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Neil Druckmann touts benefits of AI as he teases next Naughty Dog game

Ellie pets a giraffe in The Last of Us Part I.
Naughty Dog

The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann is creating anticipation for developer Naughty Dog’s next project by talking about the technologies the studio wants to innovate with, which include AI.

Druckmann also dropped a quick tease for the studio’s next game, saying it could “redefine mainstream perceptions of gaming.” He continued on to say: “I’ve been lucky to work on several dream projects and am currently excited about a new one, which is perhaps the most thrilling yet.”

In an interview with parent company Sony published on Thursday, Druckmann touted the potential capabilities of AI, saying that it’s going to “revolutionize” how games are made. While he notes there are some “ethical issues we need to address,” he stresses how it could help when developing projects remotely by reducing costs.

“With technologies like AI and the ability to do motion capture right from home, we’re reducing both costs and technical hurdles,” he said. “This evolution is truly empowering creators to bring their visions to life without the traditional obstacles.”

He hasn’t said specifically what technology Naughty Dog is currently using, but he has some ideas for how things like mixed reality could be used to help with motion capture, and how it’ll become easier to move assets from one platform to another. He brings up moving an environment to other media (an example of which could be moving an asset from The Last of Us game into a TV show).

A cross-media strategy has done well for both Sony and Naughty Dog. The Last of Us show was a big hit with audiences and critics and, according to Druckmann in the interview, it did well in appealing to people unfamiliar with video games. He wants to go further and create more immersion for audiences.

“The Last of Us experience at Universal Studios Hollywood was special because it let you touch, smell, and feel, which affects you differently than the games. The ultimate dream is to create experiences that completely encapsulate all your senses,” he said.

Naughty Dog has been teasing its next game for a couple of years with vague announcements and concept art. Last year, Naughty Dog announced that it was working on a new single-player experience. While it had been working on what was called The Last of Us Online, the studio made the decision to stop development in late 2023.

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Carli Velocci
Carli is a technology, culture, and games editor and journalist. They were the Gaming Lead and Copy Chief at Windows Central…
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