Well, as the only lesbian on this message board (for whatever that may be worth to anyone in terms of providing a different, perhaps more directly relevant, perspective), here are some of my thoughts on all this:
Never in my entire life have I seen so much hatred directed at any one video game prior to its release as has been directed at The Last of Us Part II. Usually this level of contempt is reserved for non-gamers: for pissed-off parents worried about how a video game will pervert their children or turn them into mass murderers or something, whereupon the most devoted may get in touch with their member of Congress or file a lawsuit in a bid to have the title in question removed from store shelves because freedom of speech is just far less important than the unquestioning perpetuation of traditional morals and time-tested, mindlessly repetitive themes and plots in all media, period. In this case though, instead the controversy mainly comes from gamers themselves. Which makes this way scarier to me. It begs the question of why. Why THIS level of fanatical vitriol? Why such a unique level of controversy before anyone has even played it? And why did it begin early, NOT recently upon the controversial leaks? Well let's put it this way: The Last of Us Part II will be the first full AAA video game in history to (at least substantially anyway) narratively center an explicitly lesbian character. Every other explanation is bullshit, considering how early on the attacks against this game began. That's it. What other reception would you expect from a community and culture that consists almost exclusively of heterosexual men? I mean seriously. A warm welcome or something? Get real. This was inevitable. It never mattered what the story was!
What makes Abby supposedly a transwoman even though she seems to be voiced by a biological female? Well she has muscles, so isn't dainty and cute, so is therefore not really a woman at all! Or at least surely not a "cis" woman?
Why is Ellie's attraction to Dinah a political conspiracy against heterosexual relationships and men? Because in this game, they're trying to start a family together, which is something that heterosexual couples never do, especially in video games! See? EMASCULATION!!! Well actually first it was because they kissed in public (oh my god, no!), but more recently the explanation has changed.
...But the characters who advance these types of arguments definitely aren't bigoted, they would have us believe. Nope, no male chauvinism there! No homophobia there! Defs not! Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, people.
Personally, I'm excited about Ellie's more prominent role in this sequel, and yeah, that's partially because she's lesbian and so am I. It helps make Ellie a character I can relate to more than other leading ladies in gaming. I'm also simply interested in the type of person that she is all-around. Am I thrilled about every single aspect of the recent leak that we've all come to be familiar with by now, I believe? Nah, there are some minor qualms I think I may have, but we'll see! It's all in the presentation, I think, if my love of Okami is any indication. (Okami is a game promoting religious faith. I'm an atheist. I don't agree with all the logic presented in the game. But I've still fallen in love with the game anyway owing to its sheer sincerity and the beauty of its vision for the role of faith in the world. I don't have to actually agree with what a game is saying, if it's really saying anything, to love it!)
One of the things I love most about Naughty Dog is the fact that they don't have a producer department. The people who work on the game get to be more or less as creative and spontaneous as they want to be, just like it was an indie game being released! That's what you see reflected in the plot direction here. That's why it seems so wild and un-corporate and risky. That's what I love about the old classic games. It's what I love about today's independently-developed games. That Naughty Dog has developed a penchant for bringing that ethos and mindset to the AAA market is what I love most about them. It's not a coincidence that they're the ones setting this new, aforementioned representational precedent for the AAA market. It takes a willingness to take huge commercial risks to do that. I may be in the minority in applauding that audacity, and might be accused of selfishness in so doing, but so be it. I for one want to see where this game goes!
Last edited by Jaicee - on 02 May 2020