Our short bio: Bruce Straley, Game Director and Neil Druckmann, Creative Director on The Last of Us at Naughty Dog - sup?

My Proof: : https://twitter.com/Naughty_Dog/status/362693581821050882

OK ENOUGH!!!! haha. Thank you everyone. This was awesome & an honor! You guys are terrific (and crazy). We tried to answer everything we could, hope you enjoyed it. DLC stuff coming soon-ish... keep your ears to the ground. We'll be at PAX in August. TLOU forever! XOXO -Bruce & Neil.

Comments: 1800 • Responses: 76  • Date: 

seaofbees1039 karma

My boyfriend Loves the game so much, I sculpted him a giant clicker head, thought you'd enjoy it! :)

http://i.imgur.com/DFLZvaE.jpg

Bruce-ND679 karma

badass!

Neil-ND598 karma

Rad.

AssViolator580 karma

Spoilers: The toy that Sam grabs in the store is a transformer. Was that done purposely to show his eventual turn or is it just coincidence?

Neil-ND1415 karma

lol... we're not that clever.

JohnnieBoah457 karma

When can we hear Joel sing?

Neil-ND631 karma

Are you going to PAX? :)

maxd399 karma

Bruce, is it true that you draw power from those around you with your beard?

Bruce-ND507 karma

yes. all true. though since the game shipped I felt I had TOO MUCH POWER, so I shaved it.

Neil-ND278 karma

It was true, until he slayed the demon that inhabited his beard. Now I have to look at his bare face every day. Yuk.

bloodfurn393 karma

First, I just want to say that NaughtyDog is my favorite game company of all time, I think you guys do an amazing job. Jak and Daxter is my childhood game and The Last of Us just topped it for my all time favorite game. I still want to get the Crash Bandicoots, and the Uncharteds are awesome. You guys can make a game about reading a phonebook and I will pre-order and platinum that game.

Ok, now for the questions. I understand if you choose not to answer some of them.

  1. Do you see yourselves ever making games for all platforms, or are you guys sticking with Playstation?

  2. What was the biggest challenge NaughtyDog as a team had to go through?

  3. Are you purposely making trilogy after trilogy or is that just coincidence?

  4. I've read that during the development of Uncharted 3 you split into two teams, the second began working on The Last of Us. Are there still two separate teams? If so, does this mean you work on two different games simultaneously?

  5. On /r/thelastofus I've seen some debate on whether or not Bill is gay and if David intended to rape Ellie. So, just to put the questions to rest, are those true?

  6. In The Last of Us, there are stuffed giraffes scattered throughout the game. Were these intended to foreshadow the giraffe scene or are were they just props?

  7. Do you plan on making more comics after The Last of Us: American Dreams?

  8. In The Last of Us were Joel and Tess ever romantically involved?

  9. What exactly was running through Ellie's head at the end of the game?

  10. In The Last of Us campaign, why weren't there any 3 way fights between Joel, hunters, and infected? Was it a technical issue?

  11. In The Last of Us, will Infected be incorporated into multiplayer?

  12. In the Last of Us, when and how does an infected become a bloater? I know the four stages (runner -> stalker -> clicker -> bloater), but it was said that when an infected feels like it's about to die it finds a corner to release more spores. So does the bloater happen before of after the spore release stage?

  13. I have a friend whom I regularly play The Last of Us with. He's currently attending DeVry University and is currently working toward a degree in graphic design, It's his dream to work with you guys at NaughtyDog. What are his chances?

  14. What will be your next game be?

  15. Do you guys plan on making a big entrance into next-gen with your next game?

  16. Is it likely you will ever return to Jak and Daxter? And do you consider The Lost Frontier canon? Basically (this is the big one), will there be a Jak 4?

Thanks!

Neil-ND696 karma

Holy shit that's a lot of questions... alright, here we go: 1) We're owned by Sony. No chance of seeing Naughty Dog games on competing platforms. 2) Growing to become a multi-project company has been extremely difficult. 3) Coincidence.
4) There are still two separate teams working on two different projects. 5) Open to interpretation. I will say Bill was written to be a gay character, but W. Earl Brown has said his performance is open to interpretation. \ 6) Both. 7) Don't know yet. Entertaining some ideas, though. 8) What do you think? :) 9) A lot. 10) Not a technical issue. We actually had the tech to do it, it just never fit with the story. 11) No plans 12) Bloater happens if the body is strong enough to survive for longer than a clicker. It's a rare occurrence. 13) Relative to his skill & passion. 14) Don't know yet. 15) We always make a big entrance. :) 16) No plans. We gave it a shot at the beginning of the project and couldn't make it work for ourselves.

whew...

GuyarV387 karma

Thanks for the AMA. I loved the ending of TLOU, I felt that it was so selfish, but so human at the same time. The world took something from Joel, so he took something from the world.

What other thoughts were there on the table for the ending for The Last of Us?

Bruce-ND622 karma

we had a happier ending at one point... where Ellie & Joel were driving completely contented & satisfied with their adventures off into a glorious sunset... but that didn't feel right. It just wasn't honest to the world or the characters we created. This ending felt right for us.

SayNoToDownvotes501 karma

The last shot of Ellie saying "okay" has to be one of the most powerful shots in gaming history.

Bruce-ND773 karma

just an aside... it's nice that our opening image is Sarah, and our closing image is Ellie... I think it's nice at least. Good job us! haha :P

winstano309 karma

1) How difficult was it bringing a new IP to the table with Sony this late on in the PS3's life?

2) Where's our UnKarted game?! ;)

Thank you for TLOU, possibly the best experience I've had with any console since the first Metal Gear Solid! Can't wait to see what you guys cook up for the PS4

Neil-ND447 karma

1) It was surprisingly much easier than we thought It'd be. Sony has a lot of trust with us.
2) UnKarted: Train Combat Racing X is on it's way. :)

Michael7123287 karma

[Spoilers below]

When you first played the game when you where finished with development, how many of the doctors did you kill at the end?

Neil-ND752 karma

I kill all three every time. >:(

Bruce-ND954 karma

Neil actually killed all three every morning when he came in to work. it was like his coffee.

RedPandaAlex273 karma

Let's get this out of the way so you can not answer it and we can move on: what is ND working on for ps4?

Bruce-ND762 karma

what's the PS4?

MuthMuth248 karma

Would you rather fight 1 Joel sized Ellie, or 2 Ellie sized Joels?

(I don't have anything to add so I'm rehashing this tired old thing. Sorry)

Bruce-ND353 karma

2 Ellie-sized Joels

would you rather fight a dog-sized bee with only a bat, or try to drive across an abandoned LA with a godzilla-sized hungry kitten?

DuhTrutho244 karma

I suppose I’ll try and tackle the “elephant in the room” question.

  • Will there ever be more story content from the universe that Ellie and Joel live in centering around the two characters?

Also, as a more personal question, what was the hardest part about setting up a story and characters that were not entirely clichéd and set apart from the vast amount of other films and games based around zombie mythos?

Neil-ND293 karma

It's possible. We're playing with some ideas, but no direction has been set yet for the next game.

Crepulsis198 karma

My dream is that a trailer will play on tv with The Last of Us 2 and Joel and Ellie. I'd straight up die.

Bruce-ND285 karma

I'd die too!

DuhTrutho131 karma

Very ambiguous!

Here is a less serious question. I hope you catch the reference.

  • What did the mermaid wear to her math class?

Neil-ND418 karma

Algae-bra

DCIJohnLuther198 karma

What's up dudes! I just have one short question: What influence did Cormack McCarthy's The Road have on the game? I'm a huge fan, and this is my absolute favorite game of all time!

Bruce-ND338 karma

that book was awesome. Neil & I both read it... I think back during U2 development. It's a very impactful story. yeah, it was one of many influences. mainly the lengths the father is willing to go for his son, and the darkness of the world that surrounds them. it really shines a light on the things humans are willing to give up (morally) to in order to survive. we also read City of Thieves, the movie No Country for Old Men, the movie Children of Men, and the Walking Dead comic... among some more non-fiction reads about how the world falls apart in "World without Us" and "The Last Town on Earth".... check 'em out.

Neil-ND237 karma

We're fans of the book, but we really didn't refer to it that much during development. No Country for Old Men was a much bigger inspiration for us.

TrademarkLAS191 karma

For you guys, what was the most emotional moment in the game?

Neil-ND626 karma

I usually tear up during the giraffe sequence. I'm really proud of what we accomplished with that moment.

Bruce-ND335 karma

shipping the game. actually maybe watching the boot-up sequence with the ND logo & TLOU logo fade into the start menu. I fucking love that. It feels DONE at that point.

but as far as the actual game... there are too many to count. I love this game!

MrJAPoe183 karma

Neil and Bruce, thank you

Like a lot of people, I saw the trailer you guys aired at the VGAs, and I saw the original demo you guys put out with Joel and Ellie at the hotel. I was pumped for this game after those videos! My anticipation for this game even beat out my anticipation for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time - the first iteration of my favorite game series in 8 years!

I was so excited for this game! I was convinced that the week I bought and played this game would be the best week of my summer. But then life happened.

In a nutshell, the week the game launched was the week before I put my dog, Miles, to sleep. The day after I beat the game (Monday, 6/17) was the day he was taken to the vet, and that was that. I was sobbing my heart out that whole weekend. The only times I wasn't were when I was sleeping, and when I was sitting in front of my television, holding a DualShock, while Miles was chilling in his chair in the corner of the living room.

Your game made that weekend go from unbearable to heart-wrenching. That may not sound like much, but it was enough to give me some peace while the hourglass was dripping ever faster. I can't express how much easier your game made that weekend. There were some parts that somewhat mirrored what was going on in my life, namely Gadget from "Boy's Diary", that forced me to take a breather, but those were also just plain beautiful moments that most games today simply can't create.

I'm never not going to associate you guys with my dog, but I think it's good to have something to keep him in my memories. I believe you only truly die when everyone else has forgotten about you, so Naughty Dog will always keep Miles alive for me when I'm playing your games. And I plan on playing your games for as long as you make them. I don't want you guys to stop, just like I don't want to forget about my best friend.

I've played you guys since Crash, and there's not a single game you guys and your fellow Naughty Dogs have made that I haven't played, and that will never change. Keep on doing what you guys do - it's fantastic!

Regards, MrJAPoe

PS: Give Pogo and Trumpet an extra pat from me :)

Bruce-ND175 karma

wow. well, thanks and sorry to hear about your dog. that sucks.

Neil-ND173 karma

Thank you.

Buckethead35174 karma

Awesome AMA, guys!

So I've heard, that according to the Japanese The Last of Us instruction manual, Joel and Ellie's last names are Miller and Williams.

Is that really true?

Neil-ND296 karma

Those were names that were used in early docs, but we decided to remove all last names for main characters pretty early in development -- no sure how they made it to any released manuals. So no, Ellie's and Joel's last names aren't revealed. The only main character who's last name you can find is Riley's.

rubydoobiedooooo170 karma

I wrote your studio a letter about a month and a half ago basically thanking you for all of the hard work that you put into The Last of Us. It got me through the recovery of a pretty serious and painful surgery.

Now time for my question!

Question: What made you decide to keep the original ending for The Last of Us even though it did not necessarily test well with your focus groups?

Neil-ND495 karma

It felt honest. Anything else felt like we were pandering.

GrayBread170 karma

What are your plans for the future of The Last of Us?

Neil-ND436 karma

Currently working on single-player DLC. Talking about other ideas.

Viney189 karma

Will any characters return in the DLC?

Neil-ND459 karma

Yes.

Nagajimmyrussle164 karma

I just realized something, four of my favorite games of all time are made by you guys. Is there a specific date or general time when you guys realized that this was probably gonna be the best thing ever? or did it occur to you after release?

Neil-ND279 karma

After release. For a long time we had serious doubts about the game's reception.

Infamy7164 karma

How in the hell DID Ellie know how to pop a clutch?

Neil-ND216 karma

She learned quite a bit while sneaking out of her school in the quarantine zone.

dragizard2162 karma

Just two questions for you guys:

  1. If you'd made the game for PS4, what would you have done differently?

  2. Who is sexier, Troy Baker or Nolan North?

Thanks for helping to make such an awesome game!

Bruce-ND492 karma

  1. memory wouldn't be as much of an issue. we had to jump through so many hoops to get this game streaming (no load screens in our games still. YAY!)
  2. Ashley Johnson :)

...and you're welcome!

raginseagoat159 karma

Were there any scenes that you guys wrote that later on that you decided were too brutal or intense and had them removed?

Neil-ND306 karma

No. We were shocked no one ever asked us to tone down or censor any scenes.

Redditor12332123147 karma

Will there be official The Last of Us merchandises sold at Naughty Dog's website soon?

I really want to buy the official "The Last of Us" t-shirt logo, and Ellie's t-shirt.

To people who wants to know how it looks like: http://imgur.com/a/KmvtW

Bruce-ND222 karma

we REALLY want to do that... hopefully we'll be able to set that up.

maxcon143 karma

[deleted]

Neil-ND315 karma

The concept of structuring an entire game around a relationship between two characters came first and was always at the heart of development.

popcorn38138 karma

Hey guys, congrats on the huge success on TLOU! I actually have several questions for you to avoid a repetitive question. 1. What's the story behind Joel's favour? 2. What was the hardest thing to program in the game? 3. Do you have any plans on expanding Ish's story? 4. Have you considered adding any infected game mode in multiplayer? 5. What game was better to work on, TLOU or Uncharted?

Thanks for the hours of nonstop entertainment!

Bruce-ND182 karma

thanks! 1. to bill? we're not saying... we like it better that way. I think you can image some crazy shit that went down between them in that world... 2. Ellie. All of Ellie. and more specifically Ally AI in stealth combat. 3. not yet, but we really liked what we found with that story-within-a-story concept. 4. we've considered it... 5. shit. both have their ups and downs (in production terms). For me U2 was my first time stepping into the game director role, so that was a fresh & exciting (maybe naive but super open) time, but TLOU was something special, and challenging. I saw a video of U2 the other day and had some pleasant feelings of nostalgia bubble up, and seeing the fan art and people's reactions to TLOU has been extremely exhilarating. They both win! :)

Neil-ND157 karma

1) Left ambiguous for a reason. 2) Ellie's (and the other NPCs) AI 3) Ish seems to be pretty damn popular. We'll see... 4) yes, but they didn't pan out. 5) Jak X :)

MaxBash126 karma

Can you give us ANY information on the upcoming dlc for The Last Of Us?

Also, I would also like to say that The Last Of Us is easily the best gaming experience I've ever had in a game ever, I just want to say thank you for letting me experience something that I will most likely remember for a very long time.

Bruce-ND222 karma

thanks for the nods.

and there's stuff in the pipe... to be talked about soon-ish... hang in there!

GuyarV121 karma

So, brick or bottle?

Neil-ND222 karma

Brock the brick all the way.

DatDude2012118 karma

Whatever happened to the concept art of Joel and Ellie laughing there asses off by a fire?

Or Joel teaching Ellie to fire a gun at a nearby farm?

Where these scenarios that ended up on the cutting room floor, or where they simply just that, concept art.

Neil-ND203 karma

They were inspirational images for the tone we were after. They were never meant to be specific moments in the story.

Bruce-ND166 karma

Those weren't done for sections of the game or story we were working on. We give those scenarios to the concept artists (in this case Hyoung Nam) to help us find the characters. So in stead of just doing flat orthographics or guesses at poses to sketch the characters in, we found that if you put them in a situation, it tells us way more about their design.

mousewithcheese113 karma

Did you guys try grilled rats or mice before putting it in the game?

Neil-ND530 karma

Does McDonald's count?

I_Am_Bellend109 karma

Literally my favourite game of all time!

  1. Will you be making another Last of Us and will it feature Joel and Ellie?
  2. Is there any truth to the rumors of the film?
  3. Did you speak to Ellen Page before or during or after release?
  4. Thanks for making my favourite game!

Neil-ND154 karma

1) Don't know yet.
2) Nope 3) Nope 4) You're welcome.

Simonov107 karma

When can we expect DLC for The Last Of Us, and what will it be based around?

Neil-ND238 karma

News is on the way about the first DLC drop. Should hear about it this month.

IJoinedJustToAsk105 karma

I have loads of questions, so I'll try the number I ask brief.

  1. One of my favorite moments in the game (alongside the giraffes and David's death) was the truck ambush in Pittsburgh, and one of the reasons for that was the music. Was Hank Williams always your choice to complement the scene, or would you have used something else in hindsight?

  2. As female Hunters/cannibals/Fireflies/military exist in concept art and in the multiplayer mode, why do we only fight male humans in the game? (There are female soldiers but Joel doesn't fight them in-game) Is there any story based explanation, like keeping all the women and kids at the home base? Or was it for creative reasons, given the brutality of the combat?

  3. What were some infected concepts and stages that you cut from the game? Looking at the artbook, there are a lot of concepts that seems pretty far-fetched for the universe you created, like the infected wielding tools.

  4. Why are there no pictures of Sarah's mother in Joel's house? Is it because even before he lost Sarah, Joel wasn't one for holding onto the past?

  5. Does Joel's last name start with an M or an N? I'm asking this because one of the ND forumers found the certificate in Joel's house with Sarah's (obscured) full name on it, and we were wondering if you had any last name for Joel in mind.

  6. Regarding David: How long do you suppose it took for a man like him to lose grasp on his morals, accept the new world order as it is, and turn to cannibalism with his buddies? Furthermore given the rather hebephilic overtones of his interactions with Ellie, was this an intentional character trait or just part of Nolan North's performance? If intentional, did David always have such tastes or was that just a byproduct of post-pandemic lawless living conditions?

Neil-ND162 karma

1) Hank wasn't the original choice, but he did turn out to be the best choice. 2) Development time & memory prevented us from seeing the female hunters to completion. 3) Fungus growing on the environments that shot poison darts at the player were at one point in the game. 4) The backstory was that she left Joel after Sarah was born. Not someone he looked up to to keep a picture around. 5) We didn't reveal the last name. 6) David's cannibalism came after the outbreak. His other traits (both good & bad) were always there.

LittleStallin102 karma

Now that the game has been out for awhile now you have no doubt heard some criticisms made about the game. Some of these hold water and some are in my opinion just people nitpicking in order to get attention.

After hearing these criticisms is there anything you would change about the game if you could or do you still believe it is as good as it can be?

Neil-ND210 karma

With the time/resources we had... I truly believe we made the best game possible. Are there things we could've iterated on with more time/budget? Of course.

Bruce-ND156 karma

yeah ditto with Neil. We (Naughty Dog) did pretty good with what we had.

snarfer9998 karma

Was it easier to create a completely fictional world like Jak and Daxter or was it easier to create a world based on real life like in The Last of Us?

Bruce-ND147 karma

AREYOUKIDDINGME?!?! haha. Jak and Daxter would be a luxury to design in that world again. Story would be hard to have depth though. Those characters are who they are now - it's hard to infuse them with the motivations & choices we'd need them to have to make a compelling story (we tried early before we decided to make TLOU). A grounded world is a difficult solution space to design in though. But nothing good comes for free...

timmy076897 karma

Why would the firefly's not give Joel an opportunity to talk to Ellie? Why rush the surgery? Why not give Ellie the choice to have the surgery?

Bruce-ND194 karma

all off screen, so we're leaving all this for your interpretation... BUT you COULD say Marlene was weary of Joel and/or you don't reeeeally know how long Joel was unconscious for.

and regarding the choice - 1. it's just the story we wanted to tell and 2. it's not a story-choice-based game, so to cram a major choice in at the last, final, epic set-up would've felt forced (to us)

Neil-ND144 karma

Ellie was too important to the Fireflies to offer any kind of choice to either Joel or Ellie in regards to her fate.

Diziran97 karma

Hey guys! Love the game! Thanks for doing this!

  • Neil tweeted the other day that his interpretation of the ending of TLOU was the minority opinion. What is that interpretation?

  • How does one become a creative director? What advice do you have for breaking into the gaming industry in any way?

Neil-ND164 karma

1) Not fair to give our interpretation -- want to leave it open for people to discuss. 2) Advice for breaking into gaming -- make games! Don't wait for someone to hire you.

Peg_leg_tim_arg92 karma

Did you shape the world around Joel and Ellie as characters or was it the world you created that formed the characters?

Also please give us a Joel Ellie sing along

Neil-ND149 karma

Ellie and Joel were first. Then came story genre and world.

Bruce-ND115 karma

we started with the idea of building a bond between two characters over the course of an entire game - and then a confluence of events happened that just fell into place for us that made the survival world a perfect backdrop to create the tension we needed for those characters to make interesting choices... so characters, then world I guess.

vvega480 karma

I would like to start out by letting you guys know that my friend and I are intense fans of TLoU, and we have a couple of questions to follow, but we also wanted to share with you guys that the both of us were representin' this past weekend at Metrocon in Tampa, FL.

Proof (hope you guys enjoy these):

1

2

Alrighty, now to the questions:

1) I was wondering about a possible sequel to The Last of Us. I recall reading some articles that hint at one, but without going TOO much into detail, what can/could we expect from a continuation of the story? Are there any plans for changes in gameplay?

2) We also had some questions concerning the ending. SPOILER ALERT. What was the thought process behind the decision to have Joel lie about the Fireflies, and were we supposed to get the impression that Ellie knew that he was lying? Will this affect their relationship in possible future titles?

Neil-ND78 karma

First of all... you guys are awesome. Thanks for sharing.

1) Don't know. Still trying to figure it out ourselves. 2) Ending is open to interpretation.

SayNoToDownvotes63 karma

Hey guys, first off I want to say thank you for making amazing games for so many years. The last of us is a perfect 10/10 in my book and is one of my favorite games. My question is what is your guys favorite games?

Neil-ND121 karma

Ico, Resident Evil 4, and Monkey Island 2 (best ending for a videogame).

Yxz38 karma

It would be awesome to see a Ico/Shadow of the colossus type game from Naughty Dog seeing as we'll probably never get to play The Last Guardian :(

Neil-ND138 karma

Don't say that. The Last Guardian is my most anticipated game.

Bruce-ND99 karma

in no order: ICO RE4 Yoshi's Island hmmm... Fatal Frame II (only because no game has scared me like that ever before) what else... why are all these old japanese games? I just played Hotline Miami. That was some good fun! Not on the all-time list, but on a 2013 best of for sure OH! Limbo was awesome... 'nuff...

jazzyjeff31362 karma

Do you sit down and come up with a story or does it come naturally?

Neil-ND232 karma

Sometimes we stand when we brainstorm. :)

Eyth61 karma

The Last of Us is a marvel of game design. It is one of the few games I have ever experienced in which every action, conversation, collectible, and combat sequence perfectly facilitated the game world and its mature narrative, without ludonarrative dissonance or loss of immersion. Congrats on your success!

Did the team plan any combat sequences in which Joel and Ellie are pitted against both infected and humans simultaneously? Was any sequence cut from the game that either of you wish could have made the final cut? And during playtesting, did the internet-infamous brick-conquers-all strategy come about, or was that something unexpected? (I was never without my trusty brick during Survivor and Survivor+!)

Thanks!

Bruce-ND95 karma

thanks for the kudos.

infected vs humans would've been awesome, and there were 3 (I think? hard to remember right now) areas in the game we had it slated, but as we got deeper in production & animations & models started getting fleshed out, it came down to such a huge memory hit that we couldn't afford it without rather large re-jiggering... so we opted to cut it. Yeah... I know :(

CanadianVelociraptor60 karma

What sort of programming jobs are there at Naughty Dog? What programming languages and other technologies are used to create your games?

How often are you hiring?

Neil-ND116 karma

We're hiring all the time. Check our website for details.

BenAtkinsChafer55 karma

Internally, was the ending of The Last Of Us controversial??

I liked it but personally would have written it differently, how many possible ideas did you have for it?

Neil-ND98 karma

Initially, yeah... ending we ultimately went with didn't sit well with some members of the team. Once it was more fleshed out, it became an easier sell. We went through about 3 or 4 ideas before finding the ending that worked best for the story we wanted to tell.

KidFrisco26 karma

Can you elaborate on the alternate endings?

Neil-ND83 karma

We'll share some of them at a panel Bruce and I are doing at PAX. More info to come.

Imtheman201355 karma

Will the DLC for The Last of Us be singleplayer, multiplayer, or a mixture of both? Also, how many DLC's can we expect and when is the time frame for their release?

Thanks!

MrJAPoe90 karma

1 single, 2 multi.

Bruce-ND124 karma

yep.

DundahMifflin53 karma

I'm an author, and one of the most difficult things I find myself doing at the start of writing a novel is naming my characters something that is appropriate to their personality. I also share my name with Joel, and when The Last of Us was first announced, I flipped shit because Joel isn't a very common name. What made you want to use Joel for the main character of a post-apocalyptic tale, as opposed to more 'rugged' names?

Neil-ND97 karma

His original name was Ethan, but we felt it was too close to Nathan. I'm sure that can lead you to find out where the name Joel came from. :)

Prawh50 karma

Hi Bruce and Neil! Thanks for doing this AMA, and thank you and the rest of the Naughty Dog team for one of the most epic experiences gaming has brought me. My question to you is:

Seeing as you've been looking over the game from the very beginning and through the development, was there anything that took you by surprise or anything you noticed when finally playing through the finished result that you were not aware of during the development? Or is it difficult to fully immerse yourself and enjoy the game after you've spent years making it?

Bruce-ND118 karma

well, it's always hard playing a game that we've been so 'attached at the hip' to for so long without seeing the flaws. I mean, "art is never finished, just abandoned", right? And with video game development it's even worse. But I can say when playing through the game more strung together, I teared up at moments that I KNEW were actually going to happen. That was cool! I think some of it was the relief of 3+ years and a lot of blood, sweat & tears manifest on the joystick. What a relief!

jamsoda47 karma

To Neil, Bruce, and EVERYONE involved in making this masterpiece:

I know I'm not the first person to say that The Last of Us was hands down the greatest gaming experience I have ever had. 1.5 months later, and still the feels! I don't know how you guys and the Naughty Dog team did it, and I am left in awe. You have forever won my respect and loyalty. Thank you for being so awesome.

So uh that being said, may we pleeeeeease have some more? You can get away with the upcoming DLCs for now, but after that, will it be years before I see you again? :(

Bruce-ND87 karma

Thanks so much for the compliments. Stoked you like it so much & it still resonates with you. And yeah, the team here is imho the best in the industry, and I'm very grateful to be able to work with them.

But hold your horses about all the future shit... ;) DLC is going to amazing! Just wait! We're happy with what we've come up with.

UnitedStatesofMurica45 karma

I just wanted to let you guys know that you're awesome. I loved crash bandicoot as a kid and uncharted 2 was my favorite game until I played the Last of Us and was completely blown away by how amazing it is. Looking forward to your next project as I'm sure you guys will continue to produce fantastic games. My question is: What made you guys decide to switch from the more upbeat tone of Uncharted to the gritty, realistic and emotionally draining Last of Us?

Neil-ND65 karma

We're fans of the genre and felt we could create a good character driven experience in that tackled more mature themes.

sand2635 karma

You guys made in my opinion the best game ever made. my question is, Do you think your team can make a game of this quality again?

Neil-ND71 karma

We always try to top our last game. So that's the plan.

Bruce-ND52 karma

funny thing, is we really just make games that we think would be fun to us. Sure, there's a gap we saw in the industry, that there hasn't been a really good character-driven story in the survival genre done yet, but when kicking around the ideas for the game with Neil, it just sounded awesome. so we made that. :)

Bruce-ND43 karma

btw - that's all we should hope for any developer! make what you want to play!

eddietheblack27 karma

Hi Bruce and Neil. Excellent job on TLoU, this game actually made me buy a PS3. It just had to be played.

As a computer science student in the United Kingdom passionate by the gaming industry, I ask how would a student go about learning in a studio such as Naughty Dogs? It seems that most studios all look for previous experience, which I do not have and is completely understandable.

Does Naughty Dog ever plan to run any internship schemes?

Neil-ND40 karma

Naughty Dog doesn't hire interns. Although, I started here as an intern by bugging Jason Rubin and Evan Wells.

JiggyJoe2126 karma

Hey Neil and Bruce, big fan here of Naughty Dog and looking forward to play future releases. The only question is was there anything you wanted to put into The Last of Us that was too dark or morbid for the game?

Neil-ND62 karma

Nope. We got a lot of morbid out of our systems. We did tone down some of Ellie's deaths during the David boss fight as they felt like too much to us.

andybadwool25 karma

[deleted]

Bruce-ND97 karma

design decisions. we wanted the game to be as fluid as possible & a cover button just wasn't flowing with the stealth. regarding crouch-sprint, it just complicated the controls too much & people just ended up crouching around the entire game. it looked funny, and there wasn't any risk-reward to the decision to either crouch, stand, or sprint... so being more discreet made it clearer for the players what the consequences of their choices were going to be.

naughtydoglover19 karma

Hi Neil! Hi Bruce! I am really excited that I have the opportunity to thank both of you for helping create perhaps the greatest work of fiction I’ve experienced. I’m sorry that sounds hyperbolic, but I really mean it. Without a doubt, this is the greatest game I have ever played, and I’ve played some really good games. At least in the gaming world, it is unrivaled in depicting human strength, vulnerability, and determination. In my mind, all the selfish and selfless aspects of humanity are right there on display. I hope I don’t sound crazy, but I feel as though I have a better understanding of human nature, by experiencing this game. I could elaborate, but I don’t want to end up writing an essay. Just, thank you.

Bruce-ND40 karma

you do sound crazy. :)

But thanks for the kind words!!

LuigiWagner17 karma

I just want to thank you guys for THE single best experience I´ve ever had in any type of media. The Last of Us not only proved that games can be just as much as powerful as any other kind of art, but it also showed that they can be the MOST powerful among other medias...

Keep up the amazing work guys!

Bruce-ND35 karma

thanks. big words, but thanks! And games ART art godammit! :)

[deleted]14 karma

[deleted]

Bruce-ND26 karma

nice try :)

EvilTable9 karma

Hey you two. Your company has made some of the most memorable games ever. So I was wondering if you ever got the chance would you guys make another Crash Bandicoot? Another question. TLOU actually inspired me to right book, it's about zombies. Do I have your permission to use the quarantine zone idea? That's all I'm using from TLOU.

Bruce-ND41 karma

that would be awesome to do another Crash - but that property is owned by Activision now... or someone that's not us. sorry

PacMan945 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA Naughty Dog and for the amazing adventures you have provided with The Last of Us and your previous works...here are a few questions. :)

  • Any plans for a stats page for The Last of Us similar to what you guys have on for Uncharted 2 & 3 multiplayer? On that note, how does the rank system work for The Last of Us multiplayer? I haven’t been able to figure that out…

  • I like the Jak and Daxter easter eggs in The Last of Us :). Was that to commemorate the fact that The Last of Us was almost going to be Jak 4 instead?

  • What phases of development did the Naughty Dog team have to go through when creating The Last of Us? Was any code reusable from the Uncharted Series?

  • Any plans for the lab to be introduced in The Last of Us multiplayer…? If not, will you guys still be updating it in Uncharted 3?

Thanks Neil and Bruce for doing this again :)

Bruce-ND6 karma

  1. do we not have a stats page? we suck! :/
  2. it's somehow become an unspoken naughty dog tradition to put a precursor orb in all of our games. so no.. nothing is being said with that
  3. phases? pre-production and hell. And yeah, the foundation we started with was the Uncharted engine. we ended up rewriting the AI system from scratch and added some features to our rendering engine (along with misc other stuff), but most of the core tech was the Uncharted engine.
  4. The lab was a fun concept for us too. who knows if it works with TLOU. we're working on our DLC stuff now, we'll have to see what the future brings...