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Tess was intended to be the main antagonist of the 2013 video game The Last of Us. She would have been a hardened survivor living and working as a smuggler alongside Joel in a post-apocalyptic America until her brothers dies in one of their operations, leading Tess to blame Joel for his death and seek Joel to kill him. This was changed when Naughty Dog dropped in favor of the one seen in the final product, where Tess serves as one of Joel's allies and a neutral character.
She was voiced and mo-capped by Annie Wershing in the finished project.
In the original plot of The Last of Us, much like in the finished game, Tess was an smuggler living in a post-apocalyptic America working alongside Joel. However, one of the key differences here is that Tess had a brother who supposedly worked with her and Joel in their smuggling business.
However, while Joel and Tess smuggle Ellie out of the Quarantine Zone, Tess' brother gets killed in crossfire with the military during the process. Consequently, Tess blames Joel for her brother's death and resolves to pursue Joel and Ellie for the remainder of the game across America with a crew of her own henchmen so she can kill Joel and avenge her brother.
After the events of the Salt Lake City chapter, Tess succeeds in capturing Joel (tying him to a chair as seen in concept art) and tortures him before trying to kill him with a knife. Nevertheless, Ellie ends up saving Joel from Tess' clutches before shooting Tess dead and killing her henchmen, putting an end to Tess' revenge once and for all.
However, Naughty Dog ultimately concluded that this version for the game's story felt too unrealistic due Tess pursuing Joel across the entire country for a year. This resulted in Naughty Dog scrapping the original plot and the story for The Last of Us being rewritten with Tess as a neutral character and an ally of Joel.
- As noted by Naughty Dog in The Art of The Last of Us, while Tess' depiction as the main antagonist of The Last of Us was dropped very early on in development, Tess' personality and style in the finished game still makes her look like a dangerous villain.