Neil Druckmann Sets The Record Straight On What He Actually Said About Naughty Dog’s Next Game

Neil Druckmann Sets The Record Straight On What He Actually Said About Naughty Dog’s Next Game

Earlier this week, Sony published an interview with The Last of Us director Neil Druckmann about the future of gaming. The president of Naughty Dog was quoted as saying the PlayStation studio’s next game “could redefine mainstream perceptions of gaming.” In a shocking twist, Druckmann now says he never actually said that.

The interview in question went up alongside a strategy briefing by Sony to its investors. In addition to praising the potential for generative AI to transform how games are made, Druckmann appeared to make a grand pronouncement about Naughty Dog’s next, highly-anticipated PlayStation 5 game. “I’m eager to see how this new game resonates, especially following the success of The Last of Us, as it could redefine mainstream perceptions of gaming,” the interview read.

In addition to getting picked up by several media outlets, including IGN which called it “big words,” the quote also went viral on social media, where it received widespread criticism. The reaction has now prompted Druckmann to correct the record.

“This is not quite what I said,” the veteran gaming creative tweeted late on May 24. “In editing my rambling answers in my recent interview with Sony, some of my words, context, and intent were unfortunately lost. Well, here’s the full long rambling answer for the final question about our future game.”

Druckmann then proceeded to share an excerpt of the raw, unedited transcript from his conversation with the anonymous interviewer. In it, he talks about how gaming used to be very niche and siloed off from the rest of the culture when he was growing up, and how that has since changed, in part thanks to hit TV shows like HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us and Amazon’s adaptation of Fallout.

“I’m not only excited for this game that we’re making—and it’s, it’s something really fresh for us—but I’m also excited to see how the world reacts to it,” the transcript reads. “Because of The Last of Us, and the success of the show, people even outside of gaming are looking at us to see what it is that we put out next. I’m very excited to see what the reaction for this thing will be.”

While interviews are often edited down for clarity and length, the one published on Sony’s website made a surprising number of cuts and, what’s worse, made up a bunch of things Druckmann didn’t actually say, including phrases with very different meanings from anything contained in the original. It raises the question of how many other parts of the interview aren’t accurate paraphrases of what the game designer said or are completely made-up, though presumably if there were more errors Druckmann would have corrected those as well.

One thing that Sony cut from his response was a moment of humility and graciousness. “I’ve been very lucky to have worked on my favorite games with incredible collaborators and I’m very thankful for them,” Druckmann said. It was a tacit reminder that Naughty Dog’s games are made by hundreds of people.

Sony didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update 5/29/2024 9:16 a.m. ET: Sony has since deleted the interview citing multiple errors and inaccuracies.

“In re-reviewing our recent interview with Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann, we have found several significant errors and inaccuracies that don’t represent his perspective and values (including topics such as animation, writing, technology, AI, and future projects),” the company wrote in an update on its website. “We apologize to Neil for misrepresenting his words and for any negative impact this interview might have caused him and his team. In coordination with Naughty Dog and SIE, we have removed the interview.”

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