One of the early concepts for The Last of Us that was ultimately scrapped but not before it caused a stir at developer Naughty Dog. The female employees of the company were eager to voice their disapproval when they learned that Neil Druckmann’s masterwork would feature only female infected characters at first. Clearly, this feedback was not taken into account while developing the HBO series.
A sexist take on “The Last of Us,” titled “Mankind.”
Naughty Dog employees praised the idea of Ellie because they did not want the character to be sexualized, but they had mixed feelings about the game’s premise as a whole. The game, tentatively titled “Mankind,” would have followed a similar plot to the released version of The Last of Us, except the illness would have only affected women.
Again, Ellie would be the only immune character, and the story would conclude the way we expect it to: with Joel taking Ellie to the lab to develop a cure. Naughty Dog’s staff, however, did not approve of the plan, which is probably how most players would have reacted. Back then, Neil Druckmann said, “The reason it failed was because it was a misogynistic idea.”
Victory after a string of setbacks
The 2013 game that shocked the industry overcame more than just the Mankind problem on its way to the shelves. According to the director, “there’s something about how we perceive failure in Naughty Dog as a positive,” and all of the scrapped concepts ultimately led to something “better” for The Last of Us.
Even after going through ideas that could have caused quite a bit of discussion, like Mankind, Neil Druckmann’s effort paid off, as we mentioned before, the endgame also received some changes, but all the trial and error process led us to the final game (and its remake) and the television series that is only a few days away from arriving to us.