Updated 12:48 AM EDT, Wed, May 12, 2021

The Last of US Dev Claims Women Portayed Negatively Too Often in Video Games

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In a new article, one of the key people behind one of 2013's most well received games, The Last of Us, discussed the role that female characters play in video games and the overabundance of damsel in distress roles for women characters in the industry.

Naughty Dog user interface designer Alexandria Neonakis wrote an article for The New York Times about the issue of how women are portrayed in games, and gave The Last of US' Ellie as a strong role model for women in video games:

"She's powerful the whole time, and it had nothing to do with wielding a gun or physical ability. In an industry that more often than not represents women as either a damsel in distress or a male character in a female body, this was a triumph in storytelling and representation...Ellie is an entirely playable character. It was not by coincidence that the moments you play as her are the most impactful in the game."

Neonakis admitted that while Ellie started off being a damsel in distress figure, the character was able to grown in the game and eventually helped other characters grow as well:

"Her journey from a damsel in distress to a fully capable and complex character is made clear through the relationship she develops with Joel. Likewise, Joel's growth could not have happened without Ellie. This was not a game 'about men.' It was about a mutual relationship and about how people need one another."

The designer also stated that the video game industry needs to make female characters equally as important as their male counterparts, and that women in the video game industry also need to be treated with as much respect as men for the industry to evolve:

"In our medium, the change needed in female characters is not about women being portrayed as stronger or more capable than men but about being portrayed on equal terms...I don't want to be treated like I'm more important than my male co-workers. I want to be seen as equal to them. I want to rely on them as much as they rely on me--a true partnership. We have that at Naughty Dog. Our game was made by men and women, some of the most talented in the industry."

With the launch of the new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One hopefully developers and publishers are able to realize the demographics for the video game industry are changing and that stronger female characters are essential to the growth of the industry.

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