Naughty Dog Has ‘Moved On’ From Uncharted, The Last of Us Part III Is Up to the Studio
Naughty Dog is known for many franchises, most recently Uncharted and The Last of Us. Co-President Neil Druckmann recently spoke about the two, noting that it had moved on from the former, while leaving the door open for the latter.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Druckmann said that the multiplayer The Last of Us game is another entry in a sense since it has a new story and cast of characters and even called it “another chapter in the universe.” But as for a more proper The Last of Us Part III, Druckmann talked about how the team had a lot sway with Sony and that there wasn’t “all this pressure” to make a follow-up.
“All I could say is, at Naughty Dog we’re very, very privileged that our publisher is Sony — which means Sony funds our games, supports us, and we’re owned by Sony,” he said. “They have supported us every step of the way to follow our passions — meaning that just because something is successful, people think there’s all this pressure and we have to make a sequel. That’s not the case.”
He then used Uncharted as an example since Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is one of the studio’s best-selling games. That kind of success might mandate a sequel elsewhere (Lost Legacy was a stand-alone game, but started as DLC, making it a little different), but that’s not the case. This is what prompted Druckmann to say that Naughty Dog was moving on from that swashbuckling series.
“For us, Uncharted was insanely successful — Uncharted 4 was one of our best selling games — and [we were] able to put our final brushstroke on that story and say that we’re done,” said Druckmann. “We’re moving on.”
Druckmann used The Last of Us Part II to prove his point. He explained that it was up to the team whether or not the sequel was going to happen. This somewhat corroborates a Reddit comment he made in 2014 during Left Behind‘s launch where he stated there was a 50/50 shot that there would be more adventures in that world. Eventually, the developer came up with a story it wanted to tell, so it decided to go forward.
“Likewise, with The Last of Us, it’s up to us whether we want to continue it or not,” he said. “Our process is the same thing we did when we did Part II, which is if we can come up with a compelling story that has this universal message and statement about love — just like the first and second game did — then we will tell that story. If we can’t come up with something, we have a very strong ending with Part II and that will be the end.”
Stories about The Last of Us Part III have popped up in a few different places. Druckmann recently said that there was “more story to tell” in the world of The Last of Us. He also confirmed in April 2021 that he had an outline for a possible sequel, but made sure to say it was a “story that [Naughty Dog] is not making” even though he “[hoped] one day [it] can see the light of day.”
Uncharted‘s future, regardless if it is with Naughty Dog or not, is also murky. Lead Game Designer Robert Cogburn hinted to Kotaku in 2015 before Uncharted 4‘s release that it was probably the team’s final entry since it was “tired of answering those same types of questions in the same fiction.”
However, newer pieces of evidence aren’t as final and, in some instances, might even point to other teams taking the reigns. A Naughty Dog recruiter said the team was scouting for talent that could build teams for “not only new titles but for the legacy of Uncharted.” And while vague, another job listing from one of Sony’s internal stated that it was working with Naughty Dog on a “beloved franchise.” Lost Legacy Creative Director Shaun Escayg also told GamesRadar that the studio loves the series and wants to see more of it, noting that we should “never say never.” Loose rumblings have pointed to a reboot, but those allegations have not been corroborated and nothing has been confirmed.
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