The Last of Us: Naughty Dog discusses ‘less is more’ approach to sound and music

Monday, 24th June 2013 09:06 GMT By Dave Cook

The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog has shed light on the game’s minimalist soundtrack and sound design in a new interview, in which game director Bruce Straley discusses his ‘less is more’ approach to creating nerve-shredding, poignant moments.

In an interview with The Soundworks Collection, Straley discussed the studio’s aims with the game’s audio, including a desire to create Hitchcock flavours of suspense through what you hear, instead of solely relying on visuals.

You have to imagine that elements like raiders shouting and trying to tease Joel out of hiding, as well as the game’s music – from those moments where it sounds like someone hitting metal with a sledgehammer, to those lovely acoustic guitar songs – were all designed to set a tangible mood, something Straley confirmed in the interview.

He explained, “It’s more about the psychology of what’s happening on the audioscape than what you’re seeing. Less is more. It’s not about the dialogue and exposition inside of a scene as sometimes the look in a character’s eye. That’s the same thing with the audio. Less is more. Strip all that away. Then when a sound hits, it’s really impactful.”

Writer Neil Druckmann added, “Even though it’s brutal, it doesn’t need to be big. You can underplay a lot of these ideas.”

Did you feel that the game’s music set a tense, or even emotional tone? Was it successful? Let us know below.

Thanks Polygon.



  1. OmegaSlayer

    Less can’t be more

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    “Less is more” is a philosophy gaming in general could with adapting more often.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. manamana

    The soundtrack was indeed the best implementation of music, sounds and moods of every game I played. Absolutely stellar theme combined with subtle background music and tones, always enhancing the experience. This game really is a masterpiece in all its facets (bugs aside).

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Doz12

    Without a doubt the best game of the year (past 12 months)! The voice acting is awesome and the background noise is awesome. Really makes you feel a part of the story and part of the world. nothing worse than being in the dark and a clicker coming behind you!

    #4 2 years ago
  5. YoungZer0

    This philosophy should apply to the official soundtrack though.

    A lot of tracks missing.

    #5 2 years ago

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