The Last of Us Focus Group Originally All-Male

The Last of Us originally used an all-male focus group... then Naughty Dog realized that wasn't such a good idea and fixed it.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

Gender issues are a big deal right now.  In the gaming industry, specifically, the sexism in video games and the gender inequalities in the companies making them have been getting a lot of attention.  Female gamers are making their presence known while female developers are insisting they be heard.  So what was the firm behind The Last of Us‘ focus-group testing thinking when they initially only intended to speak to male gamers?

Recommended Videos

This was not a statistical anomaly, an accident of randomly-drawn names.  It was a conscious choice, a decision made to simply not talk to any female gamers when trying to determine how the game should be promoted and how people reacted to it.  When Naughty Dog found out, they quickly rectified the situation.

As Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckman put it,

My big surprise during this process is that the research group wasn’t planning on focus-testing female gamers — it’s something we had to specifically request. I hope this is a relic of the past that will soon go away.

One would expect a company whose entire job is to seek out the target audience would know better than to exclude part of it, but thankfully Naughty Dog caught on before it caused a real problem in this instance.  The Last of Us looks good enough for it to have been a terrible shame if it had ended up with that sort of mark in its development.

GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Wokendreamer
Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.