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TLoU's Ellie Character: Naughty Dog Had A "Secret Agenda"

For years, people have been calling out the video game industry for over-sexualizing female characters.

This is part of the reason why the character of Ellie in The Last Of Us was so important. Developer Naughty Dog wanted to "change the industry," or at least attempt to change the stereotypical presentation of a female in games. TLoU creative director Neil Druckmann spoke about his "secret agenda" during an International Game Developers Association meeting (as cited by The Verge):

"I had this secret agenda. I wanted to create one of the coolest, non-sexualized female video game protagonists. And I felt that if we did that, there's an opportunity to change the industry. I know it sounds pretentious, but that was my goal."

Druckmann added that other developers will likely do something similar, and "we're on the cusp of seeing strong, non-sexualized female protagonists starring in games." Ellie was definitely a strong female character, even though she wasn't old enough to properly portray in a sexualized way. Perhaps if they did a sequel, they could impress everyone even more by making Ellie 19 years old, and still not bowing to the mainstream clamor to make her hot.

Related Game(s): The Last Of Us

Tags: the last of us, naughty dog, gaming industry

9/20/2013 9:26:47 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (24 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 9:50:20 PM
Reply

Admirable and all but while she was cool putting the smackdown on mushroomheads (and others) she sort of devolved into a gibbering mess when the manly man got near to make everything better.

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bigrailer19
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 10:39:28 PM

I dont know where you come up with this stuff.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 9:54:45 AM

I hope you're taking the piss world, because that's a child's comprehension of what happens in that scene.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 10:18:04 AM

Taking the piss?

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bigrailer19
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 11:03:34 AM

haha. Idk either.

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Dukemz_UK
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 11:21:34 AM

@World: "Taking the piss" = Poking fun at, often in a sarcastic way
A common UK slang phrase.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 12:08:28 PM

lol...

but you are *joking*, right world?

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Underdog15
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 12:19:04 PM

I hope so. There's a lot going on there in that scene.

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Draguss
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 10:09:48 PM
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"not bowing to the mainstream clamor to make her hot." Meaning hollywood homely or outright unattractive? Because I'm pretty sure no developer on earth would do the second one.

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KidPresentable
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 10:42:05 PM
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I agree. It does sound pretentious as hell. Jade from BG&E, The Boss, Madison from Heavy Rain. I could list a ton of non sexualized strong female leads. But TLoU did do everything first.....

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 1:07:23 AM

No, it's just infinitely better than anything on your precious Xbox 360.

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bigrailer19
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 1:15:25 AM

You missed the point. This had nothing to do with doing it first. The point was female lead roles are scarce and perhaps showing people that it works can change things in the future rather than developers being scared to take risks.

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Jawknee
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 1:41:43 AM

Like clockwork.

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Underdog15
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 4:00:39 AM

Honestly... the guy lives to only dis TLOU. Even appeared in a GTA thread where someone mentioned TLOU. lol

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Dukemz_UK
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 11:24:24 AM

@Kid: Madison was non-sexualized? What?

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KidPresentable
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 12:28:37 PM

Duke:You think she was? Besides being in her underwear in her introductory scene and the club scene, I wouldn't say that Madison was designed or written in a way that exuded an overt sexuality. Even in the club scene, she is uncomfortable and inexperienced in the situation. More vulnerable than a sexpot.

Underdog: Keep on going with that ridiculous line of thinking that someone else has repeated ad nauseum. Anything else would be too much like thinking for yourself.

Last edited by KidPresentable on 9/21/2013 12:30:58 PM

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Underdog15
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 4:06:51 PM

Kid, I'm hardly the only one that thinks that. I suppose I could be labeled unoriginal for declaring an apple to be an apple or an orange to be an orange... but I'm ok with that since thinking otherwise would simply be incorrect. See where I'm going here? :/ Besides... if anything, I'm sure around here I'd be criticized for thinking too much like myself. XD

As for Madison, I thought she was sexualized in the sex scene too. But maybe it's just me seeing the sex in the sex...

Last edited by Underdog15 on 9/21/2013 4:08:36 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 9:48:17 PM

"Thinking for yourself?"

Yeah, that's code for, "I have a massive ego and I go against critics and journalists because I'm smarter than all of them."

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Underdog15
Sunday, September 22, 2013 @ 3:01:30 AM

He may be right if the philosophy of Kafka is 100% accurate.

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Beamboom
Monday, September 23, 2013 @ 4:35:03 AM

I don't think Madison was overly sexed up in Heavy Rain at all, though.
I mean, she wasn't fat'n'ugly, but there's a long stretch from that to being the typical Playboy bunny we find in most games.

Last edited by Beamboom on 9/23/2013 4:35:18 AM

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Xombito
Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 11:33:29 PM
Reply

Ironically, there's a recent article in cracked.com (a website I love) that's criticizing this game for being sexist still. Its under 6 Sexist videogame problems. I disagree with the article of course.

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PC_Max
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 12:51:44 PM
Reply

Naughty Dogs focus seemed to me to be the old father and daughter thing. Survival being the environment they were put in to try and get through.

They did play on the disturbing side of sex, with the subtly with David and Ellie in that sequence. ND played it right, dramaric, tragic and heart breaking. They pushed the envelope to see have far they could go and along the way touch heart.

Hopefully there will not be a sequel for Ellie, maybe Joel. Either way I would like to see where they go with it.

For me I would like to see whomever they choose on the next journey in this possible new franchise to go back to the original center of the outbreak. Who and what caused it in the first place. Texas sounded like it was where it started sooooooo. Maybe that will be the 3rd game if they make this in to a trilogy. :)

Keep playing!

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PlatformGamerNZ
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 6:29:11 PM
Reply

yeah man ellie was bad ass i really liked what they did with the characters in the game. i really hope other devs/pubs takea note from ND and TLOU and do more of this cos it was great.

happy gaming =)

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JROD0823
Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 8:02:19 PM
Reply

Hideo Kojima must have never gotten that memo, if we are to judge by his choice of how Quiet's character is designed. ;P

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