What Happens When You Scrub A Female Co-Star From A Magazine Cover

Here's a weird thing. The cover of the latest issue of Scanidanivian mag GameReactor features, as many covers will this month, The Last Of Us. What's different about this one, though, is that it's caught the attention of developers Naughty Dog, as the image has been altered from its original form.

The piece, by Naughty Dog artist Maciej Kuciara, appears on GameReactor's cover with hero Joel front and centre.

But as the game's creative director Neil Druckman pointed out on Twitter earlier this week, that's not how the image appeared when it was sent to the magazine.

What could have ca-Joeled them into Ellie-minating the game's other star off the cover (Oh god I'm sorry...)?

While many were happy to fling allegations of sexism at the magazine, and others took the opportunity to have a little fun at the mag's expense as a result, GameReactor's Petters Hegevall has a far more logical explanation, saying the decision was an aesthetic one, based both on the fact Ellie's "layer" in the image file was of a lower resolution than the rest of the image, and that by removing her the cover not only looked better, but gave them the perfect spot for a headline.

Why am I posting this now? I think it's fascinating that we live in a world where design decisions on the cover of a video game magazine can become something. I also wanted to see if anyone who cared enough about the initial exchanges earlier in the week cared to take a look at the original image, since the team at Naughty Dog were kind enough to send it over for comparison's sake.

You can see the image as Kuciara (who we've featured here previously) originally penned it, complete with co-star Ellie, below.


    maybe they did it for the same reasons Irrational Games had old-mate only on the case for Bioshock Infinite (it would be funny as hell if gamereactor decided to release multiple alternate covers to download, print and replace hahahaha XD)

    Has nothing to do with image quality being lowered. They removed ellie because she is a 14 year old woman with a gun

      Agreed, and in the wake of the Anders Breivik incident you can understand why it might be a delicate issue. There's been for more overt censoring of viodegame-related material in the wake of such events. I'm thinking of the alteration of a certain child-sized enemy from the original Silent Hill in PAL territories in the wake of an incident in a school in Britain.

      I thought that too, then I realised it would have been easier just to remove the gun...

    Wow, remove the 'co-star'. That's not so great. Thats like taking Cpt. America off the Avengers poster just because he's more of a supporting character. (IMHO)

      I always felt The Hulk was more a supporting character than Cpt America, either that or Black Widow

        Hulk not like being supporting character, make Hulk angry! HULK SMASH!

        Last edited 22/06/13 9:40 am

      Captain America is supposed to lead the Avengers. A "problem" with the movie was that RDJ is so charismatic that he kind of takes the spotlight... so he kind of had to hand over the torch to CapA which seemed a bit forced. By comparison, look at Captain America in the 2nd intro cinematic of Marvel vs Capcom 3 where he parries a helicopter... that's far more like his alpha comic status.

      Naughty Dog shouldn't be so surprised about omitting one of the characters for marketting... they designed the Ellie and Joel preorders didn't they? I got the Joel one because Ellie had sold out everywhere.

      Cpt. America is the LEADER of the Avengers, he's the one who orders them to 'assemble'.

      Hawkeye and black widow are probably the weakest links.

      captain America is an integral part of the team, in fact he's closer to the leader then stark ever got (rich wanker), and in the recent movie, he put in some WORK at the end, I mean seriously, everyone else was just dealing with bits and pieces, he kept the ENTIRE ground situation in check, all of it, the whole debacle, man deserves a medal, or at least another one.

      although more on topic, while the image looks fine with her in it normally, once you crop it down to magazine size she kinda throws off the balance, I can see why they'd remove her.

    Well, I watched a playthrough last night that took place in that area..


    Ellie wasn't where Joel was at that specific time, so it kind of makes more sense.. But still.

    Oddly enough I kind of liked the parts of the last of us when you played Ellie the most, if there is DLC I hope we get to play more of her.

      I didn't know you got to control Ellie. I'm obviously not that far into it yet.

      And yes there is going to be single player DLC, don't know when it's going to be released though.

      Last edited 22/06/13 10:49 am

    Simple answer: it was for composition. The original image is content asymmetric and pulls the viewers eyes away from the center - not something you want in a magazine cover.

    probably for the same reasons naughty dogs marketing team were originally gonna put ellie in the background instead of joel for the game cover. Respect to the naughty dog dev team for refusing.

    I would assume they did it so they could put words on the front cover. Am I wrong?

    I wonder of the in-house artist at Gamereactor felt "dirty" when modifying the pic?

    My guess is, Ellie is 14 and she holding a gun. If she wasn't holding one than she would be included in the cover. however, saying that if that was such a big concern why couldn't they just Photoshop it out.

    Lower resolution? Like, say, to give the illusion of depth seeing as she's in the background?

    Balls to them, I say. Balls!

      That's my only thought too. This whole situation is Balls. Balls!

    to be honest I kind of get what they were talking about. It actually does look better with her gone. with her removed my eyes automatically focus on the centre of the image being joel which then directs me to "the last of us" with ellie there there is no focal point to look at.

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