*Spoilers for The Last of Us are used in this article*
I have been reading news recently about how Nolan North has maybe outed TLOU2, but Troy Baker has maybe said it isn’t happening yet. All maybes and nothing concrete. There has been no announcements, the game may or may not be being made right as we speak. However I began reading forums and discussion boards about these latest rumours and it got me thinking. There was much speculation as to whether a second game, if it were to be made, would follow the adventures of Ellie and Joel or a new set of characters, who would be the main protagonist, still Joel or would Ellie take over? would it be set years in the future from the original or not? All these factors formed an idea in my head and I suddenly saw the potential for Naughty Dog and Sony to do something which is very rare in gaming, create a strong and real interpretation of a female character!
For me Ellie is already a fantastic character, when playing TLOU her relationship with Joel became an emotional ride that kept me hooked, she was cheeky, she was funny, she had her own opinion. She was just awesome. I take my hat off to Naughty Dog I really do. Ellie however was a teenager, with Joel an older, rugged, strong man, it meant that (especially in terms of gameplay) there was a difference between the two. In this way Ellie felt reliant on Joel, and physically weaker than him. Just an observation, not a criticism by any means, it makes sense that a 14/15 year old girl would not be as physically strong as Joel, and throughout the game we see her evolving, getting stronger and more adept at surviving. I mean she even basically saves Joel’s life and fends for herself. What I am trying to say is she is a strong and a very real world character who is naturally limited by her young age. When the game starts Joel is accompanied by Tess who is one of the strongest female character I have seen in a video game to date. She didn’t have the same personality as Ellie but she was reliant on nobody, Joel if anything leaned on her.
Ellie is already a strong female character now and I began to imagine TLOU2 set in the future with an older Ellie and as the protagonist. No longer would she be limited by her youth, she would be strong and independent. Too often in games women are overly sexualised as a way to get young men to take notice of their games, and this has become somewhat of a trope in the gaming industry. To put it bluntly characters like Ellie just don’t get created on a regular basis, she is a strong, deep character who is both likeable and relateable. More that that, female characters don’t usually get the main role, and if they do they usually fall under the previous description. TLOU2 has the potential to buck this trend with a character that is already loved by millions and has the strength to take this franchise forward and with it the rest of the gaming world. The gaming world needs a strong female character to set it a light and I can think of nobody better that Ellie to really get the ball rolling.