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

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

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.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.



Bruce Straley

  • The Last of Us creative leads are now in charge of Uncharted 4

    Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, the pair who lead development on the multi-award winning The Last of Us, have taken over creative leading duties on the upcoming PlayStation 4 Uncharted.

  • The Last of Us DLC news coming this week

    New information on DLC for The Last of Us will be revealed this week, Naughty Dog game director Bruce Straley confirmed on Twitter. We had expected to hear something about the game’s first single-player DLC in August, but nothing materialised – although we have had multiplayer updates. Thanks, OPM.

Naughty Dog

Neil Druckmann