Tess was originally meant to be a villain
Steve Watts posted a new article, The Last of Us used to have a very different 'villain'.
The Last of Us creative director Neil Druckmann explains various changes to early drafts of the story, including a different role for Tess and a longer period of innocence for Ellie. Spoilers.
I'm really glad they did went with the final route as opposed to making helpless Ellie a la Ashley from Resident Evil 4. It probably wouldn't have gone over well if Ellie was just constantly being picked up and run off with around every corner while screaming "JOOEEELLL HEEEELLLP!"
Ellie being a badass on her own really helped the story flow well.
I think both versions are great. Its not so much what the game is as opposed to how it was executed. The game has some great dramatic beats and superb voice actors. Even the non-gamers in my family would sit and watch me play.
Both these stories Tess as villain/ Tess as the emotional catalyst for Joel are fantastic ideas, simply because they are in the hands of great craftsmen.
In a sense Buried at Sea, Bioshock Infinite's new DLC is much like what we are discussing here. An alternate take on familiar characters.
If you look at those threads most gamers are very happy with this because they want to see more of these characters and they know in their hearts that these characters are in good hands. The story could have been about cooking a meal and it still would be told with panache.