PlayStation exclusive The Last of Us, originally out for PS3 and now remastered on the PS4, is easily one of the most highly praised titles on the new-generation consoles. Its original birth from within Naughty Dog however, was troubled during development. So much so that its own developer, formerly famous for the Crash Bandicoot series, thought it was going to ruin the studio’s name. But were pleasantly surprised when the game met such a positive reception on launch.
These feeling from within Naughty Dog recently came to light during “Conversations With Creators” interview, where some of the game’s creators from within the studio talked about the games difficult birth. Gameplay Director Bruce Straley: “We thought it was going to tank, we thought we were going to ruin the name and image of Naughty Dog that’s been so heartily built for years with blood, sweat and tears. We thought we were ruining Naughty Dog’s image.” And the pessimism didn’t stop there, the games writer Neil Druckmann agreed with Straley’s statements: “The joke we would say throughout production was that this game is the downfall of Naughty Dog.”
Not exactly the reassurance we’d like to hear from the games own studio right? Though there are reasons for negativity from within back during the development of the game. Part of it comes from Naughty Dog’s own struggle with the games mechanics. According to lead designer Anthony Newman, parts of The Last of Us just weren’t “gelling together” as they had hoped: “It wasn’t coming together. So it was really a set of really lucky breaks in terms of gameplay decisions we made that really made everything fall into place and turned it into a fun game.”
Realistically speaking, this type of pessimism and negativity really isn’t the kind of thing the consumer wants to hear, if a studio doesn’t have faith in their own game, then how are gamers expected to trust that the developers to deliver what we are promised? It’s difficult to say whether The Last of Us would have had such success at launch if these feelings had been revealed during the various stages of development. Regardless Naughty Dog’s persistence paid off, and that really is key to this whole story, Naughty Dog stuck their necks on the chopping block despite having doubts and worked hard to make sure The Last of Us was a quality product. We feel that represents integrity from within, something a lot of developers and publishers in the world of video games could learn from.
If you haven’t played The Last of Us yet, you can grab it rather cheaply at CDkeys.com at the moment for PlayStation 4!