The guys responsible for Nathan Drake's adventures have made some of the PlayStation 3's best games. But the excellence of Naughty Dog's Uncharted franchise came after a lot of hard lessons. Just as a probable reveal for the next PlayStation looms, a new interview on Eurogamer reveals that the development studio had a rough time moving from PS2 to PS3.
Most of the talk in the Eurogamer piece is about The Last of Us, with Naughty Dog co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra talking about how that game moves the company's output into darker territory. Balestra says:
We've gone really mature, and really we just wanted to see two characters bond. How can they get through this journey, and this world, which isn't an easy world. How them being so different in the beginning - how can they learn from each other? That was really our main focus in the beginning. It's in those moments, those situations where you will be forced to make tough decisions.
But the interview is more intriguing when it turns to the struggles that Naughty Dog had jumping to the PS3. Balestra again:
"We had a pretty bad experience when we moved from PS2 to PS3, because we made some stupid mistakes. And that was totally our fault.
… the shaders were different and things like that, and we had a lot to learn. I think we've caught up though - I think our games look pretty good, so I feel like we're fine right now. But it's always scary, because you don't know what to expect just to do something.
"It's about the quality of the tools, and about whether you can make something smarter. My guess is that they will expand - you'll have more this, and more that - you'll always have something more. In terms of our art, we always create our assets at a higher resolution than what you see in-game. A lot of our pipelines are already ready to move to something superior to the PS3. But it's scary."
Naughty Dog is a two-team studio now, which means that work on another game — either the next Uncharted or something new altogether — could well be underway, possibly for Sony's upcoming console. Whatever game it is, that's where we'll get to see how well Naughty Dog has learned its lessons about leaping to next-gen.
The Naughty Dog difference [Eurogamer]