"The research group wasn't planning on focus-testing female players - it's something we had to specifically request."- Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann explains how his company had to step in during focus-testing for The Last of Us. As part of the focus-testing for the upcoming title, Druckmann discovered that the research firm the company had brought in to handle the focus groups wasn't planning to poll a single female player. "Players are rounded up and are asked to view materials and answer some quantitative and qualitative questions about it," he noted. However, it came as a "big surprise" to find that he had to specifically request that the firm polled women as well as men. "I hope this is a relic of the past that will soon go away," he added. This same marketing firm also told Naughty Dog that it would be best to put The Last of Us' female protagonist Ellie on the back of the box rather than the front, although Naughty Dog refused this advice. This latter point echoes the words of Jean-Max Morris, creative director on upcoming Capcom adventure game Remember Me, who recently said that publishers were against having a female character as the main protagonist in video games. Another recent focus testing case centred around Uncharted's female protagonist Chase, who focus-testers said was too much of a wimp. Sony Bend subsequentally made Chase a stronger character who could carry herself in situations.
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The Last of Us dev had to specifically request female focus-testers
"The research group wasn't planning on focus-testing female players - we had to specifically request it." - Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann explains how his company had to step in during focus-testing for The Last of Us.