After a planned reveal for The Last of Us was delayed, Naughty Dog forgot to remove an Easter Egg in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception that nearly ruined its big reveal.
The Last of Us was teased with a viral marketing campaign before being revealed as a Naughty Dog title, under conditions of utmost secrecy. Unfortunately, when the reveal was pushed back from E3 in June 2011 to the Spike Awards in December 2011, the developer had already implemented an Easter Egg in Uncharted 3, which released in November 2011 – several months after the originally scheduled reveal.
Speaking to Kotaku, The Last of Us creative director Neil Druckmann admitted that the team forgot to take the little nod out of Uncharted 3.
“We ended up pushing when we announced it and forgot about the newspaper. We just completely forgot about it,” he said.
The team didn’t remember until it was too late – somebody else had already made the connection.
“We were in a meeting and we get a text from one of the designers saying, ‘Cat’s out of the bag.’ We were like, what f…? We’ve held it this long,” he said.
“We walk back to the design pod, and the designer who put it in comes up to me and he’s like, ‘I just want you to know, you approved it! You approved it.’ And I’m like, ‘Approved what?’ And then we went on NeoGAF or something and someone’s like, ‘There’s the newspaper there.’ I’m like, ‘Oh no, we’ve been found out.'”
Luckily, the general consensus among commenters was that naughty Dog could not be behind the new game, as it was known to only have on development team, which had been hard at work on Uncharted 3; it was assumed the Easter Egg was a nod to another Sony studio.
Turns out Naughty Dog does have two teams, and the rest is history. The Last of Us arrives next month and is the studio’s first new IP since Uncharted.