Warning: Spoilers for The Last Of Us! Do not proceed any further unless you have have completed the section where you hunt for a car battery with Bill.
Still with me? Then let me explain the rather bittersweet problem with The Last Of Us. By now you should have met Bill, a rather gruff man who helps Joel and Ellie search for car parts. For me it was one the highlights of the game as, although it’s never actually said, Bill is gay.
After years of mincing John Inman caricatures and overtly camp, rainbows ‘n’ sprinkles gayness, video games have finally caught up with the rest of the world and made a gay character who is no different to anyone else, in fact he is so ‘normal’ quite a few people have missed the small hints within game.
One such hint is the magazine that Ellie finds in Bill’s house, which you can see here on the right. It’s ‘Bearskin’ magazine featuring a rather rugged beardy bloke on the front and a “Men of the Den” feature inside. Yep, our Bill is not just a gay man, he’s a ‘bear’.
If you don’t know what that means, just think of very friendly lumberjacks who give good hugs.
Anyway, the point is there is a gay character in a game who doesn’t shove his sexuality in your face, well done Naughty Dog.
However there is a small problem, much like those phone numbers that Naughty Dog forgot to check, the Bearskin magazine has a URL at the bottom for www.bearskinworld.com.
Now the the thing about bears (of the gay variety) is they are very protective of the bears (of the animal variety), images of bears (animal kind) are used throughout the subculture, for example the jacket resting on the back of my chair as I type this has a massive bear paw on the back. Many gay bear groups raise funds to help protect the wild animals.
It’s rather unfortunate that no-one at Naughty Dog thought to check what was at the end of www.bearskinworld.com because if they did they would have found that the site sells bear skin rugs – and not fake ones.
Now I know this is not illegal in America but it is rather distasteful, the site explains “Now you can capture the splendor of The Ultimate Trophy with these magnificent rare polar bear rugs.”
The web site is perfectly legitimate but does sell rugs made from Grizzly and Polar bears which are endangered and vulnerable species respectively.
Linking the hunting and slaughter of wild animals to a gay subculture who try to respect and preserve the furry critters is rather large faux pas by Naughty Dog. I am sure it is simply an oversight on their part but perhaps the URL can be removed in the next patch.