Neil Druckmann Explains Why Naughty Dog Hasn’t Revealed Next PS5 Game Yet [Exclusive] by Logan Moore for Comicbook.com
My good friend and co-host Logan Moore interviewed Neil Druckmann and Merle Dandridge for the HBO show The Last of Us. Logan took a shot to ask about why so mum on new projects over at Naughty Dog. I was interested in what Neil said, in particular, what he said about the multiplayer game.
Neil: You know, we did mention that there is a Last of Us multiplayer project that we’ve been working on, for a long time, since even before The Last of Us Part II shipped. And that’s our most ambitious project we’ve ever done which is like, you know, expanding the world even further, continuing to tell a story, but in a multiplayer space. I won’t say too much about that.
The timeline makes sense, considering the multiplayer was originally supposed to launch as a part of The Last of Us Part II. It splintered off after the scope grew beyond an additional mode. This line on storytelling in a multiplayer setting has been the teams’ goal for over five years now.
"We wanted to address multiplayer in The Last of Us Part II. As we’ve stated, the single-player campaign is far and away the most ambitious project Naughty Dog has ever undertaken. Likewise, as development began on the evolution of our Factions mode from The Last of Us Part I, the vision of the team grew beyond an additional mode that could be included with our enormous single-player campaign. Wanting to support both visions, we made the difficult choice that The Last of Us Part II would not include an online mode.
However, you will eventually experience the fruits of our team’s online ambition, but not as part of The Last of Us Part II. When and where it will be realized is still to be determined. But rest assured, we are as big a fan of Factions as the rest of our community and are excited to share more when it’s ready.”
Bruce Straley would even chime in via Twitter on the next day. Straley said he knows the ambition of both the single-player and multiplayer for The Last of Us Part II and the separation and delay for Factions would be worth the wait.
Naughty Dog themselves provided an inkling of what that ambition was in a multiplayer design pitch video they published in October 2017, well into the development of The Last of Us Part II.
“What we don’t want is multiplayer to feel like a mode. We want it to be almost its own game—its own experience. It might start with an idea world or an idea of a mechanic or, even more recently, a certain feeling that we’re after. And then we will explore, okay, ‘what kind of world can evoke that feeling? What kind of mechanics can evoke that feeling? What kind of psychological situations can we put multiple people in that speak back to the theme that we’re after,’” Druckmann said.
When I hear them pursuing a certain feeling, it takes me back to the original Factions multiplayer when the game launched. The multiplayer excelled at creating tension. When thinking about Naughty Dog’s driving force of connecting the player to a story and experience through the controller, it’s easy and exciting to entertain all the possibilities.
Sorry for the long quote from Chasing the Stick, but this is the vibe Naughty Dog is aiming for with this new multiplayer game. I’d wager this game has cutscenes, set pieces, the whole shebang that Naughty Dog is known for. They are going big with this one. Don’t underestimate it.