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The Last of Us Part II director says he won’t fight the ‘fair’ hate being directed at the controversial sequel

Josh Milton July 1, 2020
The Last of Us Part II: Homophobic cult may have been just a rumour

Still from The Last of Us Part II. (YouTube)

The Last of Us Part II, one of the most eagerly-anticipated games in years, has suffered a backlash from pockets of fans, but the game’s director has revealed that he’s barely been stung.

During a new podcast episode with ex-Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime, Neil Druckmann discussed the barbed comments hurled at him, the studio Naughty Dog and the game’s actors.

While the PlayStation 4 game has been lauded by critics, with much attention paid to its refreshingly honest portrayal of its queer lead, The Last of Us Part II‘s release has been muddied by harsh fan reviews.

On review aggregator Metacritic, the video game mopped a high-ranking 94 based of 108 critic scores. However, the user score is 4.9, based on more than 104,000 people.

While such a flimsy fan reaction may have proved to be a devastating blow to a director, Druckmann knows when a battle isn’t worth fighting.

The Last of Us Part II backlash was expected. 

Addressing The Last of Us Part II’s negative reviewsm Druckmann said: “I think you have to create some separation to say, ‘We made this game, we believe in this game, we’re proud of this game’.

“Now it’s out there and it’s like whatever reaction people have – whether they like it or not – that’s fair.

“That’s their reaction and you don’t fight that.”

“The other thing with the more hateful stuff, the more vile stuff, that’s a little harder. It’s especially harder when I see it happening to team members or cast members who play a particular character in the game.

The Israeli-American writer also touched on the scathing fan reaction against some of the characters’ voice actors, appearing to allude to new character Abbey, voiced by Laura Bailey, who has a controversial part in The Last of Us Part II plot.

“We have an actor, she’s been getting really awful, vile stuff because of a fictional character she’s playing in the game. I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

“The thing I try to do is just ignore it as much as I can. When things escalate to being serious, there are certain security protocols that we take and I report it to the proper authorities.”

Moreover, he resigned to knowing that this vitriol is likely to drub the HBO television adaptation of game series.

“This is kind of the cost,” he said.

“When you’re doing something big and you might disappoint fans, there is a cost to it now. Which is, you’re going to get a certain level of hate, a certain level of vitriol that you just have to deal with.

“There is no other way to make it go away.”

Some of the criticism levelled against the game was inevitably simmered with homophobia against its queer protagonist, but some included how the game portrays trans lives.

Trans teen Lev is frequently deadnamed and pummelled with emotional and physical violence akin to “torture porn”, said one furious fan.

More: naughty dog, The Last of Us, The Last of Us Part II, video games

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