DICE Summit 2018 is currently underway, and amongst the speakers was Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann.
The creative director behind some of the industry’s best games (Uncharted, The Last of Us) shared and discussed the inspirations behind The Last of Us Part II as well as the ongoings for the Uncharted movie.
There’s a show on Netflix called The End of the F***ing World, which is so well written and acted and quirky, and has been totally inspiring for some of the stuff we’re doing in [The Last of Us Part II]—more on the dialog stuff.”
The origins of The Last of Us came via a more unconventional route, with the idea coming along when Druckmann was conceptualizing a zombie game pitch for horror icon George Romero. The pitch “took ICO and combined it with characters from Sin City,” and task players to protect a girl as a cop with a heart condition.
When players were debilitated as the cop, control will shift to the young girl. That idea is definitely running in the veins of The Last of Us. During development on the first game, the studio drew plenty of inspiration from 2006’s Children of Men, in a bid to tell a similar story without the alien invasion angle.
Druckmann also offered up a tidbit that revealed more about the development of Uncharted 4 and the iconic Crash Bandicoot sequence.
Coming in as production was already underway, Druckmann and the studio looked at assets already in place and decided that having Nate and Elena playing Crash was a good idea and a funny joke. Naughty Dog then built it into the game without prior approval, before it was all made official late in development.
On the Uncharted movie, rather than trying to retell the story of the games, it will feature a storyline about a younger Nathan Drake, played by Spider-Man’s Tom Holland.
Druckmann was also pleased with the approach by director Shawn Levy, stating that:
We’ve had some conversations with Shawn Levy, and he’s really passionate, gets it, and I think he understands where we’re at.[Levy] wanting to tell a different story than the main four adventures with potentially a young Nathan Drake that fills in the gaps, I think is a lot more interesting than trying to retell Uncharted 1, 2, 3, or 4
Druckmann also mentioned The Last of Us film and the script he had worked on, which was a direct adaptation. Now that he’s had some separation from the project, it dawned on him that he doesn’t want a direct retelling of the game to be made into a film.