When Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us took the gaming world by storm last year, some gamers were surprised to find that a major supporting character was gay. Bill, the gruff old man that players encounter during the main campaign, was a refreshingly understated queer character. We weren’t beat over the head with his sexuality, nor did conflict arise solely because of it. Rather Bill simply was gay, a fact that was never explicitly conveyed but rather discovered by players through subtle hints over the course of their travels with him.
We reached out to Naughty Dog about the character, and had a chance to speak with creative director Neil Druckmann. He talked about the creation of Bill, how his sexuality came about during production, and even touched on how the sexualities of most characters in the game went unexplored and were therefore open to interpretation.
This past week players got a chance to revisit the post-apocalyptic dystopia of The Last of Us thanks to the single player DLC The Last of Us: Left Behind. This DLC put us in full control of Ellie, who spent most of the first game as a computer controlled partner, as she recalls time spent with her best friend Riley.
Without spoiling *too* much, the events of Left Behind have led many gamers wondering if daring young Ellie just happens to be gay as well. There’s been a lot of debate surrounding the topic, so I decided to get to the bottom of it by reaching out to Druckmann once again.
Here’s what he had to say: