just want to put it out there that I did not like The Last Of Us as I found the the gameplay atrocious, the game itself overly linear and felt the graphics were stale, however, not for one second would I consider what I played to be sexist in the slightest and actually came off as one of the most human experiences I have yet to play. To call this game sexist however is ridiculous, delusional and flat out wrong. Throwing out this kind of slander all willy-nilly both sullies the name of feminism, moots the definition of sexism and just makes you look like a wanker to those of whom who have actually played the game and for what, views? Pathetic.

"ism" claims are absurdly easy to make and they are becoming so rampant that they are starting to loose their relevancy. You could claim the escapist is sexist and racist because all the reviewers are white and only one is female, and she's relegated to just doing top five lists.

erttheking:
Wondering why they're going back to such an old complaint after so long. And let's be frank, did anyone EVER take that complaint about the Last of Us seriously?

Actually, I think it made a few good points.

The article wasn't saying the game was bad because it had a few lest then desirable tropes in it. In fact, they said quite the opposite. Giving the game lots of praise. Especially about the parts where we got to play as Ellie.
Chris Suellentrop is hardly the first person I've seen say they almost wanted Joel to die so they could continue to play as Ellie. Heck, I've seen someone say they wished you could kill Joel as Ellie at the end. <.<

It would have been neat if we got to play more of the game as Ellie, or even Sarah.

That said, I agree with the idea that the game wasn't just about one character or another, but about them surviving together.

Plus, from what this article says, we may get a lot more time to play as Ellie soon.
:) That is good.

Dragonbums:
Exactly why did they decided to revisit an old article and make comeback to it?

It's like the equivalent of coming back 10 minutes later after you got the smack down to make your own comeback because you just thought of a genius insult while your were stewing in your private place.

Well, maybe they've just been to busy to respond?

They have been hard at work on the games DLC after all.

@_@ Or at least they better have.....
*Cleans Ellies knife*

I honestly don't get the kerfuffle in this comment section. Nothing in the original article strikes me as particularly distinct in its assessment of sexism in a game, and the author does make some interesting points regarding some elements in The Last of Us that could be considered in some way sexist, or at the very least typical of an industry that routinely puts out things of that nature. Mr. Suellentrop

It's a sort of odd in between here; on the one hand it's a goddamn miracle that there is more than one female character in the game at all. Fuck, there's even a subtle gay character in the game, that's a gift from heaven. For what it's worth, Ellie is exceptionally well characterized, along with Tess and a few others, and the intro sequence is brilliant (though a thought occurred to me, would it have been as effective if it was a son instead of a daughter? I honestly wonder).

On the other hand, these women, who for the most part are represented character-wise well enough, tend to be subjected to tropes and situations despite this generally positive portrayal. One or two are killed off primarily to raise the emotional stakes of the story (though to be fair similar things happen to equally developed male characters), and as well as Ellie is portrayed, the interactions with her are fairly limited to distinct areas and points in the game. She's even violently attacked, with heavy sexual overtones, and while I am not fully convinced that that particular scene ended up using Ellie's trauma as character progression for Joel, there is an angle to that scene that does make me ponder a bit on TLoU's use of women as plot device and makes me question the character progression of both Ellie and Joel.

Errant Signal did a very good video on TLoU that I couldn't help but think of. As good as TLoF is, and it is an exceptionally well made game, there was something niggling about it in the back of my head that I ignored until I saw this video. As I said, it is exceptionally well made, but well you look deeper into its elements it's really only polishing existing concepts and mechanics that games have brought up over the past decade or so. None of that makes it a bad game, not by a long shot, but it does make me question what I consider to be a "good" game over a "great" one.

Wait, there were people who claimed TLOU was sexist? what is this i dont even....

deathbydeath:

Drummodino:

ABORTING THREAD

Yes, please.

Also, while I think that claiming that TLoU pushed the industry forward with regards to female characters and sexism is silly and those people should actually play games (FF6 came out 19 years ago with multiple awesome female PCs shut up), but it's certainly not sexist. That's all I'm speculating, though, because I can't be arsed to purchase games for 60 USD up front. Fuck the police.

Isnt it sad that game chracters have regressed that much in 19 years that something that was the norm then is groundbreaking now?

 

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