Neil Druckmann Is Tired

Neil Druckmann Is Tired

Neil Druckmann, the co-president of Naughty Dog and creative director of The Last of Us, is tired. From the sound of it, he might be looking to change his career up so he doesn’t have to deal with the stress of leading a AAA team that puts out games on the scale of Sony’s flagship studio.

In a podcast (thanks, VGC) with rapper and The Last of Us Part II actor Logic, Druckmann said that everything Naughty Dog has done since the studio started working on Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which launched in 2009 on the PlayStation 3, has been “incredibly stressful.” That game was a notable pivot point for Naughty Dog, propelling the studio into the prestige cinematic storytelling and action setpieces it’s known for now.

As the cost and workload associated with big-budget games have scaled up with each console generation, and as both Sony’s internal expectations and fans’ external expectations have grown as well, Naughty Dog’s output has grown in scope and developer strain, culminating in The Last of Us Part II expanding the principles of cinematic gameplay and storytelling into a 20+ hour endeavor. It seems like the scope creep and stress may be getting to Druckmann. He says he doesn’t think he’s got that many more games on this scale in him, and would like to spend more time with his family.

“I guess that I don’t see myself doing this forever at this scale,” he told Logic. “It’s just a lot, and it takes a lot out of you. It’s very stressful to manage that many people and multiple studios worldwide. […] Yeah so, I’m just at a point in my life where it’s like, you start looking at, ‘what’s the end game here? When is it time to call it?’”

Logically Speaking

This follows the release of the documentary Grounded II chronicling the development of The Last of Us Part II, in which Druckmann claimed there is likely one more chapter left in The Last of Us’ story. Naughty Dog isn’t working on it yet, but we’ll see if Druckmann sticks to the director’s chair by the time the project gets underway.

While the Grounded II documentary tries to paint a rosy, crunch-free picture of the studio, Naughty Dog has been experiencing considerable upheaval lately, with layoffs for both its contractors and as part of Sony-wide cuts announced earlier this week.

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