Naughty Dog Expected The Last of Us to "Tank"

Naughty Dog Expected The Last of Us to "Tank"

The Last of Us Remastered 3

The developers of The Last of Us were apparently less than confident in the game's success while it was in development.

The Last of Us is easily one of the best regarded games of the last console generation. A hit both in terms of critical acclaim and sales, it was for many the crown jewel of the PS3 library. It's almost hard to even think of the game as anything other than a beloved modern classic. It's funny, in turn, to find out that the game's developers at Naughty Dog initially expected it to "tank."

That, at least, is what co-directors Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann along with lead designer Anthony Newman revealed in a recent interview. Speaking about the game, Straley shared that Naughty Dog was initially apprehensive about The Last of Us and the effect it might have on the studio's reputation. "We thought we were going to ruin the name and image [of Naughty Dog] that's been so heartily built for years with blood, sweat, and tears," he said. "We thought we were ruining Naughty Dog's image."

Their worries, according to Newman, stemmed from "mechanical" problems the game's team kept running into during its development process. "I thought, 'We'll be lucky to scrape by with an 85 Metacritic.' Just because it wasn't gelling," he said. "It wasn't coming together. So it was really a set of really lucky breaks in terms of gameplay decisions we made that really made everything fall into place and turned it into a fun game." Druckmann himself didn't feel good about the game until people outside of the development team began to play it and respond positively.

In other words, when you're working on a creative project, don't give up even if it feels like it's crap. We're not saying perseverance will turn everything into a Last of Us, but you never know what might fall into place if you keep trying.

Source: Gamespot

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The playstation audience does seem to enjoy watching movies so the gameplay decisions never really meaned much.
True Cinematic Experience

Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?

Aerosteam:
Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?

Depends on what the contract with the publisher is.

There have been many cases where developers' post-release bonus payout is dependent on metacritic scores. So if getting below 85 would've meant they didn't get that huge-chunk of post-release bonus money, it may well have been considered a total flop by the dev team themselves even if the rest of the world wouldn't really think of it like that.

Areloch:

Aerosteam:
Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?

Depends on what the contract with the publisher is.

There have been many cases where developers' post-release bonus payout is dependent on metacritic scores. So if getting below 85 would've meant they didn't get that huge-chunk of post-release bonus money, it may well have been considered a total flop by the dev team themselves even if the rest of the world wouldn't really think of it like that.

Yup, I remember something about Obsidian and New Vegas with that.

Suddenly I'm reminded of how ridiculous publisher's expectations are a lot of the time.

Aerosteam:

Areloch:

Aerosteam:
Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?

Depends on what the contract with the publisher is.

There have been many cases where developers' post-release bonus payout is dependent on metacritic scores. So if getting below 85 would've meant they didn't get that huge-chunk of post-release bonus money, it may well have been considered a total flop by the dev team themselves even if the rest of the world wouldn't really think of it like that.

Yup, I remember something about Obsidian and New Vegas with that.

Suddenly I'm reminded of how ridiculous publisher's expectations are a lot of the time.

Yeah, it can be a pretty crappy deal for the devs sometimes. Fortunately, it worked out for them this time.

I cannot fathom for a second that this is in any way believable. Even if the gameplay was arse, the story and it's presentation was the big draw for people. Well, the story and Ellie, the female character of prominence.

Though honestly even if the gameplay was bad, it still wouldn't have been as bad as Uncharted 2.

They expected it to tank the same way one hopes for the best but expects the worst in any situation.

Never underestimate the ability of the paying public to wholeheartedly buy into schmaltz.

Naughty Dog, a company who build a name for themselves ever since they made Crash Bandicoot, a company that have made a huge streak of success since Crash, thought TLoU wasn't gonna do well?

Damn this really is a surprise.

I'm glad the aftermath proved them wrong.

"We thought we were going to ruin the image of naughty dog that's been carefully built over the years."

And yet this is the game that redeemed the company for me. I hated Uncharted, and lost all interest in the developer. The Last of Us showed me that they still had talent. Hopefully they can keep the momentum.

Evonisia:
I cannot fathom for a second that this is in any way believable. Even if the gameplay was arse, the story and it's presentation was the big draw for people. Well, the story and Ellie, the female character of prominence.

Though honestly even if the gameplay was bad, it still wouldn't have been as bad as Uncharted 2.

Seconded on the presentation bit. How on earth has no game ever done an intro like that before? It set the game up so well! You saw the earth shattering disaster going on through the eyes of child that just woke up in the middle of the night to find everything falling apart! It was better lead in than most movies have!

Fox12:
"We thought we were going to ruin the image of naughty dog that's been carefully built over the years."

And yet this is the game that redeemed the company for me. I hated Uncharted, and lost all interest in the developer. The Last of Us showed me that they still had talent. Hopefully they can keep the momentum.

Same here. They seemed to have lost all concepts of originality and fun with Uncharted.

I've played naughty dog games for a long time.
Even have an old cartridge of "rings of power" somewhere on a shelf.
They're a good company and they produce entertaining games.
It's nice to know they're bold enough to take a chance on something too sometimes.

The Naughty Dog games are one of the few reasons I regret getting a Xbox360 over a PS3.

I wonder what wasn't working in the beginning that made them so worried.

I can't imagine the finished product is what they thought was going to tank. The game play isn't ground breaking but it works just fine when you've got such a great story. This isn't some tiny developer that's never worked on something; this is Sony's flagship when it comes to why you should buy a Playstation over a Xbox...

I kind of wish he'd have gone into more detail over what wasn't working because that sounds like it could be neat to learn about.

josemlopes:
The playstation audience does seem to enjoy watching movies so the gameplay decisions never really meaned much.
True Cinematic Experience

I game exclusively on the PS and have yet to play through a single "movie".

StewShearer:
"I thought, 'We'll be lucky to scrape by with an 85 Metacritic.'

ohhhhhhhhhhhhh nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Somehow, I'm reminded of "Tomb Raider sold millions of copies and outsold every other installment in the series, what a flop".

StewShearer:

Their worries, according to Newman, stemmed from "mechanical" problems the game's team kept running into during its development process. "I thought, 'We'll be lucky to scrape by with an 85 Metacritic.'

And here they provide you all the eveidence you need that they dont know what word "Tank" means.

josemlopes:
The playstation audience does seem to enjoy watching movies so the gameplay decisions never really meaned much.
True Cinematic Experience

You can see this is not a movie because at one point the chasing car teleports, and movies have better standards than that.

I'm sure every developer that makes a new IP is absolutely terrified that it's going to fail, especially in the current market. Even if you have a juggernaut like Sony marketing it, new IP's make people anxious to spend their money.

It's also a bit cute of them to admit this now that they know how succesful the game is. I wonder if they would've said the same had the game actually failed.

Aerosteam:
Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?

I'm pretty sure in gaming terms, an 85 is like an F. Worse, an F minus. And F minus Minus. A M, or a Q even.

lacktheknack:

Somehow, I'm reminded of "Tomb Raider sold millions of copies and outsold every other installment in the series, what a flop".

I think that was more scapegoating. Didn't their FF sales suck or something?

Strazdas:

And here they provide you all the eveidence you need that they dont know what word "Tank" means.

Or they have an awareness of how video games are treated. 9/10 has been a "bad" score for a couple years now, at least with major releases.

Aerosteam:

Areloch:

Aerosteam:
Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?

Depends on what the contract with the publisher is.

There have been many cases where developers' post-release bonus payout is dependent on metacritic scores. So if getting below 85 would've meant they didn't get that huge-chunk of post-release bonus money, it may well have been considered a total flop by the dev team themselves even if the rest of the world wouldn't really think of it like that.

Yup, I remember something about Obsidian and New Vegas with that.

Suddenly I'm reminded of how ridiculous publisher's expectations are a lot of the time.

Yet New Vegas is the only example ever used and after that, publicised example, any dev studio that agrees to such stupid terms, doesn't deserve to get paid. Publishers can tank a score, much easier than a dev can, just by setting an immovable release date. Look at Skyrim's Marketing led date of 11/11/11, that was never going to be changed, no matter what the quality of the game was.

Zachary Amaranth:

Aerosteam:
Getting below 85 on Metacritic means the game tanked?

I'm pretty sure in gaming terms, an 85 is like an F. Worse, an F minus. And F minus Minus. A M, or a Q even.

lacktheknack:

Somehow, I'm reminded of "Tomb Raider sold millions of copies and outsold every other installment in the series, what a flop".

I think that was more scapegoating. Didn't their FF sales suck or something?

Strazdas:

And here they provide you all the eveidence you need that they dont know what word "Tank" means.

Or they have an awareness of how video games are treated. 9/10 has been a "bad" score for a couple years now, at least with major releases.

All the evidence you need on why any numerical scoring system is stupid and pointless. Nothing as complex as a games, quality, style and gameplay, can be described by a single number. Worse, nobody uses the same criteria to reach their number.
Metacritic "averages" said numbers, based on a secret formula. It's the worst of them all, as it's criteria are a mystery.

This is most clearly shown by the recent Arkham Knight Scores
63% from reviewers, they assess a game in isolated features and give an averaged score, obscuring each specific issues impact.
16% from users who assess the entire package on it's release condition, where one bad feature will drag the entire score down.

Reviwers scores obscure individual issues in favour of a "fairer" overall score. A when it's patched, score for all time approach.
Users scores are all about, can it be even run on my PC as it's released. Purely and simply a release day condition judgement.

Both approaches have merit, but the simple fact is that Metacritic, by showing both, is admitting a single score can never define any game, not even as a quick summary.

Zachary Amaranth:

Strazdas:

And here they provide you all the eveidence you need that they dont know what word "Tank" means.

Or they have an awareness of how video games are treated. 9/10 has been a "bad" score for a couple years now, at least with major releases.

As much as i find this image entertaining, you have to admit that a metacritic score of 85 is far from being "bad" score. For example other games with Metascore of 85:
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
The Talos Principle
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
Hotline Miami
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition
Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms
The Walking Dead

all critically acclaimed games that were highly successful and some even considered best in their genre.

I like to think that right up until the moment of release, there was one diehard pessimist constantly moaning that all their non-Crash Bandicoot projects were a total waste of time and money, and that the future of gaming needed TNT crate platforming.

Also: 'We'll be lucky to scrape by with an 85 Metacritic.'

I know modern stupidity has stripped everything that isn't a 100% cured-Cancer perfect score of all meaning, but come the fuck on! This is like complaining that you'll just barely make a "Excellent!" grade!

Uhuru N'Uru:
All the evidence you need on why any numerical scoring system is stupid and pointless.

You know, this level of problem does not exist for any other form of entertainment media, so I don't think it's the numerical system that's the problem.

It's like watching a drunk driver careen into a busy intersection and saying "this is the problem with anti-lock brakes."

Strazdas:

As much as i find this image entertaining, you have to admit that a metacritic score of 85 is far from being "bad" score.

Depends on who you're dealing with. Gamers? Not so much. Everyone else? Apparently.

I mean, you try and give counter examples, but all those games I followed except Hotline Miami had people raging about how awful the scores they were getting were. And HM is still indie, so it's not the same standard as is applied to the majors. I can't believe you're unfamiliar with this in action.

Zachary Amaranth:

Uhuru N'Uru:
All the evidence you need on why any numerical scoring system is stupid and pointless.

You know, this level of problem does not exist for any other form of entertainment media, so I don't think it's the numerical system that's the problem.

It's like watching a drunk driver careen into a busy intersection and saying "this is the problem with anti-lock brakes."

Except no other media has numerical scores, linked to reviews. Movies don't get rated by number scores, it's widely accepted that it doesn't give any indication of comparative worth. Yet games which are even more varied than movies get numbered. It's a meaningless exercise and the fact publishers tend to rely on it, is just an admission they know nothing at all about games.

It's like after every E3 theres a spate of who won posts and vids. It's not a competition, no one can win it, never are actual finished games shown publicly if at all. Even things like Game of the Year are subjective and have no relation to the scores they got.

Well that explains why it kind of played like ass.

Lots of people loved the story enough for that not to matter, though. There's a lesson to be learned from this, somewhere.

Zachary Amaranth:

Strazdas:

As much as i find this image entertaining, you have to admit that a metacritic score of 85 is far from being "bad" score.

Depends on who you're dealing with. Gamers? Not so much. Everyone else? Apparently.

I mean, you try and give counter examples, but all those games I followed except Hotline Miami had people raging about how awful the scores they were getting were. And HM is still indie, so it's not the same standard as is applied to the majors. I can't believe you're unfamiliar with this in action.

There will always be fans who think their game should be 100 and not a single point less. Hardly an argument for these games being unpopular or bad. Im familiar with this, i just think it proves the exact opposite of what you claim. If people are complaining about the game not being rated high enough, this means that it is worth more, meaning they think its a great game, thus proving me saying that great games get 85 ratings.

85 is far more important on steam than metacritic anyway. On steam after 85% approval rate you get the "overwhelmingly positive" ranking (as opposed to "possitive" before that) and that was shown to significantly increase sales. But Naughty Dog hardly has to worry about steam.

Uhuru N'Uru:

Except no other media has numerical scores, linked to reviews.

Except movies and music. And hell, even in music reviews, where I was "encouraged" to be positive about music I didn't like or see any worth in, a 3/5 was an acceptable score.

Movies don't get rated by number scores, it's widely accepted that it doesn't give any indication of comparative worth. Yet games which are even more varied than movies get numbered. It's a meaningless exercise and the fact publishers tend to rely on it, is just an admission they know nothing at all about games.

That gamers and the games industry take it as an indication of comparative worth goes right back to what I said: this has nothing to do with the scores and everything to do with the people receiving them. Publishers likely wouldn't take such a heavy interest in scores if gamers didn't take them so damn seriously in the first place. The ties to metacritic scores post-dates score inflation by years and years, and for the most part post-dates Metacritic as a general rule. That it's specific to gaming seems to have more to do with gaming culture.

And honestly, I can't help but see this as a reflection of the exact same attitude that leads gamers to throw large, site-wide tantrums when a critic doesn't like the game they like.

- Famous Voice Actor(s)
- Uncharted Game play
- An Oscar Bait Story which tried to be deep but fell on its face.
- "Expected to Tank"

Riighhhhht, stop being so self-congratulatory Naughty Dog.

Not a surprise about the rating thing. Gaming fans are much like wrestling fans. If a game gets a "bad score" or a wrestler loses one match they are "buried" in a lot of people's mind.

 

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