Neil Druckmann has spoken in an interview with GQ about the importance of diversity in the world of video games. In Naughty Dog they give equal importance to graphics, combat, or soundtrack because it leads to better stories.
“Ashley [Johnson, the actress who plays Ellie] shared with me a story that someone came and told her that The Last of Us had given her courage to come out of the closet with her family. It’s amazing how a story was able to achieve this. These anecdotes are inspiring to say ‘look when we tell stories with minority representation they can have a real impact and effect on people. “
Halley Gross (Westworld) decided to embark on the project when he saw an illustration of Ellie:
“As soon as I saw the drawings of her [Ellie] with those incredible shoulders and those arms, I was like, ‘Are you going to show me this in a video game?’