The Last of Us Developers Talk Movie Influences and Storytelling

Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, the minds behind The Last of Us, discuss the art of storytelling, character creation, and how movies like Finding Nemo inspired them.

Jeremy Jayne on Google+

Discussion

54 comments
jackkan82
jackkan82

About 9:20 in the video, I love how the two creators crack a subtle smile when Tom is babbling on about how he hates Joel because he's a "bad father/guy" and looooves Ellie because she's a "beacon of hope/awesome."


They're probably thinking, "Seriously?  This is the kind of guy they let review our game? He should just go play My Little Ponies or something.."

Bifcake
Bifcake

Great vid.


I can't be the only who to think this is simply a really great game, but no masterpiece.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

For all intents and purposes, they are zombies. Disease is spread through biting; infection takes over body and mind; stumbling and moaning though hallways looking for next victim; require headshots to take them out efficiently. So much bitching and moaning over semantics when honestly, these infected act JUST like zombies.

PaulSabian
PaulSabian

Dat's him dat's the 8.0 guy. i recagnaiz his face dat fat kaksaka gave ma game 8.0 uhhh.

nok dat shit tom never ever fuk with naughty dogs kid.

oh it's INFECTED not ZOMBIES tom 

ojmstr
ojmstr

I have been playing videogames since i was 4 years old and now im 34 and i must say this game is the most perfect and most well thought out game i have ever played in my whole life. Actually i can`t even call it a game, It`s a masterpiece. 


The multiplayer is pretty damn good as well. Here is a video of me and a buddy of mine playing the multiplayer for those of you who enjoy multiplayer shooters or are just big fans of The Last Of Us > >


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exoFp_w3TYM  


Thank you Naughty Dog. Can`t wait to play Left Behind tonight after my daughter has fallen to sleep. Btw from my point of view, i totally inderstand Joel, i would do the same thing after all that bs he went through.     

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

I like how he's praising the game all of a sudden because he's in the presence of the two directors.

at129907
at129907

Not only are these guys great developers, but they have great taste!

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

I'm such a massive fan of this game, and every time I remember Gamespot gave it a 8/10, I completely lock up and want to leave the site.

Nice work, Tom, way to bring your personal issues into a game review.  Sorry your issues with Joel got in the way of you performing an objective review.

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

oh god. Why are they being interviewed by the 8.0 guy? They must want to claw his eyes out.

rIVAL_sWORD84
rIVAL_sWORD84

this game had some similarities with the movie "The Road". Excellent movie if you like novels.

HowlPendragon
HowlPendragon

 I love how he had to be corrected on his very first question: "infected"

Yep, totally justified 8/10 review

HowlPendragon
HowlPendragon

I love how he had to be corrected on his very first question: "infected"

Yep, totally justified 8/10 review

RG923
RG923

I don't think Tom is altogether wrong in his reading of Joel. Druckmann admitted ambiguity was the goal, and you can't look at that final section of the game and not wonder, to some degree, who was right and who was wrong. All of the violence in the game is deliberately graphic and extreme, and we do see Joel commit actions that, even in the context of that world, can come off as morally questionable.

At least give Tom credit for acknowledging on some level that his feelings towards Joel partially stem from his own background. That's a lot more than I can say for many, who no doubt simply attack and dismiss and never think about why they do so.

MattyTheButcher
MattyTheButcher

Tom you gave it the lowest review around. I believe a quote was "not enough disney characters." I enjoy your articles and videos on gamespot, but why are you the person interviewing them. This is literally going to start flaming on the comments section.

mamey2001
mamey2001

This is one of the best interviews of these two developers/creators that I've seen. I really appreciate the fact that they develop these types of story driven games. When it's done right, like the Uncharted series and The Last of Us, it really reinvigorates my passion for games. Thanks Naughty Dog.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

i never saw joel is a despicable character who i couldn't relate to. to me, he always came across as a man who has lost everything and carries on living, not because he wants to, but because he has to. he has lost all faith in humanity and will do whatever it takes to survive. yes, he is a bit selfish at the end, but many people would have done the same thing, including myself, if i were in the same situation. he is a noble person who has been warped by what he has lived through. 

Afinati
Afinati

Great interview; looking forward to Left Behind tomorrow. :)

Dieknochenblume
Dieknochenblume

You can tell they felt uncomfortable with Tom's questions and some of his personal opinions. They tried to answer as best as possible but it was kind of awkward. 

At least now there's more explanation behind Tom's score of 8.0 for TLOU, as he mentioned he just couldn't connect, understand and accept characters' decisions throughout the game.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

Thank you for this beautiful game XD

platinumking320
platinumking320

I guess its diffrent for others, but I don't think it's weird that we inhabit protagonists that can make us uncomfortable.

 After being exposed to the Micheal Corleones, Don Drapers, Walter Whites or...Jerry Lundegards of the world. This ambiguity should be familiar territory whether in a film, book or a game.

' You don't have to like these people, but you're not allowed to not understand them.'

Sushiglutton
Sushiglutton

Really enjoyed this intervies, would love to see more stuff like this :)!

jecomans
jecomans

From the reviewer who probably gave the game the lowest score around, this is likely the most interesting and probing interview I've seen with Straley and Druckmann. 

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

OMFG ... Tom mcshea .... how embarrasing ........

NTM23
NTM23

Alright, now I'm watching this. How come the footage of the game is old? That's weird. Tom actually almost said Left 4 Dead... I don't care about bringing up Tom's review, or his views on it, but still, it seems like there were a few times in there where they looked like they were thinking "What are you talking about man?" I just feel like for some reason, the messages the game was trying to convey didn't come across to Tom. Alright, sorry. It doesn't necessarily bother me to a large degree, it's just that it kind of astonishes me that anyone could see something so drastically different in the game, not only from myself and so many others, but what I feel was what was intended to be perceived throughout it.

Raizak
Raizak

Great interview! Some really good advice for writers including myself. Looking forward to Naughty Dog's next masterpiece.

cryofax
cryofax

Last of Us is overrated. Great visuals, story, characters etc. In the cutscenes. The gameplay is just one canned sequence after another and repetitive. So if you like a mediocre game sandwiched between an amazing "movie" this is for you. If you want a game that makes you feel like you're actually in control of anything going on in the story, take a pass.

jlird808
jlird808

@jackkan82  OMFG so true.


Mcshea should be removed from the video game industry. He seems like a total P*SSY too LMFAO!! >:)

Afinati
Afinati

If anything, Tom's been consistent throughout livestreams, his review, and this video when talking about how he felt about TLoU. I came to different conclusions about the game, and every time I catch him talking about it, I'm a bit disconcerted because his experience with the game is definitely not my own. But I respect him more for it, even if I don't agree with him.

Solidny
Solidny

@PSdual_wielder  He did say that he doesn't like Joel though. People, come on, he gave it an 8, not a fucking 4.

Giancarlo
Giancarlo moderator

Reviews are inherently not objective. One person cannot single-handedly define what is good or bad in entertainment for everyone else. Why do you think sites like Metacritic/Rotten Tomatoes are so popular? 

Thyasianman
Thyasianman

@rIVAL_sWORD84  Oh yeah, they definitely gained influence from movies of all types. It's an interesting trend that's extremely noticeable from Rockstar and Naughty Dog. Rockstar obviously built their games off of Scarface, Godfather, Boyz N the Hood(I think?), Goodfellas etc. Then Naughty Dog drawing off No Country for Old Men, The Road, and probably a lot more. It's a great thing to draw little inspiration from movies because there's usually some great writing in these films. 

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

@HowlPendragon  Perhaps the devs should be giving reviewers (and interviewers) scores, too?


3/10, dude, 3/10.  Because... INFECTED.

jjaynecbsint
jjaynecbsint staff

@mamey2001  Glad you enjoyed it! We'll be putting out the 2nd part of this interview, which focuses primarily on the new DLC, at some point next week

Thyasianman
Thyasianman

@Xristophoros  He wasn't a bit selfish, he was really selfish. This is coming from a person who doesn't completely despise Joel, but I see that his actions throughout the whole game are surprisingly cynical and evil, at times. I say he isn't just a bit selfish, but full of selfishness because of two reasons: 1) He possibly stopped a cure for the whole world to be ridden of the infection just because of his selfishness. 2) He did all of this without thinking about Ellie's feelings and those feelings were that she was fine with what they were going to do. 

tomelus
tomelus

@Xristophoros
I agree.  Joel is a man who has been forced to make extreme choices.  Some you may agree with.  Others maybe not.  At it's core I see Joel's story as a second chance to be a father and to do whatever he has to to not have history repeat itself. 

Thyasianman
Thyasianman

@Dieknochenblume   I don't think you correctly took in the interview. The devs specifically said they tried to make it as ambiguous as they could, so that the player could understand and analyze the actions in the game for themselves. They even cited references such as No Country for Old Men for some of their inspiration in developing this said ambiguity. It's a game that depending on who you are, you'll have different feelings from the actions you see in the game. 


Understanding and accepting is  different than connecting. It was obvious he could connect with the characters, as he even said he connected the cannibal because he had a certain feeling of empathy towards him even though he was obviously an evil man. He also connected with Joel as well, just not in the best friend kind of way. He said he didn't approve of any of Joel's actions, and this was because of Tom's personal life that he couldn't approve of these actions.

jjaynecbsint
jjaynecbsint staff

@Sushiglutton  Your appreciation is appreciated! I fear this kind of content will be buried under Titanfall buzz, but these two are immensely talented and, as a huge fan of The Last of Us, creating this piece was a real labor of love. 

naruto945
naruto945

@NTM23  you put a man in a position where he feels like his opinion really matters to a large group and hes bound to say a few stupid things

Blumper
Blumper

@NTM23 Yeah, it's a bit jaw-dropping, and I thought so when I read his review, too. I think it started with a fundamental misreading of the Joel character and just snowballed from there.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

@Giancarlo  True, a review judging any form of art (a book, a movie, or a game) relies upon the reviewer's opinion.

Which is why my own, divergent opinion fuels a desire to leave this site when I see TLoU get a 8.0.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@Thyasianman good points. it totally depends on how you perceive the world in the game and in what perspective you are seeing it from. there are two scenarios that would define if his act was selfish or unselfish:


1. if there was still hope in the world but he prevented the rebuilding of the population just because he didn't want to give up ellie  (because he just couldn't bare to live without her and didn't want to lose a second "daughter"), then yes, it is selfish of him.


2. the second scenario is that there i no hope left in the world. to joel, the world and its inhabitants are just so corrupt and disgusting, that it isn't worth saving. it would be a waste to give up ellie just to rebuild a world that will destroy itself again anyways. they would be better off making the most of their situation as is and allow ellie to live a full life since there is too late to save in the first place.


i believe joel looks at it from the second point of view. whether or not you agree is totally subjective, but he made the right choice if he is in this mind set.   

bleedgreen2-1-5
bleedgreen2-1-5

@Thyasianman @Xristophoros  But did the Fireflies let her know that the operation would kill her? I totally agree either way that it was a very selfish choice. I like Joel as a character a lot though, I can see why he does what he does and in the same circumstances I think I'd do the same. 

Dieknochenblume
Dieknochenblume

@Thyasianman @Dieknochenblume Yeah, I think I got it. I said he didn't do all of those things (understand, approve AND connect) at the same time and that's what confused him. Thing is, he didn't need to do it. The devs did say it was on purpose. Either way, I should've added "altogether" in there to make it clearer. 

I still think that Tom saw this ambiguity as something peculiar he had to grasp instead of something being obviously done on purpose as the core of the narrative. That's why I believe Tom scored it lower because he might've seen a half-empty glass instead of a half-full one in respect to the dev's original plans. 

For example, despite liking the game being "grounded" on reality, Tom mentioned feeling uncomfortable with some of the character's decisions because he just couldn't see himself doing that, and the devs were like "Yes... that was the plan. They ARE grounded characters, just pushed to limit by their environment. You know, precisely what science fiction does for narratives...". I just didn't perceive them on the same wavelength, with no offense to either party.

pgharavi
pgharavi

@Blumper @NTM23  You can tell the interviewer is projecting his own issues onto the game.  It's funny how the interview ended w/ No Country For Old Men bcs that's precisely what I was thinking of (and There Will Be Blood) when McShea goes off on not liking or enjoying the characters and not liking their decisions.


There's a solid minute towards the latter half of the video where McShea almost makes the interview about himself.

Thyasianman
Thyasianman

@Xristophoros @Thyasianman  Nice second point, I completely didn't think of it at all like that. And that's the thing with this game, it totally depends on how you think about it. Like the devs said, they try and make it ambiguous, so the player decides certain things like that for themselves.

That being said, I think if Joel was looking at it from the second perspective, then his decision wouldn't have been as selfish as it would've been from perspective 1. Do I think he thought like that? Kind of now that you brought it up, but actually, it doesn't change anything for me on whether or not his action was selfish or not. Now there's just a "better" justification for what he did.

Saying there's no hope would be wrong because he sees a certain hope. I would say the most beautiful scene in the whole game is the part where Ellie sees the giraffes. This scene is 100% hope. Joel sees this too, he sees the hope on her face. She represents the future of all generations if there is a cure for the infection. There could be so many more people in the world appreciating a world without infection, just like Ellie experienced in that minute. That minute made life worth living for her, and that's why she would've gave her life up for a cure, so others could experience the exact same feelings as her.

So this either means Joel doesn't believe in hope, but then he'd be in denial because he saw it first hand. Or he believes in hope, and he's just too damned selfish to let go someone to fill his void in his heart.

naruto945
naruto945

@bleedgreen2-1-5 @Thyasianman @Xristophoros  not saying you wouldnt want to do the same just implying you wouldnt fight thru twenty something dudes all armed with machine guns and whatnot im sure youd feel bad about it as they cut into her skull tho