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Neil Druckmann: Naughty Dog's Next Game 'Could Redefine Mainstream Perceptions of Gaming'

Neil Druckmann: Naughty Dog's Next Game 'Could Redefine Mainstream Perceptions of Gaming' - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 23 May 2024 / 3,718 Views

Naughty Dog Studio Head and Head of Creative Neil Druckmann in a new interview posted on Sony's official website has teased the next game from the studio "could redefine mainstream perceptions of gaming."

"I've been lucky to work on several dream projects and am currently excited about a new one, which is perhaps the most thrilling yet," said Druckmann.

"There's a growing appreciation for gaming that transcends all age groups, unlike when I was growing up. This shift is highlighted by our venture into television with The Last of Us, which I hoped would bridge the gap between gamers and non-gamers.

"The show's success has spotlighted gaming, illustrating the rich, immersive experiences it offers. This visibility excites me not only for our current project but for the broader potential of gaming to captivate a global audience. I'm eager to see how this new game resonates, especially following the success of The Last of Us, as it could redefine mainstream perceptions of gaming."

Sony as part of its corporate strategy meeting this week released a "Creative Entertainment Vision" video that showcases the long-term vision for the company and where it wants to be in 10 years.

The last new release from Naughty Dog was 2020's The Last of Us Part II and up to now have yet to announce their next game. The studio was developing The Last of Us Online, however, that was cancelled in December of last year. The developer did also release The Last of Us Part I remake in 2022 and The Last of Us Part II Remastered in 2024.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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51 Comments
G2ThaUNiT (on 23 May 2024)

I'm not interested in games moving further and further away from being games. Naughty Dog's gameplay is already some of the most boring I've ever experienced. Uncharted at least had the sense of fun and adventure. Presentation wise, Naughty Dog is arguably the best in the industry. But if the gameplay isn't as captivating as the presentation, then I'm really not going to be that interested.

Also, it's kind of funny considering the whole running joke of "Sony makes interactive movies" only to have Neil Druckmann take that and literally run with it lol

  • +30
HoloDust G2ThaUNiT (on 23 May 2024)

Yeah, this "failed novelist/wanna be director" sentiment that it's been permeating through AAA industry for quite some time now is really getting ridiculous.

  • +21
SanAndreasX HoloDust (on 23 May 2024)

Agreed. Let's have games made by people who actually like video games and not by people who act like video games are beneath them.

  • +23
The Fury SanAndreasX (on 23 May 2024)

So, Neil Druckmann? He was a developer first, even if he turned that into a writer then director later. He seems to want to elevate games up, I presume even if an outdated thought due to the past 15 years, and while the idea of failed novelists/wanna be directors might not suit some, the industry writers and directors to create great games else all we will get is well, CoD, Fortnite and FIFA.

  • -3
SanAndreasX The Fury (on 24 May 2024)

Seems to me we're getting plenty of great games without Hollywood talent. Meanwhile, Hollywood is increasingly dependent on toys and games to keep the lights on at studios.

  • +16
The Fury SanAndreasX (on 24 May 2024)

Now that is true. Hollywood has been out of ideas for years, which is why they seemingly depend on existing IPs now more than ever. But Neil Druckmann isn't a failed Writer/Director, he's a game maker, he just happens to be making games where he wants to tell a story. If anything, we should support him for not being part of Hollywood and doing a better job than them most of them.

  • -2
Eric2048 G2ThaUNiT (on 23 May 2024)

I never understood the statement that Sony makes interactive movies. Yeah maybe Quantic dreams titles like heavy rain i would consider being akin to interactive movies. I was never too into those. But Uncharted and The Last of us? Not really.

There are older games that predate the existence of Naughty dog that i consider to be closer to "interactive movies" like Dragon's Lair on the SNES. And many adventure games.

I don't even get why there's such a fuss about this he made literally no comment about the gameplay of their next game.

  • 0
G2ThaUNiT Eric2048 (on 23 May 2024)

It’s primarily due to how heavy of a focus Sony has on third person action adventure games with a major emphasis on cinematic storytelling with a ton of cutscenes. Doesn’t always jive with me, but there certainly are titles that I love like the recent God of War games and Ghost of Tsushima. Great games with the cinematic presentation of a major Hollywood blockbuster but you have to put your controller down so many god damn times because of just how cutscene heavy their games are. So that’s primarily where the joke stems from.

He made enough of a statement on the gameplay of their next game talking about how he wants to bridge the gap between gamers and non-gamers.

  • +1
Leynos G2ThaUNiT (on 24 May 2024)

Nintendo has been bridging that gap of gamers and non gamers since 1985 so he's just smelling his own farts and claiming it smells like roses.

  • +10
Eric2048 G2ThaUNiT (on 24 May 2024)

I do agree Sony needs to diversify their game lineup i think that's where the real problem is. It seems like almost every game is an action-adventure narrative driven game. They had more variety in the PS3 and PS2 era's. We had littlebigplanet, killzone, Resistance, dark cloud, sly cooper, their multiplayer shooters like Warhawk and Starhawk i loved especially.

Whatever Naughty dog makes next it should be different from their recent games.

  • +2
Dante9 G2ThaUNiT (on 24 May 2024)

It's funny what some people consider boring. Boring, compared to what? Some totally different genre of games?

  • -3
G2ThaUNiT Dante9 (on 24 May 2024)

I said specifically that Naughty Dog has very boring gameplay. There's absolutely third person action adventure games with fantastic gameplay. Story, graphics, and all that can be top notch, but gameplay is always king in my book. Something Naughty Dog notoriously lacks on. Which tbf, it intentionally isn't the biggest focus in their games. It's all about the story and presentation, so I'm really not even their target audience. But it seems Neil wants to deviate even further from making fun and engaging gameplay in favor of making gameplay that is more stripped down to bridge whatever gap he's talking about for "non-gamers" or even worse.....having even less gameplay in general over even more cinematic cutscenes.

  • +3
Leynos G2ThaUNiT (on 24 May 2024)

Sounds like he wants to be David Cage and everytime I have to say his name I throw up in my mouth.

  • +3
OneTime (on 23 May 2024)

Hmm.... "mainstream" eh? I wonder how many people could identify "The Last of Us" from a screenshot compared to Pac Man or Space Invaders...

  • +11
The Fury (on 23 May 2024)

I'm not even sure what this really means. What does he think mainstream perception of gaming is?

  • +10
SanAndreasX The Fury (on 23 May 2024)

He probably still thinks it's a hobby for nerds with no social lives, despite the fact that it's been becoming more mainstream thanks far more to Mario, Call of Duty, GTA, and WoW rather than Naughty Dog.

  • +8
Machina (on 23 May 2024)

The black and white banner picture made me think the headline was going to be that Druckmann had suddenly died!

  • +8
Paatar (on 24 May 2024)

This dude is so full of himself. We need to knock down his ego a bit lol

  • +7
Leynos Paatar (on 25 May 2024)

When people stop pretending ND games are well made outside of production value then maybe.

  • +5
JackHandy (on 24 May 2024)

Guy is channeling his inner Peter Molyneux on this one lol

  • +7
Hiku (on 23 May 2024)

TV series success getting non-gamers interested in a game is an interesting idea. But I hope that doesn't mean the games have to become less focused on gameplay.

  • +7
Mystro-Sama (on 25 May 2024)

Why did the industry have to gas up them up so much with TLoU? Now everything has to be some serious edgy movie-like game. We'll never get another Jak game at this rate.

  • +6
Mnementh (on 24 May 2024)

Games that did "redefine mainstream perceptions of gaming" were Mario, Pokemon, Doom, Animal Crossing. Making games closer to movies doesn't do much to change perception. Perhaps they could ease the introduction of new people to gaming, but they don't redefine what they think, as they already know movies. And I think that most people that like movies just watch movies instead of games. To change mainstream perception of gaming you have to show what this medium has to offer in difference to existing media. The same thing happened with movies. Movies tried to be close to theatre plays in the beginning, but the movies that redefined the perception were the ones actually using the tools available that made them differ from plays.

  • +6
Leynos (on 23 May 2024)

Shut up douchebag. So far up your own ass.

  • +6
Sogreblute (on 25 May 2024)

The only franchise Naughty Dog made that could be considered mainstream is Crash and even that is a stretch. If Neil really wants their next game to be mainstream or redefine mainstream gaming then they need to focus more on gameplay than their stories and photorealism graphics. Their games only target a certain group of people. They need to expand and appeal to more people.
They need to look at the most mainstream gaming franchises/games to see that it's the gameplay that got them to that status. Mario, Pokemon, Sonic, Pac-Man, GTA, Call of Duty, WOW, etc. No one looks back at a mainstream game and goes "Oh yeah those graphics and that story were awesome".
I can guarantee you Naughty Dog's next game isn't going to redefine anything or become mainstream.

  • +5
TeachMeHisty (on 25 May 2024)

Being "Mainstream" is only good for making money, but not for the games themselves.
Creativity and experimentation require deviating from what the Mainstream wants after all.
I perceive this as detrimental, not positive.

  • +3
KrspaceT (on 23 May 2024)

...One would think they would want to play it safe with the issues that came from Part 2.

  • +3
JWeinCom KrspaceT (on 23 May 2024)

There's literally nothing you can do that won't piss off some corner of the internet. No reason to let that guide your business.

  • +3
TeachMeHisty JWeinCom (on 24 May 2024)

Unless reasons are justified. Not claiming that they are for TloU:p2 though.
Ignoring a minority only because of that may backfire after all.

  • 0
TheLegendaryBigBoss (on 23 May 2024)

Hope we learn more about it at the PS showcase. It has been 4 years since TLOU Part 2 and all we have from naughty dog is 1 remake and 1 remaster (plus a cancelled online game)

  • +3
Dante9 (on 24 May 2024)

A masterful studio, but that kind of "Kojima speak" has me a little worried that they are going to take a step too far when it comes to new concepts.

  • 0
firebush03 (on 23 May 2024)

Uncharted 3: Remastered…for PS5(!) (the industry will never recover from this massive release)

  • 0
V-r0cK firebush03 (on 24 May 2024)

Already exists. It's called Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection

  • +1
firebush03 V-r0cK (on 24 May 2024)

I see…I was under the impression that it was the first three included in that remastered collection, but it turns out I was getting that mixed up with the PS4 remaster collection (lol).

I will edit my initial comment then to refer to another Uncharted title.

  • +1
Manlytears (on 23 May 2024)

I'm sure ND will deliver a amazing story and narrative, their next game is more than likely on the "GoTY" candidates list, that said... I hope they can deliver better gameplay experience.

Gameplay is the area that needs evolution. Narrative, immersion, world building, graphics, animation, everything is Just amazing, but gameplay needs to be better.

I hope they can take a pages of FromSoftware and Capcom, the 2 undisputed kings of gameplay.

  • 0
lebirri Manlytears (on 23 May 2024)

What Capcom games do you think of when referring to superb gameplay?

  • 0
Manlytears lebirri (on 23 May 2024)

Monster Hunter, Dragons Dogma, street fighter, just to name some favorites.

  • +1
mjk45 Manlytears (on 23 May 2024)

and how do they relate to a game like TLOUS who's gameplay revolves around a combination of scavenging cover shooting and visceral combat with enemies that usually outnumber you.

  • 0
Manlytears mjk45 (on 23 May 2024)

excellent question, the answer is... they are not related at all.

I don't consider the gameplay of games like TLoU and Uncharted to be bad, I just think they are fundamentally limited in their design.
At its base, ND games are a combination of maps with little freedom, parkour between "yellow platforms", reasonable stealth, TPS, relatively simple melee combat, some other gimmicks and a number of cinematic/interactive segments.
Maybe it's because I've played these games a lot over the years, but I'd like to see ND do something completely different. I wanted to see them do something that brings a different gameplay, something that moves away from their previous work... something that reinvents, like SSM from "traditional" GoW to GoW (2018) or GG from Killzone to Horizon.

ND is one of the most awarded and talented studios in the industry, I'm sure they have the potential to surprise and reinvent themselves.

  • +1
UnderwaterFunktown (on 23 May 2024)

Honestly given the context it sounds more like "now that we got eyes on us because of the show it could bring in new audiences" rather than anything to do with the title itself. I'm not too worried it means they're toning down the gameplay, though it'll defintely be another cinematic title of some sort.

  • 0

I hope you are wrong. I don't want to see ND ending in the same spot as Bethesda... simplifying too much makes things boring.

  • 0

??? I'm saying I don't think it means they're simplifying things. I'd expect the next game to be more or less in the same vein and Uncharted and TLOU and if anything those series got better gameplay over time (mainly Uncharted, 1 to 4 is a massive difference).

  • 0
rapsuperstar31 (on 23 May 2024)

Outside of Nintendo games, Naughty Dog makes some of my favorite games. I have no doubt whatever they are working on will be great, and looking forward for a new ip from them.

  • 0
KratosLives (on 25 May 2024)

Kojima beat him to it

  • -1
LivncA_Dis3 (on 25 May 2024)

Just keep on making solid video games and it would be all good Neil lol

  • -2
Otter (on 24 May 2024)

Variety is good. I'm actually very happy for Naughty Dog to continue pushing boundaries of what they find conceptually and narratively compelling. There are 100s of other studios making action adventures, action RPGs, FPS', platformers etc.

It's good to have developers like Naughty Dog & Kojima who have ambition to look at the medium in different ways. What I'm less keen on, is a lot of the copy cat approaches which don't have much to say but just want to appear cinematic.

  • -3
BraLoD (on 23 May 2024)

Don't usually like that kind of talk...
But TLoU 1 and 2 are such fucking masterpieces that is hard to not be interested to see what that may be.

  • -8
ClassicGamingWizzz BraLoD (on 25 May 2024)

The state of vgchartz, this the most downvoted and the most upvoted calling the combat boring , lat of us 2 combat being boring is one of the craziest take on vgchartz.

  • 0
BraLoD ClassicGamingWizzz (on 26 May 2024)

Only noticed it because of your post, lol.
Well, apart from the free hate I get from some particular people everyone can have their own opinion.
TLoU2 combat certainly is great, still haven't seem any game come even close of the fluidity the game provides on evasion and interaction with the parts of everything, including the enemies, items, and of the cenario you are close with while fighting.
Animation quality and very precise and unique results to hit detection are still unmatched 4 years in.
It's also still, by very far, the most powerful gaming experience I've ever came across, what the devs made me fell by forcing me into doing some stuff in this game was genuinely one of a kind.

  • +1
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