The Last of Us Part II is perhaps Naughty Dog's most ambitious title, as has been the case with every one of their releases.
The game was first unveiled back in 2016, with a trailer that went viral upon its release, as the first game in the series was one of the best games on the PS3, later remastered for the PS4.
Naughty Dog had set a new standard when it comes to single-player narrative-based games, with the Uncharted series and The Last of Us catalyzing the evolution of the genre.
The game featured nuanced characters and a story fit for an Emmy-winning TV series, and was widely praised for its inclusivity and strong female representation. The Last of Us' co-director and writer, Neil Druckmann, has been extremely vocal about his personal beliefs and making games that are inclusive and have a strong focus on providing characters all across the spectrum.
The Last of Us had some of the strongest female characters in gaming, and even a protagonist from the LGBTQ community. However, when the second game's 2018 Gameplay Reveal trailer came out, a certain section of the gaming community directed hate towards Naughty Dog and Neil Druckmann, and the game itself.
Why is The Last of Us Part II being targeted?
The 2018 Gameplay Reveal trailer showed gameplay footage as well as certain parts of the story.
The game's protagonist Ellie was seen dancing with her friend Dina, and them sharing a kiss on screen. This led to a sizeable section of the videogaming community spewing hate towards the game.
However, to the fans of the first game who also played the Left Behind DLC, Ellie's sexual orientation was no surprise.
The Last of Us Part II has since been receiving tonnes of hate online on Twitter, Instagram as well as on Youtube. However, it has not just been vitriolic hate, people have resorted to spoiling the game's story in the comments section of Naughty Dog's posts on Instagram.
None of this has deterred Neil Druckmann or Naughty Dog as they have set the standard for inclusivity in video games and are dedicated to providing games with a strong focus on diverse characters by releasing games like Uncharted: Lost Legacy, an installment in the franchise with 2 female protagonists.
Neil Druckmann has been extremely vocal and critical about the representation of women in video games. He has stated that women have been overly sexualized and objectified in video gaming, and have been restricted to playing support characters only.
Featuring games with strong female characters as well as characters with different sexual orientations is a huge step forward for gaming as a whole. The Last of Us Part II may ultimately the standard for inclusivity in games.
Representation and inclusiveness are extremely important in media: be it movies, games or books. While there will always be a certain section of any community that spews vitriolic hate, there are just as many if not more who are in support of more inclusive games like The Last of Us.