Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann has chosen his next game but hasn’t revealed if it is an entirely new IP or The Last of Us Part 3. With the first season of HBO’s The Last of Us series wrapped with generally positive reception, one would assume publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) would try capitalising on that craze with a multimedia franchise of sorts. But in an interview with Kinda Funny, Druckmann claimed that the studio’s success over the years has, in fact, afforded it the luxury of being able to create what they’re passionate about, and not worry about churning out a sequel. The director of The Last of Us Part II previously claimed that he is satisfied with bidding goodbye to that arc with a “very strong ending.”
“I know the fans really want The Last of Us Part 3, I hear about it all the time,” Druckmann said in the interview. “All I can say is that — look, we’re already into our next project. So, the decision has already been made. I can’t say what it is, but that’s the process we went through. There was a lot of consideration of different things, and we picked the thing we were the most excited for.” Druckmann also explained Naughty Dog’s creative process, where at the end of every project, the team explores multiple projects — both new IPs and sequels — to figure out where their passions align. AAA game development could easily take up to four years, and “if you pick the wrong projects and then you burn out from that idea,” it ends up being mediocre.
Druckmann reiterated that the upcoming The Last of Us multiplayer game will be Naughty Dog’s next title — new details for which will be revealed later this year. Revealed at Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest, last year, the game will throw players into the series’ post-apocalyptic world with a friend and experience its “brutality,” combined with a new story and cast of characters living in another city that hasn’t been explored in The Last of Us. The city is believed to be San Francisco based on the concept art, and would be the first project in the franchise where Druckmann isn’t involved as lead writer or director. “What the team has put together is so cool. It’s very different from what I would do but that’s part of the exciting thing about it, with other people playing in this world,” he said.
It is unlikely that Naughty Dog’s new project would be an Uncharted game, given director Druckmann previously confirmed that his team has moved on from it. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End sold over 15 million copies on the PS4, becoming the highest-selling title in the franchise. It was then followed by a spin-off sequel called Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, led by Chloe Frazer. Earlier this year, Druckmann also mentioned that he was intrigued by Elden Ring’s minimalist storytelling style, which he plans on experimenting with going forward. “To me, right now, that’s some of the best joy I get out of games that trust their audience to figure things out. [Games] that don’t hold your hand, that’s the stuff I’m really intrigued by going forward,” he said in an interview.
There’s more on The Last of Us front. On March 28, PlayStation is finally bringing The Last of Us Part I to PC, with a range of adjustable graphics options, support for ultra-wide displays, and compatibility with AMD and Nvidia’s upscaling methods for better framerates without sacrificing too much in the visuals department. Naughty Dog unveiled its demanding system requirements and features last week, but didn’t mention ray-tracing support.