DICE: The Last of Us Part 2 Director Highlights Importance of Story in Games

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via Polygon - "Speaking at DICE this week, The Last of Us game director Neil Druckmann talked about his inspirations for making games with strong narrative appeal.

Interviewed on stage by director Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane), Naughty Dog’s creative director talked about his love of story-based games while growing up.

“I was especially drawn to narrative games, like Monkey Island and the Sierra games,” Druckmann said. “I remember being blown away by Half-Life.”

During the stage session, Druckmann hardly spoke about his current project, The Last of Us Part 2 for PlayStation 4, but he mentioned in passing that the game’s dialog is inspired by the Channel 4/Netflix series The End of the F***ing World."

The DICE Summit wrapped up yesterday and provided this interview with Neil Druckmann. Neil has been with Naughty Dog since the Playstation 2 and is most known for his work with Uncharted and The Last of Us. During the interview he mentioned a question he asked himself and others: "How do we tell better stories in games?" The work that stemmed from that question produced some of the best narrative-driven video games of the past decade.

The man himself: Neil Druckmann

The man himself: Neil Druckmann

Because of my experience with Uncharted and The Last of Us I'm of the belief that Naughty Dog can do no wrong. Sure, you can find little things to gripe about in each of the games but the fact remains they all left a lasting impression on me long after I put the controller down. The same can't be said for a lot of multiplayer-centric games that I've dabbled in. When I'm contemplating purchasing a new game one of the first things I look to is how good is the solo campaign? Is this going to be a game I'm going to want to keep playing? Will there be characters that I'll actually care about? For years now Druckmann and the crew at Naughty Dog have delivered on all those questions consistently. You might even wonder that because of the critical acclaim of Uncharted, Square Enix was pushed to reboot Tomb Raider. 

As someone who has always preferred a thorough and fulfilling solo campaign over multiplayer experiences, reading this interview with Neil was refreshing. It's good to know that there are people in the industry who strive to continually create new and enriching stories. Video games are possibly the best medium to tell an in depth, interactive narrative. The flexibility games have with length allow them to dive into deeper detail than movies. More and more we are seeing Hollywood actors cross over into video games as well. Thanks to people like Neil Druckmann we can expect the focus on character motivation and meaningful storytelling to continue. 

Also, I can't talk about Neil Druckmann without mentioning the highly anticipated The Last of Us Part 2.  He didn't spend much time at all discussing it at DICE but he did leave one little nugget that stuck out to me. Druckmann apparently mentioned the games dialogue is based off of the Netflix series The End of the F***ing World. Having watched the show and enjoyed it very much (still feel so bad for James' dad) I'm curious to see how this would translate into TLOU Part 2. I'm wondering if this will be centered on different characters because the two main characters dynamic in the show is wildly different from Joel and Ellie's. From the trailer we saw at Paris Games Week we know there will be new characters. If I were to guess, the style of dialogue they pulled from the show would center on these new characters. Regardless, I can't wait to get my chance to fend off some more Clickers.

Ellie and the new character shown in the trailer. Speculation is that she's Ellie's mother. I'm on board with that.

Ellie and the new character shown in the trailer. Speculation is that she's Ellie's mother. I'm on board with that.