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How Naughty Dog challenged tropes and stereotypes with Ellie in ‘The Last of Us’

Popoptiq: Later in the same year [that Bioshock Infinite was released] the fine folk at Naughty Dog faced a similar issue with The Last of Us. They too had a game that featured a female companion in their story. They too had created a female character that was every bit as important to their game as the male lead. And they too were asked by the higher ups to consider changing their box art to excise the pesky, unwanted girl from the cover. The difference was that, whether down to artistic integrity, or just the fact that after a string of hits Naughty Dog had been given carte blanche by Sony to do whatever they wanted, they flat-out refused to change their cover for The Last of Us. Those mavericks at Naughty Dog demanded that Ellie stayed front and center because they felt that she was just as integral to the story of the game as Joel was. Yes, they risked it all by letting customers know that if they bought the game, there’d be a girl in it. And The Last of Us went on to sell millions. Who knew?

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ClayRules20121141d ago (Edited 1141d ago )

Good for Naughty Dog for believing in the character of Ellie & standing by her being on the cover with Joel. Those 2 together are a real team.
Ellie wasn't just some amazingly written/acted character in the cutscenes of the story & then transition to gameplay where she doesn't know what the heck she's doing.

Ellie was such a big help to me when playing TLoU. I remember her saving my butt so many times during the game. But, also just the conversations Ellie & Joel would have while walking around, looking at different things in the world. Such as her looking at the records in the music store. She wasn't your typical clueless companion, she was a living breathing person, ( Brilliantly played by Ashley Johnson ) trying to survive in this world that has gone to "Sh*t"

Ellie & Joel needed each other & Naughty Dog showed that. It would've been ignorant & wrong to have left Ellie off the cover "in my opinion'

DiaperFace1141d ago

Damn dude, take it down a notch, you're too serious and emotional like Naughty Dog deserves a Nobel Peace Prize and Ellie actually saved your literal life. Probably better step back, its just a game.

It's just a high quality zombie Uncharted mod with a well told, decently acted cliche story with bad AI and stealth. Naughty Dog even admitted that the AI couldn't be helped, especially Ellie's, and any issues people took with the gameplay were generally with stealth or crafting, which were meh.

I think TLOU is the most overrated game in a long time by a company people only started praising since Uncharted (not everyone is a Crash fan). People act like Naughty Dog is perfect but their library is littered with trash (Math Jam and Way of the Warrior, anyone?)

I brought the truth. Bring the hate.

DoctorFry1141d ago

You just started a war by saying that on N4G. I wish you the best of luck.

1141d ago
ClayRules20121141d ago (Edited 1141d ago )

I'm not going to bring any hate. There's no reason for me to do that.
Also, i'm very aware that TLoU is a video game. I know its not real life. Emotionally, TLoU hit me very hard. The characters "in my opinion" were amazingly written & brilliantly acted by the entire cast. TLoU is the most emotional, gripping, intense game i've ever had the opportunity of playing.

If it didn't hit you on a similar level that's okay. Games effect people in different ways.

Some people may act like Naughty Dog is perfect, but i'm not. I will say, however, that I believe they're the best game developers in the industry. The fact that everyone at ND has a voice & is allowed to give their opinions /critisize someone's work is why I believe they continue to create amazing video games.

TLoU won more goty awards than any game in history, like bruce775 stated. I believe there's a reason for it winning that many goty awards. Anyways, you take care DiaperFace. God bless you.

Batnut001141d ago

Good god, what a load of crap. Are you really resorting to bringing down a studio's credibility with games they developed in 1985 and 1994 on the Apple 2 and 3DO? That was DECADES ago, and considering their Crash Series has had plenty of acclaim along with Jak and Daxter, Uncharted, and TLOU, they have more than earned all the praise and faith that they've achieved. And than you attack a guy for sharing his appreciation of a character? That's just rich.

TricksterArrow1141d ago (Edited 1141d ago )

Well... Different things resonate differently for different people. I read several articles on how people were "saved" from severe depression by TV shows, music, movies and... Yes, games. There's even a movie in which games play a major part on a guy's life, I don't recall the name of the movie, but it was Shadow of the Colossus.

Plus... There is no such thing as "overrated" in entertainment. People rate and regard anything according to their own personal taste. You're free to agree or disagree with them though, but it doesn't make you anymore right nor wrong than anyone else. Step down a notch.

SCW19821141d ago

Naming two games absolutely sounds like the library is littered with trash. Everyone is a critic these days, just look at this Diaper Deutsch.

Sharingan_no_Kakashi1141d ago

I believe Math Jam was used in schools. Either way its a bad argument sense they weren't even called Naughty Dog when Math Jam was made, and they had a completely different team. Not even a team, it was just the 2 founders Andy Gavin and Jason Ruben (who were both 15 years old when they released Math Jam). They handed the company over to Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra in 2007. They created the Uncharted series and The Last of Us.

Saying Crash was mediocre because some people didn't like it is just nonsense. It was highly praised, and people are still asking for a sequel. You completely forgot about Jak, which was highly praised and people are still asking for a sequel to also.

As for The Last of Us, while it's gameplay was nothing ground breaking, and the AI was bad, it achieved what it set out to accomplish. It was a graphical benchmark, it had an engaging top notch story telling, and it had very intense action. Nothing necessarily new but it had never been done on that level before.

As for it's rating, there is no doubt that some people just hopped on the "perfect score" band wagon, just because its naughty dog. But it's still deserving of all it's praise.

OhMyGandhi1141d ago (Edited 1141d ago )

DiaperFace, it's too bad that you feel that way. Everyone has their own opinions. I will never expect people to feel the same way I do.

What I think is funny is that when my PS3 died, I never had the chance to play the game. I bought the game for my older brother for his birthday, but never actually had the chance to play the game until I bought a PS4 and the remastered version. This was after all the awards came through, and the hype never changed.

I came in expecting something like a true masterpiece, and to be entirely honest, It wasn't holding up to my expectations...at first. I'd play a few hours here and there, but gradually, I felt more and more compelled to play it. The storytelling, while not the most original in post apocalyptic scenarios, was well told. People told me beforehand that it was the closest we'd get to Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" and I agree one hundred percent. There is a moodiness that is hard to quantify. There is an atmosphere, a world so well realized, characters so deeply grounded and as naked and gritty and real as they come. Angst, resentment, anguish, despair; all of these emotions, I felt like I couldn't breath. Gustavo Santaolalla's stunning soundtrack made me feel absolutely devastated at times, and quickly.

The Last of Us has the unique honor of being the game that bought me to tears in the shortest amount of time. Not since "Up" did I feel as emotionally exhausted after the first ten minutes. It felt...good though. It made me so happy and privileged to play a game that sucked me in, and peer into an alternate world that felt familiar in so many ways. In fact, The Last of Us had the same intensive lived-in feeling, and attention to detail, in its interiors as a game like "Gone Home". I understood exactly how these people lived their lives, and how they perished.

You can go ahead, DiaperFace, and have your opinion of this game. Call it overrated. Pick it apart. That's the beauty of the internet. We should not be condoned for having dissenting thoughts on the same subject matter.
But that doesn't prevent me from saying that I respectfully disagree with everything you just said.

Bathyj1141d ago

I cant believe someone tried to drag down Naughty Dog by mentioning 2 games that were probably made before he was born.

Uncharted Zombie mod? I...I just dont even know what to say now.

+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 1141d ago
Featuring_Dante1141d ago

Man... you really sound desperate. Its just a game, you dont have to sound like tool while praising it.

Thatguy-3101141d ago

Honestly if it wasn't for the character Ellie I don't think I would have even paid attention to the title. I remember what captivated me the most when it was first announced was seeing how a kid interacted in the post apocalyptic world. ND does story telling the right way and that's by making it realistic. Joel's character was great but Ellie is simply the heart and soul of the game which makes it hard to believe that they won't continue her story for the sequel.

DoctorFry1141d ago

People give Naughty Dog too much credit for the littlest of things. This is just trivial at this point.

DiaperFace1141d ago

Agreed. The box could be blank and it wouldn't matter, obviously. Digital doesn't have one.

ameliabaz1141d ago

It might seem trivial, but it's a small step in the right direction in standing up to the shitty publishers who are still stuck in the outdated mindset that "Gamers don't like girls" or "Gamers are only interested in guns and explosions" or whatever other stupid stereotypes that publishers have about us that they think will make a game sell.

Thatguy-3101141d ago (Edited 1141d ago )

Small things lead to big results. That's what people fail to realize. These "small" little things take the experience one step further.

"The Last of Us tells a story that is neither wholly original, nor particularly daring on paper. We’ve all seen the set-up before. But where The Last of Us excels is in making the player care about the characters, lending a lot more power to a story that is, at it’s core, built upon genre tropes"

TricksterArrow1141d ago

Yep. Too bad so many developers lack this kind of attention to detail. Kinda bad some gamers do as well, which would explain why so many crappy games keep getting pumped out year after year.

Featuring_Dante1141d ago

I saw nothing original about her...

DiaperFace1141d ago (Edited 1141d ago )

Yeah, she's just a normal girl. She could be replaced by any generic teenager without consequence.

ameliabaz1141d ago

You say that like its a bad thing. Of course Ellie is a normal/generic teenager. That's kinda the point.

Gwiz1141d ago

With the Last of Us Remastered she kept stuttering with me lol.
I still have the PS3 version though that still works fine.

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