The Last of Us: Naughty Dog flat-out refused to put Ellie on back of the box art

Naughty Dog has once again shown why they are treated with such respect around the gaming world.

Ken Levine recently admitted that the reason for going with a generic dudebro-type box art was because they wanted to appeal to the wider market. Sure, that’s fine, but it’s also something that tells us that they don’t have enough faith in the female protagonist of the game.

The Last of Us features two main protagonists, Joel and Ellie, and they have both been featured in front the box art (as shown below), with Ellie given a prominent position. So will that affect sales? Naughty Dog doesn’t care and here’s what they had to say in an interview with VG247.

“I feel like they don’t put women on the covers because they’re afraid that it won’t sell. 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,” Ashley Johnson, who voices Ellie in the game, said.

“I agree with what Ashley said. I believe there’s a misconception that if you put a girl or a woman on the cover, the game will sell less. 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,” Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann added.

They even posted this on Twitter.

the last of us box art troll


Here’s the official box art for the game.

the last of us

  • MyBodyIsReady

    I’m glad they refused. I imagine she plays a big part in the story. Time’s are changing. This ain’t Gears of war.

    • DarthDiggler

      LOL You are buying right into this my friend. It’s freaking box art for a Video Game. You can’t have a more symbolism over substance situation than this. Stop buying into perceptions created by bloggers who want to create controversy for web-hits. Use your head and your own thoughts.

      • MyBodyIsReady

        Okay not entirely sure what you’re on about but box art makes a lot of difference. Battlefield 3 doesn’t have similar box art to Call of duty by accident you know?

        You’ve got to think about someone who isn’t on internet gaming websites, who look in store and have nothing but the box art to show them what a games about. So LOL yourself, fool.

      • Manoj Varughese

        I agree totally.

  • DarthDiggler

    You know I think people make far too much of a big deal out of this kind of non-sense. Who cares what the box art is, the box art of a game is not a political statement. Sick of the politically correct thought police telling me what to think.

    • oo7porscheMGS

      It’s not about politically correct LOL, it’s about having the MAIN characters on the front of the box, and about selling the game to people that might actually want it / like it! For example.. many women will very likely be more interested in playing a game if they see it actually has a female character in it as well… it may not be a big deal but why should they NOT put the main characters on the box?? I would be JUST as annoyed if they left JOEL out of the cover… because the game seems to be about BOTH of these characters, equally.

  • George


    • Its Ma Ec

      Subconsciously, yeah people do say it.

      • phil

        Subconsciously, no, people don’t say it.

        • Billy Dibler

          realistically, none of you know what people think.

      • mr horp

        I bought bloodrayne 1 because there was a hot chick on the box.

  • oo7porscheMGS

    Walking Dead did it and it just won game of the year last week….. So what’s wrong with having a great female character on the front of the box??? NOTHING. It actually shows you HAVE a unique character in the game UNLIKE many other games that are about the same tough white guy with a beard that kicks everyones a$$… that’s cool.. trust me I like action…. my name does have oo7 and porsche in it… ;) But some of us actually want games with character and story as well. Last of Us and Beyond Two Souls look to be the games to deliver on character and story next year, as WELL as intense action. Can’t say that about many games! I actually think it was a mistake not to put Chloe, Elena, AND SULLY on the cover of Uncharted 2. Or why not have a mix of 2 different artworks on the SAME cover.. if you really want to show the action of the game as well and sell to BOTH crowds…

  • oo7porscheMGS

    And when I say Walking Dead I know that the disk isn’t out yet.. but I meant that the Walking Dead has a FEMALE as one of the MAIN characters and that certainly didn’t “stop” the game from selling… it actually helped it sell if you really THINK about it because the character(s) were so great…. especially the girl. So any developer or publisher that thinks a game won’t sell because it has a female on the cover needs to think a little harder about the BIG picture instead of the superficial things…. If the game is INTERESTING and the CHARACTERS are interesting and the STORY is interesting, many people will buy it! Naughty Dog knows this. They aren’t amateurs who need to stoop to the lowest denominator to actually sell their game. They know that QUALITY sells. We can only hope more publishers / developers get some balls and follow that style instead of going the Bioshock Infinite way, to put it simply.

  • Jason Bristow

    I think it’s a brilliant box art and doesn’t need changing at all…

  • Jin

    maybe theyre thing about making a sequel abd Ellie isnt going to make it to the next game…

  • GuessWhoo?

    This is the stupidest discussion ever…. Just buy the damn game…

  • Dtoxz

    day 1 buy for me for this reason and MANY MANY others.

  • dirkradke

    I don’t care about the box art. It does absolutely nothing for me no matter what type of game it is or the subject matter of the story.


    Bioshock Infinite id for pussies and american stupid Xbots

    • Jason

      And TLOU is for PauperStation fanboys that fall for Sony’s retardedness every single f*cking time.

  • Brady

    Tomb Raider does well enough. Is this that big an issue?

  • Jason

    Sony continues the overhype and underdeliver trend. That’s why there is almost no gameplay in all their trailers and almost entirely made of scripted events. GTFO of business Sony!

    • Frankdhp

      LOL you are such an ignorant dumbass.

  • Roman Cruz

    I think the issue here is “female on box art cover who isn’t highly sexualized.” We all know female imagery sells copies if the camera’s focused on their tits, ass, or both.

    And yes, it’s an issue, since apparently the publishers and/or marketing guys wanted to put the character on the back instead of the front.

    Calling this a non-issue is like saying you’re not racist, but immediately clutching your wallet when a black man passes you on the street.

  • Manoj Varughese

    It still looks like I’m going to BUY it. And the box art keeping me from buying it, NO.

  • Daniel Lawson

    She’s still in the correct spot… bringing up the rear… and not on point… different strokes for different folks… each person sees things with different eyes.

  • Phil

    Oh, so that’s why Tomb Raider bombed so hard back in the 90s…

  • Xino

    lol dudebro boxart

  • Joshua Pahlke

    Honestly if I was to by a game on the cover art alone I would skip all the stupid generic ones with a guy walking towards you with a moody look holding a gun and get this. The generic is SO boring. I am also excited for Beyond 2 Souls cover art because its all Jodie!

  • Yo! It’s Jimmy Lenoir

    Kudos to you naughty dog.

  • Chewy

    Create controversy where none exists so Gen-X and later Americans, suffering from a severe case of self-loathing, can self-righteously mock their own culture. Too much of this on gaming websites recently.

  • Joe Keilso

    Remember Mass Effect 3? All the fans wanted a female Shepard on the cover. So the developers made a separate alternate boxart for them. Also, Lollipop Chainsaw and Catherine had women on the cover and both games sold well. I love Ken Levine, but his excuse for putting a man on the cover is retarded. Now I understand why everyone hated the cover. I rather IG put the poster of Elizabeth and Songbird instead.

    Or, in the case of Booker, this picture of him and Elizabeth together would have been much better.