In December, as a thank you to fans, software developer Naughty Dog agreed to answer questions from The Last of Us community Facebook group. The questions were asked in their hundreds and then voted on by the whole community. The ten most popular questions were then pitched to the Naughty Dog team at the start of January, 2014.
Here are the following questions that the community pitched, with Naughty Dog’s answers in their entirety. The top ten questions came from fans all over the world including USA, Europe and even one of Twinstick Gaming’s very own writers in the UK:
After the success of TLoU, has there been any talk of making a sequel as we move into the next console generation? What factors would contribute to whether that happens or not?
“The success of The Last of Us was definitely welcome and we’re very grateful for it. However, as far as future projects go, everything is still TBD. The Last of Us team is hard at work on The Last of Us: Left Behind, which is our first ever single player DLC, right now. As for what happens after the next TLOU DLC drops, we recently teased UNCHARTED for the PS4 and have multiplayer TLOU DLC coming. We’re working on revamping our Naughty Dog engine to be running smoothly on the PS4. Future projects will take shape once that’s ready to go.”
Can you give us any indication of when we will be getting some more details on the upcoming Uncharted game you guys are working on for the PS4? Or are there any little morsels of information you could give us here? Please don’t just say ‘Soon(tm)’!
How, when, and why was it decided to go from the more kid friendly cartoonish styles of Crash, and Jak & Dax… to the more realistic, gritty worlds of ‘Uncharted’, and ultimately the entirely child UNfriendly bleakness of ‘The Last Of Us’? Also, why do you rock so hard?
“Really when the work on Jak and Daxter 3 wrapped up and Jak X was being worked on the idea to move in another creative direction started to plant its seed. There’s always that moment when a team feels like a bit of creative variety and freshness is necessary and it just kicked in when those games wound down.
We rock so hard because we work really, really, really hard. Constant iteration and dogged persistence makes the best games.”
With regards to the “Left behind” DLC, is it a remake of the comic or is the story going to take place after those events? Also, are you planning to make any more story DLC after Left Behind?
Our next DLC after The Last of Us: Left Behind will be multiplayer focused.”
What is Joel and Tommy’s background story like before the outbreak and during the 20 years leading up to the events in The Last Of Us? Why didn’t you put more dialogue about it in the game?
“There’s not more dialogue about it in the game because it’s something we haven’t fully fleshed out yet. You can gather bits and pieces of their personal history, such as what Joel does for a living, by listening to the dialogue closely. Maybe someday we’ll fill in those back stories a little bit more.”
What inspired the character David, would like to know ideology behind the villain of the game.
“In the game world, Colorado is a snowy, harsh environment and the way that faction of humans survives is through cannibalism. So in a way David’s group of Cannibals is inspired by the severe environment they exist in and unforgiving realities of the pandemic.
As a side note, David’s voice is what Nolan North came up with after looking at the concept art for the character of David. Simple yet spooky, it just went well together.”
Would you ever consider making a more open world game?
“It’s a tough thing to say. Our games have always encouraged exploration to find everything they have to offer. So in that sense they are open world. However, we build our games around narrative that tells the tale (or tales) of specific characters in a very direct way and in order to do so there’s some level of control that needs to be exercised.
Personally, I feel that video games as a medium are wide open. There is so much that happens moment-to-moment in a game that it makes it seem like anything could be possible. That’s about as open as you can get with regard to narrative. It’s just a matter of how you think about game narrative and the point at which you read the narrative as what it is.”
What made you decide to write such an emotional and awe inspiring narrative about a post-apocalyptic game? The game was truly remarkable and I really do not have another game I could compare it to.
“Awww, you’re making us blush. There was a great wellspring of inspiration taken from different sources be it film, books, comics, or art but at the core we wanted to tell the story of Joel and Ellie. The Last of Us is a tale of love, loyalty and redemption. Neil, Bruce, and the team made great efforts to ensure there was a player feedback loop set up so that emotions that Joel and Ellie (and other central characters) were going through are emotions the player feels when they play the game.”
Will any new modes be added to ‘Factions’ after the success of the awesome Interrogation mode?
“We’re working to figure out the most fun things for the multiplayer and seeing what’s possible. The amount of time and resources necessary for making a new mode work is quite intense so it’s unlikely we’ll have a new mode but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.”
One of our favorite things about Naughty Dog as a developer is not only the great games you continue to put out, but also the way you interact with us, the community. It’s great to feel like the community can be part of the process and have a direct influence on the games we love to play. So with that said, how important is community feedback to ND in developing and/or improving your games? How often do you guys check non-official channels, such as our facebook page, for such feedback?
Thank you for the questions and being awesome! 2014 is going to be remarkable!”
Firstly, it has to be said that this level of direct feedback from Naughty Dog is awesome. Not all developers take the time to answer such questions from relatively unofficial sources. Secondly, though a lot of these answers are typically vague – there are a few things that jump out.
The sad news that Naughty Dog are unlikely to add any further game modes beyond Supply Raid, Survivors and Interrogation was disappointing, if not wholly surprising. However, the thing that really caught my eye is when asked about future story DLC, the reply was simply that the next DLC will be multiplayer. They COULD have said ‘no, we are not currently planning more story DLC’ – it wouldn’t be any great surprise. The official line has always been three DLC packs. Two multiplayer, one single player. However, that decisive answer was avoided.
Furthermore, when asked about the relationship between protagonist Joel and (NPC) brother Tommy, they responded with:
‘it’s something we haven’t fully fleshed out yet. […] maybe someday we’ll fill in those stories a little bit more.’
What could this mean? Could a further story DLC package be in the works? Is this an idea for a prequel game? Another comic series perhaps?
There are no definitive answers yet, but the wording of these responses is very measured and deliberate. Like Naughty Dog may be playing some very important cards very close to their chest. The ‘Left Behind’ DLC is due a full announcement, including release date, any day now. What lies beyond that remains to be seen…
Richard is a father, teacher, gamer and writer. He believes that The Last of Us and Olli Olli 2 are the finest games ever made, feels that the StarWars Saga should only be watched in ‘the Machete order’ and once cleared Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in one sitting. Took him 20 hours, four cups of tea and a sausage roll. You can follow him on twitter @TLOUFactionsMP or @VigilanteSanta and view his occasional twitch outbursts on twitch.tv/spooklebeans.