Devs ‘refused’ to move Ellie to back cover of Last of Us

Naughty Dog talks box art

Given the heightened fascination with box art — more specifically, BioShock Infinite‘s — VG247 has some interesting quotes about how Naughty Dog ended up with the final cover for The Last of Us. The outlet asked actor Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and creative director Neil Druckmann why there are so few female characters portrayed on videogame box art.

“I feel like they don’t put women on the covers because they’re afraid that it won’t sell,” explained Johnson. “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 games won’t sell as well with a woman on the cover, compared to some badass dude on the front.”

“I agree with what Ashley said,” Druckmann continued. “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.”

While some might be quick to jump on the marketing folks in these situations, sometimes, the truth isn’t pretty. It’s entirely possible that who appears on box art, and how, can make all the difference in a purchasing decision for some people, silly as that might seem. How many? I’m not sure. But kudos to Naughty Dog for being in a position to stay strong and then follow through. The norm isn’t going to change if everyone sticks with it. Frankly, the bigger issue seems to be having more well-written female protagonists in the first place. We’ll get there, eventually.

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

Jordan Devore
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random.