In the lead up to release, Naughty Dog was forced to ask one unnamed Uncharted 4 focus tester to leave after making what were deemed to be sexist remarks towards the game’s portrayal of women.
That’s according to Game Director Neil Druckmann, who touched base on the matter while speaking with Rolling Stone’s newfound gaming site, Glixel. There, the developer was asked about how the work of industry critic Anita Sarkeesian has influenced his own creative output and, by effect, Uncharted 4.
Reflecting on the focus test in question, Druckmann recalls witnessing several “sexist focus testers” taking issue with characters including Nadine Ross and, in particular, the game’s finale.
Major Uncharted 4 story spoilers to follow.
You’ve said in the past that you’ve been influenced by Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency videos and the larger conversation about diversity and representation in games. How did that affect Uncharted 4?
Druckmann: When I’m introducing and describing a new character to our lead character concept artist, constantly she will ask, “What if it was a girl?” And I’m like, Oh, I didn’t think about that. Let me think, does that affect or change anything? No? Cool, that’s different. Yeah, let’s do it.
Initially, in the epilogue, it was Nate’s son. Something similar happened with the mansion they go into. That was an old English guy’s house. She asked, Well, what if it was a woman?
You have some sexist focus testers who were really upset by Nadine beating up Nate, and really upset at the end when it was Nate’s daughter. To the point where we had to ask one guy to leave. In his core, it just affected him. He was cursing, “Not you, too, Naughty Dog! Goddammit. I guess I’m done with Uncharted, if you guys ever make another one, with his daughter. This fucking bullshit.”
And I was like, Wow, why does that matter?
In much more positive news, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End stormed to 2.7 million sales during its first week on the market.