Naughty Dog recently released The Last of Us Part II on PlayStation 4, and it could be the developer’s final game for the console. The team will presumably shift to the PlayStation 5 for its next game, whether that be The Last of Us Part II, a new IP, or something else entirely. Naughty Dog VP Neil Druckmann has now spoken about the PS5 and what it will allow the developer to achieve. That involves fewer loading screens for a more immersive experience. But just what the experience happens to be is still unknown to us.
In an appearance on former Nintendo boss Reggie Fils-Aime’s new podcast, Druckmann said the PS5’s new SSD will help cut down on load times, which will in turn open new doors for Naughty Dog’s developers.
Druckmann pointed out that Naughty Dog already works hard to minimize loading zones in its games, but this is only possible due to technical wizardry happening behind the scenes that the player never sees. With the PS5, developers won’t need to be as crafty, Druckmann teased.
“At the end of a [console] generation, you always feel the constraints. You always feel like you’re pushing against a bunch of walls and finding the little cracks where you can take things a little further whether it’s memory or CPU or hard drive speed. When you start a new generation, it’s a double-edged sword,” Druckmann said. “On the one hand, you have to build new tech for the new hardware, and that can be an uphill battle. But on the other hand, all of a sudden you feel this freedom of, ‘Oh my god, we can breathe again!’ ‘We can break away from these constraints.’ And one of the things that we’re excited by is the solid-state hard drive and what it means for almost seamless loading.”
“We do so much work, on our end, once you start the adventure, you never see a load screen. And there’s so much work that happens behind the scenes of how we design the levels, how we chop them up, and it’s all invisible to the player; you never see any of that work,” he added. “But now, knowing that we’re going to be able to load things more quickly, it just means the designers don’t have to be as constrained by how they lay things out. How we think about things. When we load new characters. So I’m excited to see the doors that opens for us.”
Naughty Dog won’t be jumping into a PS5 game right away, it seems, as Druckmann confirmed that he and the team are taking a break and catching their breath after releasing The Last of Us Part II.
During this same podcast, Druckmann spoke about the internet hate surrounding The Last of Us Part II, saying that hatred and vitriol is unavoidable when you make something that is massively popular.
Naughty Dog’s next game is expected to be a standalone Last of Us Part II online experience of some kind. Given the timing, it seems possible that this project–whatever it might be–may debut on PS5. Almost nothing is known about this Last of Us game, however. Naughty Dog is unexpected to return to Uncharted, as the studio said Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy were the final games in the series they planned to work on. However, a different studio could come in to make Uncharted 5.
Druckmann also recently confirmed that Naughty Dog has no plans to release story DLC for The Last of Us Part II.
This is in contrast to the first game, which was followed up with the acclaimed Left Behind prequel expansion. It was included with the remastered PS4 version, as well.
The Last of Us Part II sold more than 4 million copies over its first three days to set new records at PlayStation, outpacing other exclusives like Spider-Man, God of War, and Uncharted 4.
For more on The Last of Us Part II, check out editor Phil Hornshaw’s recent opinion piece, “The Last Of Us 2’s Obsession With A Gamer Gotcha Undermines Its Characters.”
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