Game news Neil Druckmann fan of Elden Ring, towards a new era of Naughty Dog games (Uncharted, The Last of Us)?
Published on 01/15/2023 at 11:55
Long interviewed by the Washington Post, Neil Druckmann, co-president of Naughty Dog and creator of The Last of Us, discussed the future of his studio! Between narration that could be eyeing the side of Elden Ring | thoughts on interactivity, what do the next few years have in store for us?
Twenty years of seniority at PlayStation, always on top! Along with studios like Santa Monica, Guerrilla and Insomniac, Naughty Dog is one of Sony’s creative mainstays – and one of the most popular developers in the world… Just look at its catalog (Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter , Uncharted, The Last of Us) which promises to expand soon. Currently, the team is working on a mysterious multiplayer project The Last of Us, while the HBO series adaptation sets out to conquer the world and the remake of the first episode will be released on PC on March 3. “2023 marks an important milestone for the series (post-apo, editor’s note)” notes Neil Druckmann, co-president of Naughty Dog and creator of the adventures of Ellie and Joel, in a press release. But, beyond a world reduced to dust by mushrooms, what does the American company hold for us in the future?
A second mystery project
“I can tell you that the teams are very excited about the various projects we have at Naughty Dog,” says Neil Druckmann, in the columns of the Washington Post. Yes, we are talking about several games under development! Beyond the multiplayer The Last of Us, there is thus a second title, of which we know nothing today … It is not tomorrow the day before that we will hear about it, as the creative suggests on Comicbook. “By delaying an announcement, we can play with the schedule more, be more rational about how we approach production.” The premature “reveal” of Uncharted 4 or The Last of Us Part 2 would have played more than one trick on society.
The big question is therefore: what is this famous project? Several avenues have already been explored. For example, we are talking about an Uncharted 5 or even a remake of the first episode of the series (which would not necessarily be developed by Naughty Dog). A certain The Last of Us Part 3 could also be in the works. In June 2020, Neil Druckmann already mentioned this possibility. A year later, he explained that he had written the “outline” of a story that tells what happens after The Last of Us Part 2, with his co-screenwriter Halley Gross! A third installment seems quite plausible here, but for the moment, there is absolutely nothing concrete. What if Naughty Dog went in a completely different direction?
(Uncharted 4 / 2016, PS4)
The importance of renewal
As you know, Naughty Dog is a studio that has changed a lot in recent years… Going from Crash to Jak & Daxter, taking the leap to Uncharted and then betting on a more mature game with The Last of Us. I’ve discovered over the years that people do their best when they’re passionate about what they do,” notes Neil Druckmann, to the Washington Post. “If it wasn’t, I’d be working on Crash Bandicoot 17 right now – but instead, Naughty Dog (…) cleverly realized they were tired of working on ‘Crash’. And even though Crash was a huge hit for them, they moved on and did Jak & Daxter.” Et cetera, until The Last of Us came along.
“(At Naughty Dog) we were known for a more childish, whimsical kind of game, and we went towards a kind of cinematic adventure (…) But, the studio just felt like that was the direction to take. This is how we had to evolve and we did a job that we were very passionate about” – N. Druckmann (Washing Post)
For Neil Druckmann, the equation therefore seems as simple as it is obvious: renew the projects within the studio to maintain a form of passion. Note that this does not necessarily involve the creation of new licenses! As the co-president points out, still for the Washington Post, The Last of Us Part 2 could have striven to find the complicity between Ellie | Joel, that’s it. “I think we would have deviated from our way of operating”. Instead, the second episode is an uncompromising dive into the horror of revenge, very different from the founding part.
(The Last of Us Part 2 / 2020, PS4)
Plus d’Elden Ring et d’Inside ?
Finally, whether it’s a new series or another way of approaching a universe that we already know, Naughty Dog always seems ready to go further – even if the existence of the remake The Last of Us Part 1 goes a bit against that philosophy. “Recently I’ve been intrigued by things like Elden Ring | Inside, who do not systematically rely on the traditional narrative to tell their story” explains Neil Druckmann. “In The Last of Us, most of the best storytelling moments are admittedly in the cutscenes – but there’s also a lot that goes through gameplay, moving through a space | understand things just by looking at them”.
He continues: “It is at this moment the greatest satisfaction that I derive from these titles, which believe in their audience to understand what is going on without holding hands. It intrigues me a lot”. Neil Druckmann is thus convinced that it is possible to “move forward” this aspect within Naughty Dog games. He also cites the role of interactivity and how this element could remain central to the experience, even for a story-driven adventure. In short: a lot of things that seem to shape the promising future of Naughty Dog. Will they ever cease to amaze us?
About The Last of Us Part 2