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Naughty Dog thought The Last of Us would “ruin its image”

Naughty Dog believed The Last of Us would “tank” and “ruin the image” of the development studio.

Post-apocalyptic, zombie survival game The Last of Us has won numerous awards, been bathed in the light of glowing reviews and fan adoration, not to mention spawning a great expansion and remastered version. 

So it’s strange to think that at one point developer Naughty Dog believed the game would fail and cause it to lose its reputation.

Talking to Wil Wheaton during a Sony roundtable interview, as reported by Kotaku, Naughty Dog’s Co-Director Bruce Straley explained that even long into development, the studio believed the game wouldn’t be well-received.

“We thought it was going to tank. We thought we were going to ruin the name and image [of Naughty Dog] that’s been so heartily built for year with blood, sweat and tears,” explained Straley. “We thought we were ruining Naughty Dog’s image.”
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It wasn’t the storyline or the setting that Naughty Dog believed was the risk about The Last of Us though, but the game mechanics.

“I thought, ‘We’ll be lucky to scrape by with an 85 Metacritc’. Just because it wasn’t gelling,” added Lead Designer Anthony Newman. “It was a set of really lucky breaks in gameplay decisions we made that made everything fall into place and turn into a fun game.”

We’re just so pleased that the game did so well and that The Last of Us 2 is already in development. 

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