The cover art for Naughty Dog's PlayStation 3 action game The Last of Us features female protagonist Ellie alongside male character Joel, but not all wanted it this way. Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann and Ellie voice actress Ashley Johnson spoke out on the issue in a new VG247 interview.
"I feel like they don’t put women on the covers because they’re afraid that it won’t sell," Johnson said. "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 game’s won’t sell as well with a woman on the cover, compared to some badass dude on the front."
Druckmann concurred with Johnson's assessment, claiming it is a fallacy that games with females on their covers will sell fewer copies than those with a male front and center. He also revealed that Naughty Dog was asked to take Ellie entirely off the front of the box art for The Last of Us.
"I believe there’s a misconception that if you put a girl or a woman on the cover, the game will sell less," Druckmann said. "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."
Box art has been a much-discussed issue of late. Irrational Games creative director Ken Levine recently responded to criticisms about the BioShock Infinite cover art, saying that it was designed for the uninformed, not fans of the series.
Johnson and Druckmann were too nice, I'd say. GDI, gaming industry, get your shit together. Also, really sad that Johnson had to ward off cries of sexism while talking about the sexism in the industry.