Originally released back in 2013, The Last of Us has since sold over 6 million units and is widely considered to be one of the best PlayStation 3 games of all time. After an equally successful re-release on the PlayStation 4, and some excellent DLC in the form of the Left Behind story, The Last of Us has now become one of PlayStation’s most popular games.
It may come as a surprise to learn that before it was released, the developers behind the game were seriously concerned the game might flop, and tarnish Naughty Dog’s reputation.
In Wil Wheaton’s latest episode of Conversations with Creators, Naughty Dog’s Co-President Evan Wells, Creative Director Neil Druckmann, Game Director Bruce Straley, Co-Lead Game Designer Anthony Newman discussed the creation of The Last of Us, and discussed how no one predicted how successful the game would be.
The Creative Director Neil Druckmann said: “The joke we would say throughout production was that, ‘this game is the downfall of Naughty Dog.”
Co-Director Bruce Straley added that he “thought it was going to tank.” Co-Lead Game Designer Anthony Newman explained that the problems lay in the game’s mechanical side.
“It wasn’t coming together,” Newman explained. “So it was really 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.”
The developers didn’t seem to realise how special the game was until people outside of Naughty Dog began to play the game and comment on how good it was.
Druckmann said he believes that it’s The Last of Us’ story which is what really makes the game special. Joel and Ellie’s journey really captured gamers and Druckmann commented on this, saying: “The most intense love you can have is between a parent and a child.”