Naughty Dog's Approach To Gender Diversity And Inclusion With Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Elise Favis

Back in 2012, creative director Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog came forward saying that the team "flat-out refused" to move Ellie to the back of the cover for The Last of Us. It was a talking point that came up during the game's development: Could female leads sell in an industry that had a barrage of male protagonists? Druckmann debunked the myth, saying it was a misconception that female-led games couldn't sell, but women protagonists were nonetheless few and far between. Much has changed since then. E3 2014 in particular saw a surge of female playable protagonists introduced in trailers.

Demand for diversity is seen from the gaming audience, and developers are also taking more interest. Overwatch's game director Jeff Kaplan, for example, explained during a D. I. C. E.

summit keynote this year that Blizzard's goal with the game's characters and world building wasn't just about diversity, but also strongly focused on "inclusivity and open mindedness. " Naughty Dog, a studio that has long been dedicated to building strong stories, has a similar ambition. It believes that this kind of inclusion is important to build narratives we care about. "I think people can empathize with any sort of character from any sort of background, but there’s something special when you see yourself in an experience," Druckmann says. "I think the more we can create that for all sorts of people, the more games can grow and become more intriguing stories when you [introduce characters] of different backgrounds and walks of life.

" Today, Naughty Dog is busy working on two titles that are female-driven: The Last of Us Part II, where you play as Ellie, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, where Chloe and Nadine are reintroduced, but this time as protagonists. The Lost Legacy is the first game from Naughty Dog with two female leads who are also of color, with Nadine being a black woman and Chloe being half Indian. "Two women of color, that was happenstance, but we’ll take it," says writer Josh Scherr. "That representation is also important. It’s not the primary thing but it’s nice that it’s happening.

I have a daughter and I would like her to see more positive role models or representations in games and the media in general. " Naughty Dog told us that while it believes having characters with different genders and backgrounds is important for representation, the team is first and foremost concerned about building realistic, human stories that…

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