The Last of Us Part II is on the way, and it looks great! PlayStation 4 owners are definitely in for a treat! But for some people, there are concerns. The first gameplay trailer for the game, which originally appeared at E3 2018, had people talking. Ellie covered both ends of the spectrum! Ellie had a steamy moment with another woman at a dance in one part. In another, she brutally took down a group of violent enemies, even cutting one man’s throat in front of the viewers. While some people seem to be okay with the latter, the former is causing some outcry. Is The Last of Us Part II too sexy?
Of course, the answer to that is no. The kiss Ellie and Dina share is, frankly, adorable. The two women have an established relationship and are behaving appropriately in a public setting. So why would some people be up in arms? What would make them care so much about Ellie getting a little action? Well, there are some preexisting factors that could explain why this one trailer is causing so much trouble. You know, aside from the obvious, “Some people can not accept a female heroine, especially if she is a lesbian.”
I can understand there being some apprehension behind this moment and depiction of Ellie, as well as people being thrust into playing her. I think it all comes down to The Last of Us. In the first game, Ellie was only 14 years old. If you picked up The Last of Us: American Dreams, you saw her when she was only 13. It can be difficult to reconcile seeing someone we know as a child as a mature adult in a relationship sometimes. While there are definitely people out there who did not approve of Ellie’s developments due to homophobia or misogyny, we have to acknowledge that some people who may have been concerned about seeing Ellie locking lips with Dina may have done so because they have a vision of her in their minds as a child. They may not see her as a 19-year-old woman yet, and could come to understand what is happening.
There is also the mindset people might be in after The Last of Us. In that game, we almost always played as Joel. He was tasked with aiding and protecting Ellie for the entire game. He, and by extension we, became her surrogate parent. We had hours and years of experience seeing her as a daughter. So some people might see The Last of Us Part II and have an almost parental reaction. We worry about our virtual daughter. Especially if we paid attention to the earlier part of the trailer, when Ellie was talking to Jesse, and learn that her and Dina are currently in the “off” portion of an on-again, off-again relationship.
But what it really comes down to is understanding the passage of time. Games mature, and so do we as people. Ellie is an adult in a world where she has had to grow up fast. She is the lead in The Last of Us Part II, and we know from the footage we have seen in both games that she has earned that role over time. She is a lesbian, which is a completely normal thing, and we should accept and support her relationships. After all, people who might be upset with her moment with Dina know she has already shared similar memories with Riley.
In short, The Last of Us Part II is not too sexy. It shows a grown woman with another woman she clearly has a relationship with. It is also not too brutal, in that Ellie is in a post apocalyptic world and we know what she had to do in The Last of Us to survive. It is not too unrealistic, as her character has been established and matured over the course of the series and its DLC. It is a natural display of a character maturing, and we should applaud the realism and decisions made.