How an idea from Uncharted 2 led to The Last of Us

Neil Druckmann, lead designer of Uncharted 2 and creative director of The Last of Us, talked about how a cut idea from the Uncharted games led to the genesis of their survival horror world.

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The Last of Us draws a lot from Naughty Dog's Uncharted series. Both are third-person cover shooters utilizing the same engine. And for a while, it did seem like The Last of Us would be merely "Uncharted in hardcore mode." (Thankfully, the end result was much more inspired.)

Neil Druckmann, lead designer of Uncharted 2 and creative director of The Last of Us, talked about how a cut idea from the Uncharted games led to the genesis of their survival horror world.

"When Bruce [Straley, game director] and I were working on Uncharted 2, we would brainstorm a lot of gameplay scenarios or story scenarios," Druckmann told VentureBeat, describing a scenario he called The Mute Girl. "We started to brainstorm how you would form a bond through gameplay, where you can't rely on dialogue. She would shake Drake awake in the middle of the night and motion for him to follow her... As you're climbing up on this rooftop of this building, you get to see a vista over this whole city as it's lit up. You hear gunfire and stuff in the distance, but it's this really beautiful moment that you get to share with this character, all through gameplay."

Although that scenario didn't make it into the Uncharted games, it led to the question that propelled the development of TLOU: "could you build an entire game around this concept of meeting a character really early on and forming a bond that would evolve and shift as you see all the facets that a deep relationship between two people can have?"

From The Chatty
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    August 6, 2013 4:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, How an idea from Uncharted 2 led to The Last of Us.

    Neil Druckmann, lead designer of Uncharted 2 and creative director of The Last of Us, talked about how a cut idea from the Uncharted games led to the genesis of their survival horror world.

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      August 6, 2013 6:23 PM

      Druckmann is crazy talented.

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      August 6, 2013 6:46 PM

      They knocked it out of the park with The Last of Us.

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      August 6, 2013 8:45 PM

      I'm really glad they took this concept and ran (far) with it. TLOU is easily one of my favorite games of all time.

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      August 7, 2013 6:36 AM

      Stories like this bring a smile to my face.

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      August 7, 2013 10:00 AM

      The Mute Girl concept reminds me of Yorda from Ico. Like Ellie, she's a female NPC that you're tasked with protecting and with whom you form a strong emotional bond — but unlike Ellie, you can't understand a word that she says. If any fans of The Last of Us haven't played Ico or its spiritual successor Shadow of the Colossus you absolutely should.

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      August 7, 2013 10:22 AM

      Reminds me of how ideas for early Nintendo games came about.