Are you in the mood for some post-apocalyptic action with a lesbian character? Well, we’ve got the game for you. The Last of Us takes you on a cross-country adventure after a highly infectious virus that turned people into flesh-eating fugal zombies devastates the US. How fun! What’s even more fun is the ability to play as Ellie, a lesbian deuteragonist.
With The Last of Us Part II coming out for the PlayStation 4 on May 29th, now’s a great time to catch you up. But be warned! The following contains spoilers for the first game.
The Last of Us
The first installment follows Joel and Ellie as they trek across the US after a viral outbreak turns people into mushroom zombies. Players control Joel for most of the game, but there are moments where you can play as 14-year-old baby lesbian, Ellie.
Born after the virus nearly wiped out humanity, Ellie grew up in a harsh world. Raised in a military boarding camp, she’s gained a sense of bravery we can only dream of having. Despite this, she never loses her curiosity or her compassion. And just like most 14-year-olds in our world, she loves pop culture. Unfortunately, all she has are remnants of a time long gone.
The game’s objective is to get Ellie to a medical facility where doctors think they might be able to fashion a cure for the infection. So what does that have to do with Ellie? She’s immune to the virus. The lesbianism is too strong.
Left Behind DLC
For those not familiar with video games, DLC means downloadable content. In narrative-based games, like The Last of US, DLCs act like extra chapters to the story. Players take control of Ellie as we get a glimpse of her life before meeting Joel. We meet Riley, Ellie’s best friend and first kiss. Despite the brutality of having to defend themselves against the infected, the flashback portions are actually quite sweet.
The girls go to an abandoned mall, because where else would two 14-year-old girls go to hang out? Watching them interact with things we might take for granted is a humbling experience. They’ve never seen a Hot Topic in all its glory. What even is Facebook to them? They dance without a care in the world despite the death and destruction around them. It was bittersweet. It was in that moment they shared their first kiss.
That happiness didn’t last long, though. The music attracts a horde of infected and they’re both bitten. The girls decide to wait out the effects of the infection together, but only Riley succumbs. Ellie survives. Yet another instance of the bury your gays trope, isn’t it ladies?
Ellie’s story isn’t over yet. The second game takes place 5 years after the first. 19-year-old Ellie gets a promotion as she becomes the protagonist. In a gameplay reveal trailer released last year, we see Ellie dancing with a woman. They share a kiss and all the lesbians watching stopped breathing.
Why? Well, we remembered what happened to the last girl Ellie kissed. A second trailer released less than 4 months ago featured the same woman, Dina. We have every reason to believe she dies early in the game. Just watch the trailer for yourself.
Trailers can be misleading. It’s impossible to tell based on 3 minutes of footage. But, we’ve been burned before. The game trailers also suggest hatred will fuel Ellie for the majority of the game. Because she had to watch another girl she had feelings for die? We’d be fueled by hate, too. But is it enough to warrant playing this game just be a 19-year-old rage-filled lesbian, killing any man stupid enough to invoke her wrath? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
The Last of Us gives us an opportunity to watch a lesbian bust some heads. And that’s great. We rarely get to see ourselves as the hero. But, this game killed Riley. And it just might kill Dina, too.
It certainly isn’t the first game to bury their gays. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey reeled us in by telling us we could play as a lesbian if we so pleased. They insulted us by killing lesbians on Lesbos. They poured salt into the open wound by having the protagonist recite a Sappho fragment over the bodies of said lesbians. Then they had the audacity to release a DLC where no matter what the player does, the main character is forced into a heterosexual relationship.
It seems almost better to play games like Tomb Raider or Horizon: Zero Dawn where we can live safely in the shadows of subtext at the expense of never having an out lesbian character they might just kill off. The video game world took one huge step forward with Ellie. But, killing off her female love interests feels like a hundred steps back. No one can predict the future, though. Maybe The Last of Us Part II will surprise us.
Our advice for those of you interested in this game would be the same you’d give to anyone living in a post-apocalyptic world: hope for the best, but plan for the worst.