The Secrets behind Naughty Dog’s Success of ‘The Last of Us’


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A couple days ago The Last of Us Creative Director Neil Druckmann, was responding to fans in an Ask Us Anything Reddit session, where he gave insight on the freedom their developers have in creating their games. Naughty Dog has the choice to create a sequel to the popular game or create an entirely new IP, with the complete trust of Sony.

With the freedom to do whatever the hell they want, they are able to add elements to the games that other developers are restricted from. In the latest interview with Wired about the newly released ‘Left Behind’ DLC, Druckmann states:

“We’re very lucky at Naughty Dog that we get to make our own calls. No one outside of Naughty Dog tells us what to do. But I know when it comes to marketing or other aspects of the industry, those calls are sometimes very precedent-driven. So without being able to point to a game and say that can succeed on the market, you’re going to feel a lot of pressure to not do that. We’re lucky at Naughty Dog that we can ignore those recommendations, but in a lot of other studios, I’ve spoken with people in those studios and they cannot. So hopefully—and this is my personal thing, not a Naughty Dog agenda—in doing something like [Left Behind] in the triple-A space, we can help pave the way for other stuff.”

It is very rare to find a relationship like Sony and Naughty Dog, especially in the gaming industry where any little mistake can cause big bucks for publishers and developers. In many cases, publishers are in control over developers in every element. They will stick to what they’re comfortable with, concealing creativeness just to protect their profits.

The secret to the success of Naughty Dog is obviously freedom, they have the choice to do what they want, and aren’t held back by marketing decisions of big publishers.

Do you think that it’s a good idea for developers to be free of restrictions from publishers? Comment below.