If you’ve played or seen screenshots from The Last of Us Part II, then you’ve most definitely noticed Ellie’s striking tattoo. Heck, it’s even featured in the game’s promotional materials and official merchandise, so it’s pretty hard to miss. But was the tattoo added to the game for aesthetics or is there a meaning behind it? The latter.
Director Neil Druckmann told The Washington Post that Ellie got the tattoo to cover up the bite. Since Joel told her that the bite is dangerous, Ellie attempted a chemical burn, which she then concealed to hide her immunity.
Naughty Dog struggled to come up with an appropriate design internally, so it contacted tattoo artist Natalie Hall to get the job done. Hall visited the studio and went through the game’s theme with its developers before settling on the moth and fern design. She then drew the tattoo on one of the developer’s arms before finalizing it.
“There’s this idea of obsession and being drawn to a light and constantly pursuing this thing,” Druckmann explained. “And that’s how we got the idea as well for the loading screen, which is just moths being drawn to a light, which kind of looked like the spores [on the loading screen] in the first game. So, it felt like a sister image.”
Druckmann added that the moth is a “constant reminder” of Joel for Ellie, and represents “this relationship she has with Joel to her old life.”
[Source: The Washington Post]