Monday, September 1, 2014

The Last of Us: Breaking Stereotypes and Heads

On July 29, The Last of Us: Remastered was released for Sony’s PlayStation 4. It is a visually updated version of the original, which came out only a year earlier for the PlayStation 3. While it is not unusual for a game to be remade with updated graphics, it is rare for a game to be remade so soon after the original. However, when considering the incredible critical and commercial reception The Last of Us has received, creating a remastered version makes sense. In addition to its popularity, The Last of Us  is an abnormality in the game industry. Unlike other blockbusters such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, The Last of Us is loved primarily for its story and character as opposed to its gameplay, which is still excellent. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, in which the player plays as a grizzled old man named Joel who escorts a girl named Ellie across the U.S. while fighting off hostile human survivors and zombie-like enemies that are infected with a fictional mutation of the real Cordyceps fungus.

The Last of Us breaks stereotypes not only within the game industry by showing that video games can be much more than mindless entertainment, but in broader American culture as well with its portrayal of LGBT characters. A testament to the strength of the game’s narrative is that on July 28 in Santa Monica, California there was a live reading of the script by the voice actors. The fact that a The Last of Us’s story could stand on its own without any gameplay breaks the stereotype that video games can’t tell incredible and impactful stories.  

In addition to the main game, a side story was released in February entitled The Last of Us: Left Behind. As opposed to the main story in which Joel is playable, Left Behind puts the player in control of Ellie. The side story explores, in the form of flashbacks, Ellie’s past, particularly her romantic relationship with a girl named Riley. This relationship breaks the stereotype that lesbians are all crazed overly masculine women who hate all men. Ellie and Riley are simply people, and their sexuality is an element of their character, it doesn’t define them. An interesting thing to note is that actress Ellen Page accused the developers of The Last of Us of using her likeness to create Ellie before she came out and before Ellie was revealed to be lesbian.  

1 comment:

  1. I found this interesting and I noticed in the game myself that ellie is neither masculine nor extremely feminine and I think it portrays what an actual lesbian may be like instead of basing her on common stereotypes