We suppose the gags will write themselves with this headline, but restrain yourself before you get reductive in the comments and belittle a bunch of hard work. Naughty Dog, notorious for its crunch culture, appears not to have overworked on The Last of Us: Part I. The studio – which is renowned for its obsessive attention to detail and overly long hours – finished up work on its PS5 remake today, and Principal Environment Artist Anthony Vaccaro says for the first time in his 13 year career, he didn’t crunch.
“This is the first time in my 13 year career, across multiple studios, that I didn't need to crunch to finish a game,” he wrote on Twitter. “Feels good, really good. Especially hitting the same quality bar as The Last of Us 2. More work to keep doing but proud of the big changes so far to make the studio healthier.”
Of course, there are a few obvious caveats that we could point to here – even as mere external observers. For example, no matter how much work has gone into the remake, it is still building upon the framework of a game that already exists. It stands to reason, then, that this would have been a more straightforward project than a wholly original release. Furthermore, it’s also expanding on work recently completed with The Last of Us 2, so it’s probably safe to assume the studio has got a pretty slick production pipeline in place for this series right now.
Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that Naughty Dog has at least three other projects in development, so this has never been an “all hands on deck” scenario. In that sense, it’s good to hear that working conditions have been less intense lately, and hopefully it’s something the studio can continue to build on as it turns its attention to its other upcoming titles.