Naughty Dog says revealing past games too early hurt the studio

Naughty Dog has suggested it will reveal its next game closer to its release than has been the case with its recent titles.

The Sony-owned studio has previously faced allegations of a crunch culture, and in an interview with ComicBook co-president Neil Druckmann said announcing previous games too early had contributed to “work-life balance issues” at the company.

Uncharted 4 was announced in November 2013 and released in May 2016, while The Last of Us Part 2 was announced in December 2016 and released in June 2020 following two delays, including one designed to let Naughty Dog polish the title while “reducing stress on the team”.

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“You’re right, we did announce Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us Part 2 way in advance, but that actually caused a little bit of the work-life balance issues that we’ve sometimes had at the studio,” Druckmann said.

“By delaying that announcement a bit, we could play with the schedule more and we’re more conscious now about how we’re approaching production.

“So there’s our [The Last of Us] multiplayer project and there’s another project that I will not say anything about that’s beyond that that we’re also very much excited for.”

While Naughty Dog has historically struggled to implement a multi-project development strategy, Druckmann said last June that Last of Us 2’s commercial success had enabled the studio to “take on multiple projects, more than we’ve ever had at the same time”.

As well as announcing that Naughty Dog was working on a standalone Last of Us multiplayer project, Druckmann confirmed that he was directing a new game.

Last week the studio shared the second piece of concept art for the Last of Us multiplayer game, which will feature its own story and a new cast of characters, and said that more information on the game will be revealed later this year.

In an interview published this month, Druckmann also seemingly hinted at plans for a third entry in the Last of Us series.

While not confirming if The Last of Us Part 3 is coming or not, series director and co-writer Druckmann told The Hollywood Reporter: “I think there’s more story to tell.”

He said in April 2021 that a story outline had been written for a potential third game in the series, but that it wasn’t currently in development.