Naughty Dog has been taking some criticism for its apparent use of the “bury your gays” trope, with the recent The Last of Us: Part 2 trailer seemingly hinting at the death of a major character.
We already know that Ellie is on some kind of revenge mission, so the most obvious catalyst for that would be the death of Dina, a woman who she’s romantically involved with. However, these teases and hints are apparently all part of some grand design on Naughty Dog’s part.
“Well, obviously every bit of information that we give is really careful, so I can’t divulge too much beyond what’s in the trailer, but what I will say is that no one is safe in the world of The Last of Us,” co game director Anthony Newman explains. “If there is one thing I think I can say with confidence about Naughty Dog as a studio, it’s that everything we do, especially narrative, we approach with a lot of care, consideration. We really strive to avoid clichés or being crass, not necessarily due to some social pressures, but just because we want to tell original stories that are honest and true.
“Everything we show, we show for a pretty specific reason. For us, the hype period of the marketing period going into the game is almost like a prefix, it’s like an extension, a prologue to the experience of playing the game itself. So every release we do and the timing of it, it’s pretty carefully crafted to give players the best possible experience, following the game along and then eventually playing it.”
In other words, it could be a red herring, though that’s still using the trope to drum up hype so Naughty Dog has essentially blocked itself in a corner. We’ll have all the context we need to see how the studio handles it when The Last of Us: Part 2 releases on February 21, 2020. Check out our hands-on preview here.