Co-writer Halley Gross talks about the process of deciding what content would best suit the game’s overall tone.
Naughty Dog are taking the “go big or go home” mantra to heart with the upcoming The Last of Us Part 2. At about 25-30 hours long, the upcoming sequel is primed to become the biggest and most ambitious game the venerated studio has ever made (which, looking at their track record, is saying a lot). But, as it turns out, if things had gone a little differently during development, The Last of Us Part 2 could have ended up being a much longer game than it already is.
Speaking in an interview with Sector, the game’s co-writer Halley Gross that during development, Naughty Dog had to cut out “a lot” of content from the game, which she says one of the hardest things the studio had to do during the long process. Gross explained that creative director Neil Druckmann was in charge of all of those decisions, and whether or not something would end up being in the final game would depend on how well it fit within the largest, cohesive experience.
“We have a huge studio with a lot of talented people who have great ideas, and we had to choose which ones would stay in the game and fit into the story and which would deviate from it,” Gross said. “In the end, it all had to match the topic. Neil was in charge of it all – whether it corresponded to the theme in terms of storytelling, artificial intelligence behavior, or the artistic side. Everything had to correspond to the central theme. The hardest part was cutting out the content, as there were a lot of things that didn’t make it into the final game.”
Game development is, of course, an iterative process, and content and ideas getting cut out from games during production is a very common occurrence. Still, it might be interesting to some day get hands on details about what sort of stuff Naughty Dog didn’t deem fitting for the game before cutting it out.
The Last of Us Part 2 releases for the PS4 on June 19.