The Last of Us Part 2 fans wage war over Abby concept art vs. final design

The Last of Us Part 2 fans wage war over Abby concept art vs. final design
Callum Smith Updated on by

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The Last of Us Part 2 is easily the most divisive PlayStation exclusive. There’s very little middle ground as online public opinions lean on both sides of the extreme spectrum from loving it to absolutely hating its existence. Thanks to the announcement of a Remastered release for PS5, the controversial sequel has become a hot topic again. Abby has always been the crux in determining whether someone loves or despises the game, and The Last of Us Part 2 fans are again at war over Abby concept art vs. the final design.

Naughty Dog is releasing The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered in January 2024. A remaster sounds heinous on paper as the game only came out in 2020, but it’s actually not a bad deal. It includes a fair amount of new content and, most importantly, it’s a $10 upgrade for people who already own a digital copy of the game. It’s not a full brand new release, unlike the remake of TLOU1 which many argue is near impossible to defend as the 2014 Remaster still looks gorgeous and plays spectacularly well to this day.

Regardless of any feelings about the upcoming remaster’s worthiness, it’s a moment to return to the sequel. We have all had years to take a breath and calm down over the marketing and ill fate of Joel, so perhaps it’s the perfect opportunity to give Abby another chance. Then again, many players just simply cannot stand the sight of her and will never return to TLOU2.

The Last of Us Part 2 Abby concept art

Concept art for Abby in The Last of Us Part 2 has resurfaced online. Reacting to criticism of Abby’s character model during gameplay, the concept art was shared on Twitter by TacticalOchoa. Essentially, the argument is that the concept art looks better than the buff killer Naughty Dog ended up choosing for the final design. This has been shared on Reddit where many naysayers agree with the sentiment that the concept art is superior.

Some comments say that the ‘concept art looks 10x better‘ and that Abby ‘would’ve been much less of a joke‘ if Naughty Dog went with the early plan. Some really good comments also say that ‘it feels like a dark Ellie, the perfect mirror‘ and that it’s more realistic while still sticking to Naughty Dog’s goal of not being ‘conventionally attractive’. On the other hand, there are arguments in favor of the bodybuilder physique albeit in the minority. One user backed the muscular physique claiming ‘gamers see a single girl with muscles and lose their mind‘.

Whether the concept art or final design is better boils down to personal perspective. Speaking bluntly, the argument that it’s not realistic feels inappropriate. True, it’s not realistic to have a bodybuilder physique in a post-apocalyptic hellscape, and just eating burritos while lifting weights wouldn’t work in a normal setting either. However, you can argue it makes Abby stand out and gives a lot of character. The early concept art, while good, makes Abby look like any other woman from Ellie to Tess to Marlene. And yes, muscular women even bigger than Abby do exist. They wouldn’t be able to exist in a post-apocalyptic setting thanks to the lack of food and special resources, but the same applies to men.

Why Abby’s character design is not the problem

The main issue with complaints about Abby’s character design is that naysayers probably wouldn’t mind the muscles if Abby wasn’t completely unlikable. If we had gotten the early concept art instead of Abby Schwarzenegger, she’d still be hated because of the game’s story. The character design from triceps bigger than horseshoes to quads mightier than Hercules’ is not the problem.

The problem with Abby is that, with barely any introduction to her, she brutally kills a fan-favorite character who previously transformed from a brute without a purpose to a flawed and relatable father figure. Then the rest of The Last Of Us Part 2’s story makes Ellie look as heinous as possible to try to make Abby resemble an innocent Disney princess in comparison. Killing dogs and pregnant women as Ellie to then playing ball with the same German Shepard pooch as Abby is just horribly forced, emotionally manipulative storytelling that tries to pound the agenda that Joel and Ellie are bad while Abby is good. This maybe could’ve been avoided if the story’s format was changed to telling Abby’s side first and then playing as Ellie hellbent on revenge, but in the final format the story just makes Abby public enemy number one from the very first two hours.

So, while players may argue over the Abby character design from concept art to the final product, it really doesn’t matter. If Abby was likable, there would most likely be no issues with how she looks. The problem with Abby is that she’s forced onto players out of nowhere and replaces Joel with basically her own Ellie in Lev. It’s not what fans wanted, and, whether skinny or muscular, no one was ever going to like the monster that killed one of the best leading characters of all time. Oh, and lest we forget, Abby isn’t helped through being surrounded by the most unlikable and punchable dirtbag friends from cheating boytoy to Neil Druckmann lookalike.