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Apr 09 2013
By: AKyemeni Naughty Paw 11468 posts
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Naughty Dog insisted on female testers for TLOU

4 replies 233 views Edited Apr 9, 2013

Naughty Dog refused to let The Last of Us be focus tested on only male players.

 

With the role of women in videogames coming under increasing scrutiny in recent years, it is more important now than ever before for developers to reexamine the perceived audience of their games. But while there are encouraging signs that the tide is beginning to turn - a strong-willed, sensibly rendered version of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot, for example - there are other aspects to game development that are less visible, and thus remain stuck in the past. As we learned from an interview with Naughty Dog's Neil Druckman - which we'll be publishing more of shortly - the idea of focus testing remains firmly rooted in a "girls don't play videogames" mindset.

 

According to Druckman, when the unnamed research firm that was handling the focus groups for The Last of Usbegan their work, the idea of polling female gamers was nowhere on the table. "Another aspect that influences how a game is promoted is focus-testing. Players are rounded up and are asked to view materials and answer some quantitative and qualitative questions about it," he explains. "My big surprise during this process is that the research group wasn't planning on focus-testing female gamers - it's something we had to specifically request. I hope this is a relic of the past that will soon go away."

 

Yes, you read that correctly. The research firm that was gathering opinions of a game about a man, Joel, and a teenage girl, Ellie, wasn't planning on seeing how actual living, breathing female gamers felt.

 

With this type of bias in place, it should come as no surprise that the marketing firm eventually decided that Ellie should be moved to the back of the box art. However, thanks to Naughty Dog, that advice fell on deaf ears and the company refused to put Ellie anywhere other than on the front where she belongs.

 

Kudos to Naughty Dog for standing strong for gamer equality, and refusing to let antiquated systems determine what is best for a game that is clearly designed to be thrilling for everyone, regardless of their sex.

 

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/123139-Devs-Had-to-Demand-Female-Focus-Testers-for-The-Las...

 

Interesting article. Thoughts?

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Hekseville Citizen
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Re: Naughty Dog insisted on female testers for TLOU

Apr 9, 2013
It's a shame that even today, lots of people still hold to the outdated notion that gaming is exclusively a male hobby.
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Treasure Hunter
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Re: Naughty Dog insisted on female testers for TLOU

Apr 9, 2013

Sadly this whole topic covers a very broad problem in the world. There are some countries where women still don't have equal rights.

 

Anyway, in America I'm surprised this even needed to be addressed, really. As a web designer I have both male and female colleagues, as well as both male and female superiors. Our product is a predominently aimed at males but it doesn't mean that the only people working on it are men. What a weird way of thinking.

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Gaming Beast
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Re: Naughty Dog insisted on female testers for TLOU

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Apr 9, 2013

Good for ND. I'm in College for Nursing and most if my classmates are female. They are all great friends and I don't think without them, I don't think I'd be getting some of the marks I would be getting. Haha. It is sad that people still think so backwards and it's nice to see ND take a stand against that.

 

I wish the best of luck to all you testers, find all the bugs you can. Smiley Happy


Joel: That's alright. I believe him.
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Fender Bender
Registered: 04/20/2010
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Re: Naughty Dog insisted on female testers for TLOU

Apr 9, 2013

AKyemeni wrote:

Naughty Dog refused to let The Last of Us be focus tested on only male players.

 

With the role of women in videogames coming under increasing scrutiny in recent years, it is more important now than ever before for developers to reexamine the perceived audience of their games. But while there are encouraging signs that the tide is beginning to turn - a strong-willed, sensibly rendered version of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot, for example - there are other aspects to game development that are less visible, and thus remain stuck in the past. As we learned from an interview with Naughty Dog's Neil Druckman - which we'll be publishing more of shortly - the idea of focus testing remains firmly rooted in a "girls don't play videogames" mindset.

 

According to Druckman, when the unnamed research firm that was handling the focus groups for The Last of Usbegan their work, the idea of polling female gamers was nowhere on the table. "Another aspect that influences how a game is promoted is focus-testing. Players are rounded up and are asked to view materials and answer some quantitative and qualitative questions about it," he explains. "My big surprise during this process is that the research group wasn't planning on focus-testing female gamers - it's something we had to specifically request. I hope this is a relic of the past that will soon go away."

 

Yes, you read that correctly. The research firm that was gathering opinions of a game about a man, Joel, and a teenage girl, Ellie, wasn't planning on seeing how actual living, breathing female gamers felt.

 

With this type of bias in place, it should come as no surprise that the marketing firm eventually decided that Ellie should be moved to the back of the box art. However, thanks to Naughty Dog, that advice fell on deaf ears and the company refused to put Ellie anywhere other than on the front where she belongs.

 

Kudos to Naughty Dog for standing strong for gamer equality, and refusing to let antiquated systems determine what is best for a game that is clearly designed to be thrilling for everyone, regardless of their sex.

 

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/123139-Devs-Had-to-Demand-Female-Focus-Testers-for-The-Las...

 

Interesting article. Thoughts?


that reminds me, I heard recently that some marketing company requested Quantic Dream (who are making the story-driven game Beyond Two Souls) to put Jody Holmes (lead character) on the box art while carrying guns, they said the game would sell more with a character with guns on the box art, luckily Quantic Dream refused to do that, but it makes me so said to see how this industry works :/

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