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The Last Of Us Celebrates Pride Month With LGBTQ+ Artwork

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

22nd Jun 2021 16:40

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Naughty Dog is firing a rainbow-coloured crossbow and celebrating Pride Month with The Last of Us. While plenty of corporations are accused of slapping a Pride flag on their products to simply sell more, the apocalyptic franchise has a strong history with the LGBTQ+ community - which has seen Naughty Dog come under fire.

Back in 2013's first game, there was a gay couple called Bill and Frank, while leading protagonist Ellie had a lesbian relationship with Riley Abel. In Part II, Ellie finds herself with Dina (who is either bisexual or pansexual), and the game was slammed by critics for the introduction of a transexual man called Lev. Sticking a glitter-coated middle finger to anti-LGBTQ+ fans, the developer has showcased a montage of these characters.

What is The Last of Us LGBTQ+ artwork?

Pride Month is typically celebrated in June to remember those who fought in the Stonewall riots of 1969. Naughty Dog tweeted to explain its montage of artwork, writing, "Whether in the physical world around us or the digital worlds that reflect reality, LGBTQIA+ individuals universally deserve intersectional representation, equal rights, and inclusion". The video game developer concluded, "Happy #PRIDE to all. Here's to celebrating who you are and honoring those who paved the way."

In the image, we see Ellie and Dina together, as well as Lev. In Part II, Lev is usually travelling with Abby and his sister, Yara. Finally, there's Bill. Although Bill is never outwardly revealed as gay in the first game, snippets of his backstory piece together his sexuality thanks to a note from "Frank", who says he doesn't love him any more. As for Riley, she played a crucial part in Ellie's life and the Left Behind expansion, but sadly didn't appear in Part II after she succumbed to the Cordyceps fungus.

What does Naughty Dog think about LGBTQ+ representation in The Last of Us?

The issue of The Last of Us and the LGBTQ+ community has reared its head time and time again. While the gaming industry has struggled to throw off stereotypes of scantily-clad and one-dimensional women being female protagonists, it's had an even bigger struggle with showcasing the whole spectrum of the rainbow. Naughty Dog is doing its bit, and according to Game Director Neil Druckmann, he'd always written Ellie as gay.

When it comes to the upcoming HBO series of the same name, Druckmann has confirmed it will be much of the same. Game of Thrones star Bella Ramsey is stepping into the shoes of Elle, and while there's no sign of a love interest in the impressive cast list, that doesn't mean Ellie's sexuality won't be explored further down the line. 

Similar to how Game of Thrones represented a whole spectrum of sexualities, co-writer Hayley Gross told IGN, "Ellie is gay. Ellie was born gay. This is just who she is. And to explore who she is as a teenager and as an adult, it wouldn’t be honoring her character to hide some facet of herself". One fan on Twitter told showrunner Craig Mazin, "Y’all better keep the gay gay. Pls and thank you. Do not erase that representation pls. Anyways, I’m so excited for this!”, which got a simple response of, "You have my word."

Druckmann has confirmed there's already a story sketched out for The Last of Us Part 3, and although it's just a pipe dream for now, at least LGBTQ+ fans will know representation is at the forefront of the survival horror. Either way, Naughty Dog is letting the rainbow flag fly for Pride Month.

 

Images via Naughty Dog

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Godfall's PS Plus Release Is Even Worse Than We Thought

Images: Counterplay Games

Written by 

Joseph Kime

Posted 

3rd Dec 2021 15:54

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