Makers of Video Game ‘The Last of Us: II’ Receive Death Threats for Depicting Female Character As Muscular


Jul 10, 2020


Image Credit: Sony Computers Entertainment

Video game developer Naughty Dog recently had to release a statement condemning the harassment and death threats they’ve received over the new sequel of universally acclaimed video game The Last of Us. One of the many reasons for the gaming audience’s volatile response to The Last of Us: II, is that a primary female character, Abby, has musculature.

While the gaming community assert that they do not like the sequel’s plot-line, a significant section of the discussion revolves around Abby’s stocky, muscled build. Though Abby’s body was modeled on real life cross-fit athlete Colleen Fotsch, gamers believe Abby’s body is unrealistic. Some have even gone as far as to insinuate that Abby is a trans woman merely by virtue of her muscles, an argument that is both misogynist and transphobic.

Another point of contention around Abby’s musculature is that the game is set in a post-apocalyptic time, and that a person would need food and training time to develop this sort of body. This argument, though couched in ‘logic,’ is also fundamentally in bad faith. Factually, The Last of Us series is set in a universe with enough resources. Beyond that, male characters in post-apocalyptic video games are universally jacked — no one really cared to ask why, till now, because a woman is jacked.

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This dissonance is not out of space in the gaming universe, where female characters are mostly hypersexualized and irrelevant to appeal to a mostly male audience. Clearly, an attempt to introduce a balanced, powerful female character has not gone down well with the gaming community, and has resulted in a slew of violent, hateful messages in the developers inboxes and social media.

The Last of Us series tells us a story about a pandemic creating zombie-esque creatures called the Infected. Protagonists battle these creatures and battle other various human military forces within the plotline. To do so, they must be muscular — even the women. If zombie pandemics can be realistic, so can fit women.


Written By Aditi Murti

Aditi Murti is a culture writer at The Swaddle. Previously, she worked as a freelance journalist focused on gender and cities. Find her on social media @aditimurti.


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