Naughty Dog, keep the arrogance in check, would you kindly?

By on January 28, 2012

Good sales don’t mean you are the best in the business.

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Chest-beating about their own game is a common practise among developers. I don’t think their marketing team will like it very much if they do otherwise. However, developers have rarely gone cocky, and have always drawn the line when it comes to keeping the hype-train reined in. This is probably a Video Game Developement 101, a tactic to keep expectations and over delivering; a chapter slowly going missing in Naughty Dog’s textbook.

“We’re trying to say something about human beings and how they exist. Now necessarily just in this setting, but in every setting. We try so hard at Naughty Dog to push things and then games come out that are fun and exciting and get visceral things right, but to read in reviews that they have an amazing story is disheartening to us because we work so hard at it. We really hope we can raise the bar,” said creative director Neil Druckmann in an interview Edge.

Now, this is not a personal vendetta-article because Naughty Dog thinks reviewers can’t tell a good story from a bad one (we can). This is only a plead to keep the apparent swelling of self pride in check. After all, good sales doesn’t maketh you the best in the business.

I am not sure what, or which game in particular, Druckmann is referring to, but I am not going to go on a rant and demand him, or anyone, to point out a review that has praised a video game’s story even though it was pathetic. But this, along with huge proclamations of aiming to change the “f**king industry”, and promising to deliver an “amazing experience that no player has experienced for this genre” is almost criminal in stoking player expectations beyond a level than it probably should.

There is no doubt that The Last of Us will be a fantastic game. Well, at least if the Uncharted series is anything to go by. But will it be a fantastic story teller as well? The Uncharted games, in my opinion, have only bordered around that territory. It’s high production values does seem to give off that illusion however, but it ultimately revolves around the handful of plot materials that have been present throughout the series. If we take out the action set pieces that Naughty Dog does so incredibly well, the ‘story content, again in my opinion, is right there with Halo and Gears of War, two franchises that have received a lot of flak of not really telling a proper story than it ought to. Stories after all are quite subjective – one man’s trash and all that.

I sincerely hope The Last of Us will be as good as Naughty Dog is making it to be. If it will “change the industry” then I really hope that developers stop bothering with a story mode if their ultimate goal is to make a multiplayer game anyway. But before we pin up hopes like that, let’s see what you got Naughty?


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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  • DarkAnimus

    good read. right on the money sir.

  • Sasuke_sarut0bi

    At least Naughty Dog is trying to do something new in the industry and push the evolution of storytelling.  I remember Molyneux promising the same thing and coming out with the steaming pile of crap that was Fable.  

  • Renewman

    Wow, trying to start something from nothing eh Mufaddal? Considering Naughty Dog have won multiple awards for its stories in Uncharted 2 and 3, I’m quite certain they can do it again in The Last of Us.

  • dj-quadrant

    Bobby kotic, cliffy b – the most arrogant pr*cks in gaming.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not going to look through your back-catalog, but as long as you called out Epic, EA, Crytek and a bunch of other devs who are _far_ more arrogant then you’re fine.  If this is the first time you’ve made a point of it, though, you’re hardly picking the most arrogant developer on the block, nor anywhere near picking the most out-there example of it even in recent months.  And without knowing which games Drucker is talking about, it’s hard to tell how out of line he is.

    Particularly as, you may say that reviewers can tell a bad story from a good one, but in my experience, that’s far from the case.  Indeed, the more outside of standard gaming tropes and into a more authentic space that stories in games go, the more and more gaming reviewers struggle with them (as many – and I’m not saying you – but many lack experience in anything but games and Hollywood schlock, and taking ones’ storyingtelling tips from those sources alone is hardly going to qualify anyone as being an authority in the field!)  Hell, the breadth of gaming these days mean that many reviewers – even for the larger sites, fail at reviewing core gameplay elements, let alone less traditional stuff.  So, err, don’t get arrogant about the reviewing either ;) .

  • S T A L K E R -andre1

    Идите нахуй пидарасы

  • Fuckyou

    madfanboy :D

  • Anonymous

    I think they were trying to draw attention to the motion capture that goes into their cut scenes, and the fact that some reviewers often brush it off as just a good story. I mean I’m sure there is a lot going on behind the scenes, apart from the writing of the story. Also, I think they’re trying to focus on motion capture and facial expressions rather than verbal communication in The Last of Us.

  • Omar Nassralla Ali

    go to gamespot and check out their review for Gears of War III………. “emotional” my ass

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