The Last of Us is largely regarded as one of the finest games of the last generation of video games, part of the reason for this is the game’s incredibly engaging story featuring two of the best realised and most beardy/sweary characters in modern gaming, Ellie and Joel. However, despite Ellie being the main focal point of the entire fucking story, the people how made the game had to fight to put her on its cover.
If you’ve never played the game, which is statistically unlikely because it sold like all of the copies, the game focuses on the relationship between Joel, the survivor of a fungal apocalypse (just roll with it) and Ellie, a young girl who is seemingly immune to the virus that has almost wiped out humanity, as they fight their way through abandoned cities to meet up with scientists who can supposedly reverse engineer a cure for the mushroom monsters roaming the world. It probably doesn’t sound that great when it’s described like that, so we should also point out that the Joel also fires lasers from his fists.
Okay, so he doesn’t fire lasers from his fists during gameplay, but the game has a feature where Joel’s fists will detect whatever is in the environment as you try to punch an enemy in the grill and if you happen to be near a wall or table, well, this happens.
Punch lasers aside, as we mentioned above, the game’s main focus is on the relationship between Joel and Ellie, in other words, Ellie is critically important to both the story and the game itself. Which is presumably why when Naughty Dog pitched a cover for the game that prominently featured Ellie, Sony asked them to move her to a different spot. You know, to a place more fitting of, one of the game’s two main characters!
Refreshingly, upon being asked to move Ellie to a place that wasn’t the front of the box, everyone at Naughty Dog collectively said “fuck that noise”, sticking to their guns and insisting that Ellie deserved to be on the cover just as much as the gruff old guy with a beard you could lose an afternoon in.
It was largely rumored that Sony didn’t want Ellie on the cover due to the fear people wouldn’t buy a game where the main character fired lasers from his fists if it had a girl on the front. Just let that soak in for a second, preferably while chanting the words “punch lasers” over and over again.