The Last Of Us: Part II Gameplay Tainted By Homophobia And Transphobia

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The Last Of Us Part II Gameplay
The Last Of Us Part II Gameplay

Note: This news post may contain spoilers for the plot of ‘The Last of Us: Part II’.

The Last of Us: Part II has been with us for a couple of weeks since its release. The sequel of the Naughty Dog game landed with huge controversy related to an alleged LGTBI agenda that some associated with this title.

In one of the game’s trailers, Ellie, the protagonist of the saga, kisses Dina at a party. For fans, it was not something new, since in the DLC of the first installment of The Last of Us we had already been able to know Ellie’s sexual orientation, but the community widely commented the image as being the first thing Naughty Dog wanted to.

An image that would later lead to a discouraging panorama, and that would fully immerse us in that new story that we wanted to tell. The attacks of the bigots did not fail on that occasion and neither at the launch of the title.

Does the Game Support LGBT Conspiracy?

In Metacritic, a page that collects the notes of the specialized media and the users of the latest video games that come to market, The Last of Us: Part II suffered a ‘ review-bombing. Those bigots scored with the worst of notes to a game that had just gone on sale.

Part of that reason came from a widespread speech among critics of the game, who assure that behind it has an obvious LGTB agenda that Naughty Dog tries to ‘sneak’ into the players. Nothing is further from reality. What Naughty Dog does is introduce very varied and rarely seen characters in a video game blockbuster, the well-known triple-A.

One of those characters is Abby. The actress who gives her voice, Laura Bailey, has not escaped criticism, even receiving death threats from some users on social networks. This was revealed by Bailey herself, who shared the captures of those messages on her Twitter account, receiving the support of thousands of users and also the director of the game itself, Neil Druckmann.

Many players also thought Abby was a trans character because of her non- normative body. Druckmann had to step out of this debate, revealing that CrossFit athlete Colleen Fotsch was the woman they had relied on to make Abby.

The price that Naughty Dog has had to pay for introducing these characters is having to continually explain why they were introduced is something that reflects the obstacles of a game. Despite everything, it is the best-selling in the history of the PlayStation 4.

They are not new attacks in the entertainment industry. It also suffered releases like ‘Captain Marvel’ or ‘The Last Jedi’ by the character of Rose Tico. We don’t think Abby is a trans character, but there is one who crosses her path and who also increased the transphobic criticism and fed the theory of that alleged Naughty Dog agenda.

Again, its condition is not essential in the plot; it does not change anything, beyond contributing another degree of depth and closeness to a story full of nuances. Though, there is even a scene with a homophobic behavior of a character within the game itself, but, again, it adds up and does not weigh down at all what they want to tell, beyond how reprehensible it is.

Without leaving video games, in a recent release of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, it was also tainted by homophobic criticism. In this game, you can maintain relationships with other characters regardless of gender, and a female character, Kassandra, is the one that carries a good part of the narrative. There have also been criticisms of games that have shown women on covers usually reserved for men, as was the case with Battlefield V.

But all these supposed agenda is revealed simply by playing the game. Regardless of whether some may like it more or less, The Last of Us Part II introduces the characters and makes them recognizable through their goals, their fears, and their hopes, but never through the easy resource. What Naughty Dog does, is plain and simple, to present ourselves with all the naturalness with which a character should present himself to diverse people who also deserve to be part of such a story. Also, in a post-apocalyptic world where, basically, no one wants to be.

In conclusion, in this game, we have a bisexual character, a trans character, a lesbian woman, and a woman with an unregulatory, heavily muscled body. Putting all those ingredients in the bottle of conspiracy theories, also being one of those characters responsible for a critical turn at the beginning of the game, made the anger mark the launch of a game that is the masterpiece of PlayStation 4.

It is so because of the density of its history. It is emotionally draining and for teaching us stories that, like in real life, are not perfect. The doubt comes when asking if a part of the community is prepared to face this type of story with a diversity of characters typical of 2020.

Does it Bother The Last of US Success?

The first ‘The Last of Us’ was gifted with the opportunity to come out right at the end of the PlayStation 3 life cycle. With an installed fleet of consoles of some 80 million machines, the game became a bestseller instant for several reasons: the depth of its characters, an adult plot, mechanics that challenged the player against other much simpler games.

And that gift of opportunity, not opportunism, has been repeated with the release of ‘The Last of Us Part 2’ a few weeks ago. After a kilometer development and has been delayed up to a couple of occasions due to the impact of the covid-19, the game has appeared exclusively for PlayStation 4. It is a console that last May had passed the mark of 110 million units. With this position of advantage on the starting grid, you can understand why it has become the best-selling console exclusive game during its first three days, with four million units.

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David Porter

David writes video game and technical news and reviews
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