Naughty Dog has been in an Uncharted and The Last Of Us development and release cycle for 15+ years at this stage, and while the quality has been nothing short of stellar. The developer, beginning with 2009’s Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, as widely been considered the industry leader in audio and visual design, narrative, and accessibility. They’re on the top of their game, as has been recently reflected by the incredible critical reception of The Last Of Us Part I. Despite kicking goals with every new release, one question has been beginning to be asked amongst the community – where are the new IPs? Given the decades of dominance, fan appreciation for the team’s work is sky high, but the absence of new IP, combined with the knowledge that the next title, despite being a multiplayer game, is still grounded in The Last of Us‘ universe. So what’s next? Well it seems that potentially Naughty Dog have dropped some teases in The Last Of Us Part I for whatever may be next. It seems like it may be a new IP, and fans are excited.
As shared on Twitter, by the Naughty Dog fan account, Naughty Dog Central, the art suggests that not only is the new game, if these images are in fact representative of what’s next, a new IP, but it may also be a fantasy title, something which we’ve not seen from Naughty Dog in decades
The pieces compiled in the tweets, are no larger than postcard-sized pieces but appear to show fantastical creatures, dragons breathing fire, and a warrior standing in staunch defiance to the dangers of the flame. Could this mean we’re getting a knights and sorcery-style fantasy title from Naughty Dog? We’ll have to wait to find out.
Naughty Dog have a habit of teasing future works in their existing projects. It was in 2011’s Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception where someone on the team had slipped a reference to what would end up being 2013’s The Last Of Us into the bar fight sequence early in the game. A newspaper had been left on the bar’s counter which read, “Scientists still struggling to understand deadly virus.” It was particularly pointed, flew in the face of Uncharted 3‘s tone, and was a particularly detailed asset, but it was one that Naughty Dog had left in there by accident, and then felt forced to keep there, hoping that it wouldn’t be noticed by eagle-eyed fans. Following the revelation of The Last Of Us a mere month after the launch of Uncharted 3, The Last Of Us‘ Creative Director, Neil Druckmann conceded “We should have taken it out.”
Whether it’s a mistake or an intentional tease, or even a misdirection on behalf of Naughty Dog, we’ll all now be keeping a close eye on Naughty Dog activities, in the hopes that we’ll soon be learning about the next core game soon.