The Last of Us

by Rachel Baker on August 3, 2013

There’s a great two part interview on about the PS3 game The Last of Us.  The interview is with the game’s Creative Director and writer, Neil Druckmann.  Part One of the interview discusses character storytelling within video games and Part Two discusses Dark Horse’s The Art of The Last of Us, a companion guide, featuring concept art, character designs and astonishing settings and landscapes; as well as a forthcoming graphic novel prequel, Neil’s influences and what lies ahead for the game and its universe.

I liked this part of the interview – its Druckmann’s answer to the question, “How do you balance design and storytelling?”

You have to know that you are going to create more content than any one player will ever see-but also knowing that there will be nooks and crannies that one player will find that his or her friends do not. There might be a garden that you discover, which kicks off a conversation about “garden gnomes” with Ellie, and you think, “I never would have heard this if I hadn’t stumbled upon this location. And I understand [Ellie] more as a result of that.” It’s a constant struggle, because the more stuff like that you create, the more of a burden you are putting on the team to build. It’s a balance, where you ask yourself, “Is it okay if 30 percent of players find this, if 40 percent of players find it? What if it’s five percent-when is it too little?”

You try to save the really meaty storytelling for the main path, and the further you explore beyond the main path, the more secondary and tertiary the storytelling. But if you do find those layers, I believe you gain a deeper appreciation for the characters and world that we’ve created.

I love the layers more than anything else in a game. A game without layers is not a game that spends too much time in my console. If a game doesn’t let me really understand the character, I’m not into it.

Recently, I saw a commercial for Heroes of CosPlay on the syfy network – one of the girls says “I don’t want to just dress like the character, I want to become the character!” That’s how I feel about games I like to play. I don’t want to just play the game as a wood elf, or a vault dweller, or Laura Croft – I want to BE a wood elf, a vault dweller or Laura Croft. Every game I play and truly enjoy are games where I stumble upon more information about my character or some historical reference that helps to create more of the world I’m playing in. These are the best games EVER!

And…from everything I’ve read and seen, The Last of Us makes me actually Sony Playstation 3 Slim 160GB to the two xbox 360 consoles already in my home.

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