Naughty Dog is working on multiple new game projects, but when will they be announced? We still don’t know, but Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann has said fans should expect the studio to announce these games closer to release than it did with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and The Last of Us: Part II.
Speaking to ComicBook, Druckmann said the fact that those two games were announced years before they eventually came out, it created some hardships for the people making them.
“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.
For Naughty Dog’s next games, Druckmann said announcing them later into their development cycle would allow the team to “play with the schedule more.”
Naughty Dog, and many other studios, have faced pressure to cut down on periods of “crunch,” which is an industry term for extended periods of long working hours. In 2020, Druckmann said people who come to work at Naughty Dog know that they are “gonna work very hard.”
After that, Druckmann and Naughty Dog’s other co-president, Evan Wells, pushed back against the idea that developers forming a union would cut down on crunch.
“I don’t know if that [unionization] would be a solution to crunch,” Wells said, adding that some developers might feel “handcuffed” if they were limited to working 40 hours per week. Druckmann, meanwhile, said unionization alone wouldn’t solve crunch.
Going back to the ComicBook interview, Druckmann said Naughty Dog, as a studio, is “more conscious now about how we’re approaching production.”
He also mentioned that Naughty Dog’s upcoming game slate includes the Last of Us multiplayer game and “another project.” Druckmann said of this game, “I will not say anything about that’s beyond that that we’re also very much excited for.”
Naughty Dog has said it might make The Last of Us: Part III next or a different game, which could perhaps be the company’s rumored new IP.
On the more immediate horizon, HBO’s The Last of Us TV series premieres January 15 alongside a companion podcast.
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