Considering Ken Levine’s recent comments about BioShock Infinite’s box art, we were surprised by the cover for Naughty Dog’s upcoming The Last of Us. The image places teenage protagonist Ellie at the focal point of the product, while Joel observes from the background. It’s a bold move in an industry that appears to punish anything out of the ordinary – and, unsurprisingly, the studio faced some resistance from Sony marketing chiefs.
“I believe there’s a misconception that if you put a girl or a woman on the cover, the game will sell less,” creative director Neil Druckmann told VG247. “I know I’ve been in discussions where we’ve been asked to push Ellie to the back and everyone at Naughty Dog just flat-out refused.”
Of course, the refreshing snippet here is not just that the studio stood its ground – but also that Sony backed down. We can imagine other publishers being less accepting of the idea to lead with a female character. But does the inclusion of women really impact a game's commercial viability? It seems like a ludicrous question on paper – but that appears to be the opinion of marketing big-wigs.
Are you less likely to purchase a title with a female protagonist? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.