While Uncharted and The Last of Us are known for their cinematic storytelling, Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann is increasingly fascinated by more subtle worldbuilding.talk Washington PostDruckmann says he was inspired by FromSoftware’s minimalistic storytelling on last year’s Elden Ring.
“I’ve recently been interested in works like Elden Ring and Inside that don’t rely as much on traditional narratives to tell their stories,” said Druckmann. “Some of the best storytelling in The Last of Us is in the cinematics, but a lot of it can be understood just by looking at the gameplay, spatial travel, and spatial history. By the way, that’s some of the greatest joy you can get from a game that trusts its viewers to figure things out. [Games] Anything that doesn’t hold your hand is something I’m really intrigued about moving forward with.
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FromSoftware and Naughty Dog’s game design philosophies are in many ways polar opposites, but both studios have found great success. Given Naughty Dog’s flair for well-chosen cinematic experiences, it’s interesting to hear Druckmann say he’s drawn to Elden Ring because it’s a game that frees players up and cares about which story they beat. It looks like you haven’t.
Fans of The Last of Us may remember the sequences with a heavy emphasis on environmental storytelling. For example, in the original game, players can piece together the story of a sailor named Ish by picking up optional notes in his one of the game’s levels. Naughty Dog has dabbled in environmental storytelling before, but it looks like the studio may lean more into concepts for future games.
“That doesn’t mean there will be no dialogue or cutscenes. I think they’re tools in the toolbox. And I think there’s a way to move them forward, at least for the kind of games we make at Naughty Dog. I’m really intrigued. Again, we never rest on our laurels. Try something a little new, a little different. You can see that they are very excited about the various projects at
That said, Druckmann added that he wants to tell character-driven stories. Full of announcement games. We’ll have to wait and see how the inspiration Druckmann felt from his Elden Ring translates into his future Naughty Dog games.
Druckmann is currently promoting The Last of Us HBO series, which premieres this Sunday. I just learned that the show is getting a companion his podcast hosted by Troy Baker.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over 6 years of experience in the games industry and has bylines for IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.