Naughty Dog has just revealed that it needed to specifically request that women be added to its focus test for The Last of Us. Its stories like this that make us want to apologize to the ladies.
Creative director Neil Druckman said in an interview with The Escapist, that the original research group wasn’t planning on focus-testing female gamers at all. Apparently, they didn’t feel that female gamers made up a significant part of the market. Of course, Naughty Dog specifically requested this be changed, but one has to ask, how many other games are being focus tested with all male focus groups? Maybe that’s part of the reason gaming is so male dominated. Maybe it’s all self-fulfilling prophecy.
According to Druckman, focus group testing plays a big part in deciding how a game is promoted. The merits and flaws of focus group testing are debatable, but it’s hard to deny that an all-male focus test will skew games and promotional materials to a more masculine theme.
Are game companies being close-minded when it comes to their focus groups? Let us know in the comments.