Tess

Tess is Joel's smuggling partner and friend. After chasing down and killing Robert, a former accomplice who stole their merchandise, Tess and Joel are offered their merchandise back from Robert's buyer Marlene if they agree to help smuggle Ellie to the State Capitol building outside of the Quarantine Zone with Joel. She and Joel successfully make it to the Capitol building, only to discover upon arrival that the people they are meant to rendezvous with are all dead. When Joel protests that they must return, Tess insists that she cannot go any further and reveals she was bitten on the journey. As soldiers arrive at the building, Tess orders Joel, as a last obligation to her, to find Tommy and get Ellie to the Fireflies, before sending them off while she covers them. Tess is then killed in the subsequent gunfight, ensuring she never turns.

When designing the physical appearance of Tess, the team aimed to make her look "tough and capable", striving to add an element of strength in order to show that she might be more ruthless than Joel. Tess was originally intended to be featured as the main antagonist ofThe Last of Us, pursuing Joel for a year before a final confrontation in which she is killed by Ellie. However, the team found it difficult to believe that Tess would dispute with Joel and pursue him for a year; this was solved by majorly altering the story. Wersching was impressed by the script, and Druckmann's ability to write unique female characters. When writing the game's female characters, particularly Tess and Ellie, Druckmann avoided external influences, such as the media's portrayal of women, as he wished to write his own story.

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