In 2012, Margaret Sixel was asked by her husband, George Miller, to edit together an action movie despite never working on an action movie before. When she asked why he wanted her to edit it, Miller famously said, “[If it was edited by] the usual kind of guys, it would look like every other action movie we see”. That movie was Mad Max: Fury Road, a masterpiece.
Different perspectives offer a fresh lens for the creative process. It’s the same when looking inwards, into the creation itself, too - stepping outside of generic character archetypes often leads to better stories, more grounded characters. After all, stories are a way to see into someone else’s life, and we all live to enjoy a range of different experiences. This is something The Last of Us creator Naughty Dog understands well.
At Naughty Dog, diversity is as important as graphics, combat, and music “because, ultimately, it leads to better stories,” creative director Neil Druckmann explained in a GQ interview. “Ashley [Johnson] shared a story with me where someone came up to her and told her that The Last of Us gave her the courage to come out to her family. It's amazing that a story was able to do that. Those stories are inspiring to say, ‘look, when we tell varied stories, they can have a real impact and effect on people’.”
In fact, character diversity is one of the reasons Westworld writer Halley Gross came onboard to help write The Last of Us Part 2. Before agreeing to the job, she saw some concept art of a muscular woman who’s played by Laura Bailey. “As soon as I saw the drawing of her with these fucking awesome shoulders and big tough arms, I was like ‘you're gonna show me this, in games?” she said. “I'm in.’”
Reviews for The Last of Us Part 2 land this Friday and you can check out the latest gameplay trailer at that link. The Last of Us Part 2 releases on June 19. Naughty Dog says its next game will either be The Last of Us Part 3 or a new IP.