It can be easy to forget that the people who make games also enjoy playing them – well, when they’re not bunkered down with bugs in their own projects, anyway. As such, this blog post from Naughty Dog makes for a refreshing read, as it shares some of its favourite games from the past year. We should caveat that not every title listed here technically launched in 2021, but you get the idea.
For example, game director Anthony Newman, who appears to be working on The Last of Us 2’s multiplayer mode, cites Fortnite as one of his favourites: “When I first started working on this multiplayer project, I had a very superficial opinion of Fortnite as something that was a mere toy for tweens, a passing fad that was only popular because of Drake. How wrong I was! Fortnite is truly inspiring, not just as a multiplayer game but as a game period.”
Meanwhile, co-president Evan Wells loved co-op platformer It Takes Two: “I'm a sucker for platform games, and It Takes Two combines that gameplay with amazing puzzles, a great story, and beautiful art. There is so much variety, and clever mechanics are continually introduced. And the bold choice of requiring a second player made the experience unique. I had a ton of fun playing it with my son.”
Other titles that appear on the list include Returnal (unsurprisingly), Metroid Dread, and Deathloop. “Deathloop helped me break my bad immersive sim habits,” game director Matthew Gallant gagged. “The time loop structure gave me permission to let go of playing flawless zero-kill zero-alert runs, and adopt a more improvisational and chaotic playstyle.” We agree with this one – in Dishonored you feel like you have no choice but to restart when you make a mistake, but in Deathloop it’s part of the core design. Neat!
You can read the full blog post through here, which includes some neat insight across a number of different games.