"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.