E3 2018 was rife with mindblowing moments and awesome announcements — but it was also a place for spotlighting characters who historically haven’t been front and center in the gaming universe, especially not at the main E3 conferences.
This year, along with dazzling footage from Hideo Kojima’s upcoming Death Stranding and the cinematic Ghost of Tsushima before a show-closer from Marvel’s Spider-Man, a kiss took center stage. It was, quite possibly, E3’s first same-sex kiss, and it happened between Ellie and Dina of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II. Between all the spectacles of the show, it stood out in one of the best ways possible, showcasing the blossoming relationship between two strong young women (though we don't know much about Dina yet) and giving LGBTQ gamers their own moment in the spotlight.
Strangely enough, this heartwarming kiss was one of the biggest moments of the entire show, and one of the coolest moments for queer gamers ever, at least in terms of the big three (Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony).
As the PlayStation E3 2018 showcase opened up, we were treated to the banjo stylings of Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla and previously unseen game footage. A lively jig (coincidentally, the tune "Little Sadie" by bluegrass outfit Crooked Still) plays as we see protagonist Ellie standing alone, looking a little unsure as she looks on into the crowd. Her eyes appear to be on a young woman in the crowd, who we later find out is named Dina.Ellie is joined by a male friend named Jesse, who chats with her about patrolling around the area to a seemingly disinterested Ellie. He comments on Dina: "She's putting on quite the show." Ellie spits, "I give you guys two weeks until you get back together," indicating that Dina and Jesse were previously dating. Dina walks over to the two as Jesse looks on with jealousy rolling off of him in waves. She takes Ellie off into the crowd on the dance floor and delicately wraps her arms around Ellie as Ellie places her arm around Dina's waist.
The banter between the two is tender and teasing, and we can tell how much they mean to each other already. It's not clear at this time how long they've been dating, but it's long enough to have made an impression for both of them.
"I have a serious question for you... how bad do I smell?"
"Like... a... hot pile of garbage?" Ellie replies playfully. It's clear she's trying to come to terms with nerves, as she mentions how everyone in the room is staring at Dina, and by extension, her partner. Perhaps she's uncomfortable with their relationship, or maybe she's scared she doesn't have what it takes to make a suitable girlfriend for Dina. Maybe she's afraid someone will steal her away. That isn't the case at all, Dina makes very clear, as she gets even closer to Ellie.
"Oh, Ellie. I think they should be terrified of you," Dina breathes as she leans in for a passionate, loving kiss. Ellie returns it as she leans in, before the trailer cuts to a few harrowing, violent scenes, where Ellie is stabbing an enemy in the neck out in the woods. It's an excellent cut, and the juxtaposition of the tender kiss against the terror and violence to come forces us back into reality after the idyllic scene we just watched.
The end of the trailer brings us back to the pair's embrace, and all seems right with the world.
"See? I told you. They should be terrified." Ellie smiles her first genuine smile of the entire trailer, and for good reason. She's in love, or something like it, and we are too.
We can't wait to see more of Ellie and Dina together, even though we have a bad feeling something might end up happening to Dina that sets off some sort of chain reaction of crazy with Ellie. Hopefully that's not the case, but we're definitely here for more of these adorable, horribly romantic scenes between the two if we can get them.
The Last of Us Part II still doesn't have a release date, but we'll be keeping an eye out for it. It looks like an absolute blast, and with scenes like we saw during E3 2018, it's going to make us cry, we can just feel it.