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Naughty Dog had to 'specifically request' female testers for The Last of Us

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The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog had to push for female gamers to be included in focus group testing, creative director Neil Druckmann told The Escapist during a recent interview.

According to Druckmann, focus-testing is part of what influences how a game is promoted. Various players view game materials and are asked quantitative and qualitative questions about the subject. Druckmann said that the firm in charge of the focus group research had no intentions of including females in its research.

"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."

Polygon reported previously on Naughty Dog's "flat-out" refusal to shuffle central character Ellie to the back of the game's cover. According to Druckmann, it was part of a "misconception that if you put a girl or a woman on the cover, the game will sell less."

The Last of Us was pushed back from its PlayStation 3-exclusive May 7 release date to June 14 in February. A demo will be available May 31.