Even though the pre-release leaks turned some people away from The Last of Us Part 2, it still quickly became one of Sony’s best-selling exclusives, which isn’t much of a surprise given the overwhelming success of the first game. But, while speaking about the financial success of the game, its director, Neil Druckmann, simply said “I don’t care.”
While speaking with Troy Baker, who plays Joel, Druckmann said that sales and making a profit aren’t the responsibility of the developers and that sales numbers, especially when they’re poor, are often used to criticize a game’s development. In this case, though, sales are great, and the only criticism is the game’s narrative, which went in a direction that some players didn’t like.
Druckmann has addressed the game’s critics since it was released almost a month ago, and while the game’s sales point to The Last of Us Part 2 being a great success, all Naughty Dog’s VP is concerned with is being allowed to do it again.
“The game is selling well, and I don’t care,” said Druckmann during his chat with Baker. “Just to talk about sales for a second: I just want to sell enough so we can do it again, so Sony will keep trusting us and giving us the creative freedom to do whatever we need to do. Anything beyond that is just gravy.”
Even if you liked The Last of Us Part 2, it’s hard to argue against the fact that it suffers from some serious pacing issues. Before launch, developers at Naughty Dog said that the sequel will be twice the size of the first game, with a campaign spanning between 25 and 30 hours, but how they went about telling their story in those hours left something to be desired.
In recent years, some of the biggest AAA titles have been criticized for dragging out too long, with Sony Bend’s Days Gone being something that immediately comes to mind when thinking about games that seemingly wouldn’t end. While the same can be said for The Last of Us Part 2, Druckmann said that Sony had nothing to do with padding the game’s length to justify the regular AAA price of $60.
“In my 16-year career at Naughty Dog, marketing has never – not once – given us a creative note to say ‘this should be in the game’ or ‘the game should be this long’ or ‘this short’ or ‘have this feature,’” said Druckmann. “Not once in my entire 16-year career has that happened. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, it just has never happened to us.”
As of right now, aside from those within the company, nobody knows what’s next for Naughty Dog. It could be a new IP, The Last of Us Part 3, or Uncharted 5.