Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann has revealed an interest in the contrasting style of storytelling used in FromSoftware’s Elden Ring, when compared to Naughty Dog games like the Uncharted and The Last of Us.
Speaking in an interview with The Washington Post, Druckmann states that he has been inspired by Elden Ring‘s use of subtle and passive storytelling techniques to help its worldbuilding over a reliance on cutscenes and dialogue.
“I’m more recently intrigued by stuff like Elden Ring and Inside that doesn’t rely as much on traditional narrative to tell its story,” said Druckmann (transcribed by IGN). “Some of the best storytelling in The Last of Us is in the cinematics, but a lot of it is in gameplay, and moving around the space, and understanding the history of a space by just looking at it and examining it. To me, right now, that’s some of the best joy I get out of games that trust their audience to figure things out. [Games] that don’t hold your hand, that’s the stuff I’m really intrigued by going forward.”
Despite this interest, Druckmann doesn’t believe that Naughty Dog will move away from its own style of storytelling any time soon, however. Druckmann still believes that making use of cutscenes and dialogue is an important part of the storytelling toolset game developers can make use of.
“That doesn’t mean we will never have dialogue, or cutscenes, I think those are tools in your toolbox… And I think there’s a way to push that stuff forward, at least for the kind of games we make at Naughty Dog. I’m really intrigued, again, never resting on our laurels and trying something a little bit new, a little bit different, that not everybody’s going to like, but that’s okay. And the stuff that we’re working on now, I can tell you the teams are very excited by the different projects we have at Naughty Dog.”
Druckmann has recently been speaking quite a bit with various publications, likely in the lead up to the release of the TV adaptation of The Last of Us. More recently, he spoke about how The Last of Us was envisioned as “the opposite of Resident Evil“, and how there are still more stories that can be told in The Last of Us.