When the teaser campaign dropped for a game from an unknown publisher and developer named ‘The Last Of Us’, I was intrigued.
Actually, that’s putting it mildly. I was a guest on the Game Arena Podcast when it landed, and I enthusiastically showed the podcasters the teaser before we began to record.
I was enamored that a game could brand itself with a title so distinct from the usual videogame tripe. Something Wars, Something Warriors, Anything of War and their contemporaries have been flooding games for as long as I can remember, so a provocative title which hints at a deeper meaning was a welcome and refreshing change.
Following on, it was announced that the title was coming from Naughty Dog and that it’d feature a hitherto unseen buddy combo of a father and a daughter.
Where was the sex appeal in that?!?
Delightfully absent, and the three dimensions each character posited to inhabit only made me squeal with delight further.
Now, our intrepid counterparts at MCV UK have posted that Naughty Dog had to fight to get Ellie the starring role on the cover (as opposed to the usual female role on a videogame cover where they’re relegated to a wistful look off into the distance in the wake of a grimacing, gruff male lead).
That they considered this important and that they’d be willing to fight for it shows a kind of vigilance to not pander to the norm which is heartwarming, and should be a model for all other publishers to follow.
The risks of having a female lead on the cover reducing sales are likely real, but for all those crying out for change in the heteronormative nonsense which usually passes for game marketing, this would be the time to really get behind a company for moving forward.
So to Naughty Dog and Sony, I salute you for the following: