How did you feel about the representation of gay characters in the game?

  • 57 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by Kierkegaard (562 posts) 9 months, 10 days ago

Poll: How did you feel about the representation of gay characters in the game? (219 votes)

Naughty Dog dealt with human diversity well 60%
Wish they were more explicit than implicit 1%
Felt like a distracting inclusion 3%
Didn't care either way 35%

I really liked how the writers and designers dealt with gay characters in this game. First of all, they included them. Second, there was no stereotyping, only logical, realistic depiction. Third, they were treated with the same potential for tragedy and compassion as the other relationships in the game, neither made grandiose or wacky.

I interpret there to be four major gay characters, with the latter two less directly implied. Bill and his partner (whose name I forgot...) are the first, with Ellie's stealing Bill's magazine making the association obvious. And Marlene and Ellie's mom are, I think, the second. My reading of Marlene's letter to Anna, and Anna's letter to Marlene, has a tone of affection and care that felt more romantic than merely platonic. Where the semen that led to Ellie came from is unclear.

I like that the stories of these characters were as interesting and revealing as the other relationships in the game, while they still retained a certain hidden quality that unfortunately exists in a world doused with homophobia. I wonder if that was necessary, though. Is Bill not saying "my boyfriend" or Marlene not being explicit about Anna a choice they made out of security, or a choice to remain in the closet in front of Joel? In an apocalyptic situation, perhaps the secrets we hold now would become even more important as we look to build societies without endangering ourselves.

Mostly, I want to applaud ND for choosing to include major characters of color and various sexual orientations. That's the real world, dog, and it is the right choice. Still would have liked to play as anyone other than a grizzled old Texan white dude. But I do appreciate the care behind their menagerie of humanity in the game.

#51 Posted by AURON570 (1672 posts) -

I'm pretty sure Ellie said she was joking when she said the pages are stuck together. In any case it never occurred to me until that scene that Bill might even be remotely gay/bisexual. What made his character interesting didn't revolve around that fact, so I find it weird that people seem to want to bring it up so much. What makes his character interesting is that he's human, and I agree more human-like characters in games would be awesome. I'm just not sure we need to point out every time a current minority is represented in a game, whether it is a positive/negative/humanistic representation. In other words.. Bill might have been gay/bisexual, so what?

SKIP TO around 4:30 for the scene where Ellie makes the joke.

#52 Edited by TobbRobb (4549 posts) -

I didn't even stop to consider the sexuality of anyone, even after it being more than implied for Bill. Which is a testament to that it was both tasteful and correct.

Good job, yo.

@auron570: The point is to highlight that the sexuality was handled neatly and well in the context of the game. I didn't add much except some flavor character. But it didn't detract or feel forced in any way. Giving props where props are due. And it's nice to spread the word of the issue being dealt with the right way, considering how much negative attention it gets in general.

#53 Edited by Redbullet685 (6017 posts) -

Before I clicked on this thread I forgot there even was one, it took me reading your post to remember Bill was gay. Which is probably the best way to handle it. If I don't remember it then it wasn't forced or out of place.

Exactly my thoughts

#54 Posted by Sammo21 (3198 posts) -

Bill's sexual preference is pretty pointless to the overall plot of the story but it is important as being one of the smaller stories you come across...if you pay attention. I thought they played it well as it would be very odd to put anything like that in your face in that setting. Bill's character, how he is written, wouldn't make a big deal about it...so he didn't.

#55 Posted by Nodima (1054 posts) -

I picked up on Bill being gay when his voice started to waver a little bit after finding his partner dead, and then realizing the guy was about to leave him with his battery and car. The pain he was expressing was out of character for who we'd been introduced to so far; he was the butch guy, the no-nonsense guy. And here he was, fighting back tears over another man, one who wasn't tough enough to survive on his own. I knew there was more to it than survival buddies.

The magazine joke, though, somehow didn't connect to bill being gay either time I played the game. Honestly Ellie's joke came off like a typical playground "you're gay" joke, not something she actually meant or believed. Just something to rustle Joel a little, some typical white folk homoeroticism humor. But I suppose if Bill being gay hadn't registered very clearly before that point, or perhaps you consume media with a PC eye, that might have stood out as a clue. Just seemed like an ironically prescient joke to me, though.

Which is to say, Naughty Dog did an outstanding job handling Bill's character. One of the many great examples of showing rather than telling from Neil Druckmann and crew.

#56 Edited by Atlas (2428 posts) -

I'm not at a point in my life and game playing where I put the pieces together and interpret a character as being gay unless it's pretty damn obvious. Dunno what that says about me (I'm straight and don't have any gay friends but I very much believe in gay rights), but I don't think I ever even thought about it when I played The Last of Us.

#57 Posted by NoctisLucisCaelum (94 posts) -

It never occurred to me that Bill might be gay. I just assumed Ellie, a developing teenage girl, stole the magazine out of curiosity, and joked about the sticky pages. Whenever he referred to his partner, I thought business partner, or a-let's-survive-the-apocalypse partner.

Really wish someone asked about this when Neil was doing his keynote speech on The Last of Us' narrative.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.