Naughty Dog Expected The Last of Us to "Tank"

StewShearerOld

Geekdad News Writer
Jan 5, 2013
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Naughty Dog Expected The Last of Us to "Tank"


The developers of The Last of Us were apparently less than confident in the game's success while it was in development.

<a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/the%20last%20of%20us?os=the+last+of+us>The Last of Us is easily one of the best regarded games of the last console generation. A hit both in terms of <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/reviews/10366-The-Last-of-Us-Review-A-New-Apocalypse>critical acclaim and sales, it was for many the crown jewel of the PS3 library. It's almost hard to even think of the game as anything other than a beloved modern classic. It's funny, in turn, to find out that the game's developers at <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/naughty%20dog?os=naughty+dog>Naughty Dog initially expected it to "tank."

That, at least, is what co-directors Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann along with lead designer Anthony Newman revealed in a recent interview. Speaking about the game, Straley shared that Naughty Dog was initially apprehensive about The Last of Us and the effect it might have on the studio's reputation. "We thought we were going to ruin the name and image [of Naughty Dog] that's been so heartily built for years with blood, sweat, and tears," he said. "We thought we were ruining Naughty Dog's image."

Their worries, according to Newman, stemmed from "mechanical" problems the game's team kept running into during its development process. "I thought, 'We'll be lucky to scrape by with an 85 Metacritic.' Just because it wasn't gelling," he said. "It wasn't coming together. 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." Druckmann himself didn't feel good about the game until people outside of the development team began to play it and respond positively.

In other words, when you're working on a creative project, don't give up even if it feels like it's crap. We're not saying perseverance will turn everything into a Last of Us, but you never know what might fall into place if you keep trying.

Source: Gamespot


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josemlopes

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Jun 9, 2008
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The playstation audience does seem to enjoy watching movies so the gameplay decisions never really meaned much.
True Cinematic Experience [http://webmshare.com/mDbnv]
 

Areloch

It's that one guy
Dec 10, 2012
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Aerosteam said:
Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?
Depends on what the contract with the publisher is.

There have been many cases where developers' post-release bonus payout is dependent on metacritic scores. So if getting below 85 would've meant they didn't get that huge-chunk of post-release bonus money, it may well have been considered a total flop by the dev team themselves even if the rest of the world wouldn't really think of it like that.
 

Aerosteam

Get out while you still can
Sep 22, 2011
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Areloch said:
Aerosteam said:
Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?
Depends on what the contract with the publisher is.

There have been many cases where developers' post-release bonus payout is dependent on metacritic scores. So if getting below 85 would've meant they didn't get that huge-chunk of post-release bonus money, it may well have been considered a total flop by the dev team themselves even if the rest of the world wouldn't really think of it like that.
Yup, I remember something about Obsidian and New Vegas with that.

Suddenly I'm reminded of how ridiculous publisher's expectations are a lot of the time.
 

Areloch

It's that one guy
Dec 10, 2012
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Aerosteam said:
Areloch said:
Aerosteam said:
Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?
Depends on what the contract with the publisher is.

There have been many cases where developers' post-release bonus payout is dependent on metacritic scores. So if getting below 85 would've meant they didn't get that huge-chunk of post-release bonus money, it may well have been considered a total flop by the dev team themselves even if the rest of the world wouldn't really think of it like that.
Yup, I remember something about Obsidian and New Vegas with that.

Suddenly I'm reminded of how ridiculous publisher's expectations are a lot of the time.
Yeah, it can be a pretty crappy deal for the devs sometimes. Fortunately, it worked out for them this time.
 

Evonisia

Your sinner, in secret
Jun 24, 2013
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I cannot fathom for a second that this is in any way believable. Even if the gameplay was arse, the story and it's presentation was the big draw for people. Well, the story and Ellie, the female character of prominence.

Though honestly even if the gameplay was bad, it still wouldn't have been as bad as Uncharted 2.
 

Ticklefist

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They expected it to tank the same way one hopes for the best but expects the worst in any situation.
 

09philj

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Never underestimate the ability of the paying public to wholeheartedly buy into schmaltz.
 

Fox12

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Jun 6, 2013
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"We thought we were going to ruin the image of naughty dog that's been carefully built over the years."

And yet this is the game that redeemed the company for me. I hated Uncharted, and lost all interest in the developer. The Last of Us showed me that they still had talent. Hopefully they can keep the momentum.
 

kajinking

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Evonisia said:
I cannot fathom for a second that this is in any way believable. Even if the gameplay was arse, the story and it's presentation was the big draw for people. Well, the story and Ellie, the female character of prominence.

Though honestly even if the gameplay was bad, it still wouldn't have been as bad as Uncharted 2.
Seconded on the presentation bit. How on earth has no game ever done an intro like that before? It set the game up so well! You saw the earth shattering disaster going on through the eyes of child that just woke up in the middle of the night to find everything falling apart! It was better lead in than most movies have!
 

Mikeybb

Nunc est Durandum
Aug 19, 2014
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I've played naughty dog games for a long time.
Even have an old cartridge of "rings of power" somewhere on a shelf.
They're a good company and they produce entertaining games.
It's nice to know they're bold enough to take a chance on something too sometimes.
 

tippy2k2

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I wonder what wasn't working in the beginning that made them so worried.

I can't imagine the finished product is what they thought was going to tank. The game play isn't ground breaking but it works just fine when you've got such a great story. This isn't some tiny developer that's never worked on something; this is Sony's flagship when it comes to why you should buy a Playstation over a Xbox...

I kind of wish he'd have gone into more detail over what wasn't working because that sounds like it could be neat to learn about.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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josemlopes said:
The playstation audience does seem to enjoy watching movies so the gameplay decisions never really meaned much.
True Cinematic Experience [http://webmshare.com/mDbnv]
I game exclusively on the PS and have yet to play through a single "movie".
 

lacktheknack

Je suis joined jewels.
Jan 19, 2009
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StewShearer said:
"I thought, 'We'll be lucky to scrape by with an 85 Metacritic.'
ohhhhhhhhhhhhh nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Somehow, I'm reminded of "Tomb Raider sold millions of copies and outsold every other installment in the series, what a flop".
 

Strazdas

Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
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StewShearer said:
Their worries, according to Newman, stemmed from "mechanical" problems the game's team kept running into during its development process. "I thought, 'We'll be lucky to scrape by with an 85 Metacritic.'
And here they provide you all the eveidence you need that they dont know what word "Tank" means.

josemlopes said:
The playstation audience does seem to enjoy watching movies so the gameplay decisions never really meaned much.
True Cinematic Experience [http://webmshare.com/mDbnv]
You can see this is not a movie because at one point the chasing car teleports, and movies have better standards than that.
 

Casual Shinji

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I'm sure every developer that makes a new IP is absolutely terrified that it's going to fail, especially in the current market. Even if you have a juggernaut like Sony marketing it, new IP's make people anxious to spend their money.

It's also a bit cute of them to admit this now that they know how succesful the game is. I wonder if they would've said the same had the game actually failed.