Neil Druckmann, co-president of Naughty Dog, has made his next game selection, but has yet to reveal whether it will be a completely new intellectual property or The Last of Us Part 3. After HBO’s The Last of Us series received a generally positive response in its first season, one might assume that Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), the publisher, would attempt to capitalize on its popularity with a multimedia franchise. However, during an interview with Kinda Funny, Druckmann stated that the studio’s success over the years has provided them the luxury of creating whatever they are passionate about, without feeling the need to churn out sequels. The director of The Last of Us Part II previously stated that he was satisfied with the “very strong ending,” bidding farewell to that storyline.
“I know the fans really want The Last of Us Part 3, I hear about it all the time,” said Druckmann in the interview. “All I can say is that we are already working on our next project. So, the decision has already been made. I can’t disclose what it is, but that was our process. We considered various options and chose the one we were most enthusiastic about.” Druckmann also explained the creative process at Naughty Dog, where the team explores multiple projects, including new IPs and sequels, to determine where their passions lie. AAA game development can take up to four years, and if the wrong projects are chosen, burnout can lead to mediocrity.
Druckmann reconfirmed that the upcoming multiplayer game for The Last of Us will be Naughty Dog’s next title, with further details set to be revealed later this year. The game, which was first announced at Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest last year, will allow players to explore the post-apocalyptic world of the series with a friend and experience its “brutality,” alongside a new story and cast of characters in a city that has not been explored in The Last of Us. Based on the concept art, it is believed that the city is San Francisco. This will be the first project in the franchise where Druckmann is not involved as the lead writer or director. “What the team has created is amazing. It’s very different from what I would do, but that’s part of the excitement—seeing other people play in this world,” he said.
It is unlikely that Naughty Dog’s new project will be another Uncharted game, as Druckmann has previously confirmed that his team has moved on from that series. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was the best-selling title in the franchise, selling over 15 million copies on the PS4. It was followed by a spin-off sequel called Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, led by Chloe Frazer. Earlier this year, Druckmann expressed interest in the minimalist storytelling style of Elden Ring, which he plans to explore in his future endeavors. “Right now, I find joy in games that trust their audience to figure things out. Games that don’t hold your hand—that’s what intrigues me going forward,” he said in an interview.
In other news related to The Last of Us, on March 28, PlayStation will finally release The Last of Us Part I for PC, with various adjustable graphics options, support for ultra-wide displays, and compatibility with AMD and Nvidia’s upscaling methods to improve framerates without sacrificing visual quality. Naughty Dog recently unveiled the system requirements and features, but did not mention ray-tracing support.
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