When The Last of Us came out back in 2013, everyone loved it. Naughty Dog’s own opinion of the game wasn’t as high during its development though.
Naughty Dog was the guest of the latest episode of Conversations With Creators, and talked about the internal struggle they’ve had with The Last of Us during its development, and how everyone was pleasantly surprised by the game’s reception.
“We thought it was going to tank,” said gameplay director Bruce Straley about the studio’s feeling during development.
“We thought we were going to ruin the name and image [of Naughty Dog] that’s been so heartily built for years with blood, sweat, and tears. We thought we were ruining Naughty Dog’s image”
The game’s writer, Neil Druckmann, agreed. “The joke we would say throughout production was that ‘This game is the downfall of Naughty Dog,'” he added.
Part of that perception is owed to the studio’s struggle with game mechanics. Parts of it weren’t “gelling”, according lead designer Anthony Newman. “It wasn’t coming together. So it was really a a set of really lucky breaks in terms of gameplay decisions we made that really made everything fall into place and turned it into a fun game.”
You can watch the full video interview below.