Some Idiots Wanted To Move The Girl On The Cover Of The Last Of Us

As you'd expect given the fact she's one of the two main characters in the game, teenage girl Ellie features prominently on the cover to Naughty Dog's The Last of Us. Indeed, she's got star billing.

But this being video games, an industry where those responsible for selling a game can sometimes be morons and/or cowards, that wasn't a sure thing. In an interview with VG247, Ashley Johnson, the actress who plays Ellie in the game, said "I feel like they don't put women on the covers because they're afraid that it won't sell. 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 game's creative director, Neil Druckmann, then adds "I agree with what Ashley said. I believe there's a misconception that if you put a girl or a woman on the cover, the game will sell less. 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."

Right, because putting a white man with a gun on the cover will really help your game stand out.

The Last of Us: acting out the end of the world [VG247]


    Girl on the front cover?

    Well, you just lost yourself a sale.

    I think we all know women in video games is a ridiculous lie created by the Illuminati.

      I enjoyed these words.

        It's just the next step in the feminist conspiracy!

      You must be American.

      Aren't they the ones constantly changing cover art in hopes to make it look badass ( when it fact they make it look stupid?)

        Everything i know about box art i learnt from this Burdusel character. He's a smart one

    Call me crazy... I'm not sure if I believe that conversation actually happened.

    Naughty Dog are owned wholly and solely by Sony, if they wanted the box art to look a certain way... then that's how it would look.

      Naughty Dog apparently get a lot of freedom in what they do, and a big say in what they do, by Sony. I wholeheartedly believe something like that would have went down.

    ...that doesn't mean much. They still have meetings in terms of art direction for approval of ideas. The you can bet it did happen, it's not like its a giant conspiracy lol.

      What you said does apply to the whole article in addition to what James Mac said, so it's all good.
      Also you're right of course, they have meetings about everything

    Good on Naughty Dog for that decision. The main point of the game is to Ellie in this post-apocalyptic world in the first place and ends up being a crucial element in the game anyway, both storywise and gameplay wise. If gaming is still at such an immature level that we think a game won't sell well because a woman is on the front cover then as an industry we really need to grow out of these misconceptions.

    ...maybe I'm more discerning than most... but I generally don't care what the cover looks like, I am more interested in whether the game is any good...
    That said, One of the greatest games from the last year is Journey (not that I've finished it yet), and I don't know if the leads a boy or a girl and I dont care (I think I think its a girl).

    So by that logic the next Tomb Raider reboot is doomed for failure???

      Depends, did they make her breasts larger again?

    Right, because history has taught us that games just don't sell unless they have a heroic or powerful character on the cover.

      I thought what they were saying was that games don't sell with women on the cover. That cover clearly doesn't have a woman on it (unless you somehow know what the title means)

        The first impression counts for a lot.
        The Zelda cover linked was really unique and stood out, I'm willing to bet it's cover helped sales.
        If you have a crappy cover, people are less likely to randomly grab it and check the back.
        And the simple fact is, when people go in with no idea what game they want and haven't done any research or whatever, they're more likely to go "hell yeah, I wanna play as THIS kickass looking dude" or that seems to be the theory, or my estimation of the interpretation of the united na- wait, I mean theory >_>

    Disclaimer: I have poor eyesight. In fact, even though I can see, I actually fall into the legal definition of blindness. Now with that excuse out of the way ...

    When I first saw the cover I thought that it was of a man and a young teen boy. I didn't realise that it was a girl until it was pointed out. Oh well, Sherlock Holmes I isn't.

      Dont worry mate these days its hard telling the difference in the street, most young blokes dress and act like young you can be forgiven for mistaking a game cover.

      Last edited 14/12/12 9:47 am

        LMAO, I enjoyed this. So true.

    All I've got to say is "Lara Croft". But maybe what Sony were really asking is "can you give her GG tits?"

    I find it hard to believe that there are really people around who are so stupid they wouldn't buy a game simply because there's a woman or girl on the cover. Now, I completely believe that there are marketing people who are stupid enough to believe that, given all the bad ads etc we've been subjected to since the creation of ads...but that's a rant for another day. :D

    Anyway, as long as the cover isn't all dongs, I couldn't care less what it looks like. I buy games based on the game itself, not the cover (hell, even if the cover is all dongs I'd probably still buy it if the gameplay and story are good).

      It's more a case of indicating what the game is about (or perhaps what they want the consumer to think it's about based on the business with the Bioshock Infinite cover). If someone with no prior knowledge of the game glances across a shelf in a store and sees it mixed in with a bunch of other titles, what are they going to get from that cover and is it going to be sufficient for them to pick up the box and read the blurb.

      While I can only guess at what someone who'd never heard of the game before would think, the Last of Us cover does a pretty good job of illustrating what the game is about in a single image. I guess it doesn't have much angry, shooty man to attract the frat boy element.

    Original artwork with a woman? nope no sale. probally boring game anyway.
    Generic man shooter guy with gun? $$$ , the game is recycled rubbished? whatever its a got a manshooter gun guy on the frontcover it will be great......

    I can understand the marketing teams POV. Us gamers who read sites such as Kotaku and IGN have an understanding of the game months prior to the release.
    However, i think Naughty Dogs target audioence are towards the more intelligent gamer, not the average bogan gamer who only plays Call of Duty and UFC games (i actually Like COD, but hate the average COD fans).

    I would like to draw attention to the covers of Bioshock and Bioshock 2 - the presence of a girl on the covers did not diminish the game, nor the sales. Admittedly, in both cases the girl looked creepy as hell, but still...

      Yeah, but there was also a giant robot looking dude with the creepy girl.

        And there's a macho dude with a gun with the girl (who is also carrying a rifle, I might add) on this cover... The only difference is that in this the girl looks scared, while in Bioshock the girl looks... predatory is the word that comes to mind. I think the issue is less about gender and more about showing a vulnerable character on your cover.

          You make a good point, but I still have to add the note that the guy with the rifle is very much in the background and not likely to grab attention.
          It all factors in.

          Bioshock happens to have unique art direction in the intimidating Big daddy and (creepy) little sisters. It takes advantage of the weirdness of those images in order to make it provocative.

    A good looking girl on the cover of anything is going to attract a male to look.. even if only for a second.. and that's sometimes all you need.

    Wow. I can see a lot of things were considered when designing that cover, it's very technical. Not even kidding.

    So, what I take from this is that guys would prefer to look at other guys rather than girls...

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