Talking to GamesBeat, Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley both commented on criticisms about The Last of Us‘s female characters perpetuating sexist tropes common in videogames.
“We were surprised by some of the criticism of our use or execution of the female roles inside of the game,” Straley, who served as game director on The Last of Us, told GamesBeat. “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.”
The tropes being referred to in these criticisms include female characters who aren’t fully fleshed out and wind up being killed off, female characters who need rescuing, and female characters who prompt a revenge story.
“There have been a lot of articles pointing to the positive aspects of the women and other characters,” Druckman, the game’s creative director, added. “I think that there’s a little bit of a sexism valley, for lack of a better term, like the uncanny valley. The more progress we make, the more those problems stand out.”
The Last of Us is widedly regarded as one of the most powerful narrative experiences in videogames to date by many members of the press, including my boss, Eric, who said as much in his review.
Sony has reported that The Last of Us is the fastest selling new franchise in the PS3’s seven-year history.