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Box art featuring female lead will not affect The Last of Us sales, asserts Naughty Dog

By: Muhammad Qasim Hassan

  |   December 17th, 2012   |  
"Much Ado About Nothing" Premiere - 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

Ellie on the front of the box art for The Last of Us criticised, but game developed flat-out refuses to give in to pressure.

Upcoming PlayStation 3 exclusive title The Last of Us features the female protagonist Ellie alongside the main protagonist Joel on the front of the game’s box art, something that has attracted a lot of criticism.

The game’s developer Naughty Dog, however, made it clear to the critics that the female protagonist featured on the cover art of the game is there to stay and will not removed regardless of how much pressure is exerted on the studio.

During a recent interview with VG247, Ellie’s voice actress Ashley Johnson expressed her disappointment over the reaction to a female getting featured on the cover art of a game.

According to her, putting females on the box art of games seems to have a negative impact on the sales, which is why males are given a preference.

“I feel like they don’t put women on the covers because they’re afraid that it won’t sell,” Johnson said. “It’s all gamers really know–and I don’t want to be sexist by any means–but I get the feeling, generally, that they think game’s won’t sell as well with a woman on the cover, compared to some badass dude on the front.”

The creative director at Naughty Dog Neil Druckmann reiterated what the voice actress said.

He said that it is a huge misconception that a game with a male protagonist featured on its box art sells way better than games with their covert art featuring a female.

Druckmann claimed that he had been in discussion, where he and his team was asked to push Ellie off the cover of The Last of Us as it posed a threat to the performance of the game in the market.

However, Naughty Dog refused to believe in the fallacy and therefore flat-out rejected the requests for removing the female lead from the box art of the upcoming game.

It is not exactly clear if the pressure being put on the game’s developer was being exerted by the game’s publisher Sony Computer Entertainment, or if some other party had an issue with Ellie sharing the spot with Joel.

The firm stand taken by Naughty Dog sure goes to prove that the studio is at war with discrimination against women and has enough respect for the fairer gender to not believe in misconceptions that seem to have taken birth in medieval times.

Announced at the 2011 Spike TV Video Game Awards show, The Last of Us is a PlayStation 3 exclusive video game that will have the male and female protagonists trying to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic America against all odds.

The game is slated for a May 7, 2013, world-wide release.