Update: After some comments by Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann were misconstrued, The Last of Us director has confirmed that he’s established a writers’ room to allow for more collaboration on upcoming PS5 games. A New Yorker article had previously said that the Santa Monica studio’s future projects would be “structured more like a TV show”, although as we pointed out in our article, this was more referring to the approach the outfit’s taking towards development.
“It’s about making our games in an even more collaborative manner,” he explained. “[I’m stoked to show you our projects as soon as we can!”
Original Story: We know that, in addition to standalone multiplayer game The Last of Us Factions, developer Naughty Dog has a second project in production. This is rumoured to be a third instalment in the studio’s post-apocalyptic property, although the Santa Monica-based studio is keeping its cards close to its chest. There is one tiny tidbit as part of the conclusion to a sprawling New Yorker interview about HBO’s upcoming television adaptation, however.
The article ends by reflecting on director Neil Druckmann’s approach to making games. It mentions how he surprised teammates by enlisting Oscar award winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla to score the soundtrack to the first The Last of Us game, and then went on to recruit Westworld’s Halley Gross to co-write its sequel. Apparently, he’s continuing to hire from film and television, with one of the cinematographers from HBO’s show being told “the door is open” should they choose to jump mediums.
The feature concludes that “his next project” is a game that is “structured more like a TV show” than anything Naughty Dog’s made before. It concludes that he isn’t “writing the script alone, or with a single partner” but is instead “assembling a writers’ room”. So, it sounds like there will be a lot of writers collaborating on whatever game the developer makes next, which seems like a logical step to us.
It should be noted that the article does not appear to be suggesting Naughty Dog’s next game will be episodic – this very much seems to be about the approach the developer’s taking to making it. Clearly Druckmann has been massively influenced by his work on HBO’s television adaptation, and it’d certainly make sense for him to integrate some of things he’s learned from that back into his day job as a game creator.