Neil Druckmann is intrigued by Elden Ring's storytelling & may try something similar

The Naughty Dog and The Last of Us director teased that there were several projects at Naughty Dog that may try a less 'hand-holding' narrative design.

Image via PlayStation

The Last of Us and Elden Ring are vastly different in how they tell a story, but TLOU director Neil Druckmann may be more interested in what the Elden Ring style has to offer. The Naughty Dog studio lead recently took part in an interview where he shared his recent interest in environmental storytelling and less outspoken narratives. He even shared that Naughty Dog may be attempting to capture similar vibes in its upcoming projects.

Druckmann recently appeared on an interview with The Washington Post in which he discussed his recent interests in video game narrative. It was there that he pointed to games like Inside and Elden Ring, praising them for how they almost wordlessly guide players into the story and narrative of their world without outright saying it.

“I’m more recently intrigued by stuff like Elden Ring and Inside, that don’t rely as much on traditional narrative to tell a story,” Druckmann said.

Elden Ring: a knight on horseback with spear faces a dragon under a glowing tree.
Druckmann is currently infatuated with Elden Ring's environmental storytelling and claims Naughty Dog is pursuing narrative designs closer to that in its upcoming projects.
Source: Bandai Namco

Druckmann goes on to share that he feels The Last of Us has some level of similar DNA in environmental storyline, but he’d like the studio to explore that aspect further.

“I think some of the best storytelling in The Last of Us – yes, a lot of it is in the cinematics – but a lot of it is in the gameplay, and moving around a space, and understanding a history of a space by just looking at it and examining it,” Druckmann continued. “I think there’s a way to push that stuff forward, at least, for the kind of games we make at Naughty Dog. I’m really intrigued – again, [we’re] never resting on our laurels, and trying something a little bit new, a little bit different, that not everyone’s going to like, but that’s okay. And again, it’s stuff that we’re working on now – I can tell you that the teams are very excited by the different projects we have at Naughty Dog.”

It seems unlikely that we’ll see these projects and the revamped narrative experiences Druckmann describes come to light immediately as it seems Naughty Dog is focusing its efforts on The Last of Us multiplayer game in 2023. Nonetheless, one could always just go play Shacknews Game of the Year 2022, Elden Ring. It’s right there. No need to wait. Nonetheless, stay tuned as we continue to follow what’s coming down the pipe next from Naughty Dog.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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