The Last Of Us 2's Neil Druckmann Had Message For His Team About "Haters"

Neil Druckmann sent an email to his team after the positive review scores came in, and he ended it with "f**k the haters."

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After the review scores for The Last of Us Part II came in--and they were very good--writer-director Neil Druckmann sent an email to his team to thank them for their hard work. Druckmann has now shared some insight on what he said in the email, including his response to the haters.

Speaking to actor Troy Baker, who plays Joel in the game, Druckmann said he originally wanted to send thank-you texts to every developer, one by one. However, the team's sheer size made that impossible. Instead, he decided to send a message on a larger scale. He ended up using email rather than text.

Druckmann said he was writing a text to art director John Sweeney, with whom he clashed often throughout development, and he began to cry. His reason for crying still isn't clear to him.

"When the reviews hit, he was one of the first people I thought of to text personally. I'm starting to write this text to him, 'Dude, I know we didn't always see eye to eye...' As I'm writing this text, I'm starting to cry, and I couldn't even understand why I'm crying. I realize I can't text everybody on the team--there's just too many people on the team. I just have to write the whole team an email, and I'm not very good at that stuff."

Druckmann said he doesn't remember exactly what he wrote to his team, but it touched on how he was getting too much personal praise when people should understand that making The Last of Us 2 was a team effort. He also told his team that he's never been prouder of any game he's worked on.

He also had a message for the haters. As it turns out, he isn't a big fan of them!

"I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but I'm writing about my fears like I'm getting too much praise and it's not being seen enough as a team project--but this is a Naughty Dog game, in every sense of the word," Druckmann said. "I forget how I ended it, but it was something to the effect of, 'Review scores are cool, but seeing your guys' pride is what I live for.'"

"The reviews were awesome, and it's great to hear people love the game and how much it resonates with them, but nothing comes close to hearing you, or Laura, or John, or any member of the team that has sent me an email since the game has come out to say this is the best game I've ever worked on. F**k the haters. Nothing makes me prouder that I've worked on in my life than this game."

Also in the interview, Druckmann spoke about how he does not focus too much on sales. He only hopes his games can make enough money to convince Sony to allow Naughty Dog to keep doing what it does.

"Our job is not to maximize profits or sales," he said. "The game is selling well, and I don't care. 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. And anything beyond that is just gravy."

For what it's worth, The Last of Us Part II is a gigantic sales success. The game sold more than 4 million copies in its first three days, setting new PlayStation records.

Naughty Dog is now working on The Last of Us Part II's new multiplayer/online mode, while the company is also thinking about what might come next like The Last of Us III or something else.

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Hsnberg

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I am so sick of reading the dribble by all the haters out there. LOU and LOU2 together, as a saga, are landmark achievements and a watershed moment in setting a direction about what games can be in terms of interactive storytelling. That is undeniable. It is also a technological achievement. This is undeniable.

Now I do admit he takes the story and its characters into some redefining directions. Some people don't like that. I admit, its new. A few moments a little awkward. But never done without taste or for gratuitious reasons. Its all table setting for what is the real message of the game, which is to highlight the importance of perspective, and the cost of the cycle of violence.

Its Druckman's story to tell. His characters, and his game. If all of you loser trolls out there hiding in their parents basement get so out bent out of shape that you feel the need to rage about a gay character here, or a non-binary character there, then that is clearly YOUR problem. Its says more about YOU then him. I have no doubt that if you moved through the world and talked to someone face to face everyday instead of through your stupid headsets and mics, you would speak differently.

The game is selling like hotcakes, so it is clearly YOU who are in the minority. Go back to playing Call of Duty 15 and Halo 9. Hey, if you shoot the barrel with your shotgun, it will explode and kill lots of them!

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J_P-

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They were striking peoples youtube channels who were giving the game valid criticism.

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sonic_rareware8

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Neil Druckmann saying "F**k the haters" would definitely be a message to all Nintendo and Sega haters!

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sippio

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He read good reviews because all other opinions we're blocked..

This dude is cancer to all hard working talent @ ND..

*Of course those dudes wont disagree with him or they are at the least fired..

Since this happened we learned the identity of so many rotten people who pretend they are

messiahs.

TLOU2 goes the way of StarWars sequels= Non Canon..

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ilukey40

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Ohh poor Neil will be worried about sales when last of us 3 flops and Sony / naughty dog rolls him out the door!!

You dont burn your fan base with dribble writing call them haters clearly bribe your 10/10 scores among other things and expect to stay in business long ..

Remember bEAware and mass effect what now!!!

I’m surprised that some of these game company’s are so blind to what’s happened when other company’s have stuck to there artistic integrity or whatever bs they spew these days and attack there passionate fan base they simply invite trouble and haters that will hate on and scrutinize there next game for no another reason than just that.


Neil and his list of followers should stfu take the loss / deceitful win the criticisms and try to improve there next project to win back the fan base..

As for the death threats towards devs and voice actors these idiots are just that IDIOTS and should be treated as such and ignored for that very reason!


My advice re skin last of us 2 and spend as little money as possible on last of us 3 because you’ve lost half your fan base for the next last of us game!!

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sippio

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@ilukey40: The list Is sooo deep of how ugly ND/Sony/TroyBaker behaved.

It revealed a very ugly side of Youtube and how they are a private company and there is no freedom of speech this way...

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KahnArtizt

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@sippio: Freedom of speech applies to the government only. Private companies have absolutely no obligation to extend that right to their platforms. They were leaking and discussing stolen information so there was nothing wrong with what they did.

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Goldenageplayer

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I think this article should be more specific... Same for Neil. Pretty sure when you guys say haters. You're not referring to people who didn't like the story, the game play, the lack of multiplayer etc etc... You guys are referring to the culty whacko death threat types who watch too many bad faith actors on youtube or whatever lol.

So yeah... Don't call them haters. Call them mental and in serious need of help!

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KahnArtizt

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@goldenageplayer: Agreed. I have no problem with civil discourse. What the vocal minority did was straight-up disgusting and beyond childish.

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Antarte

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Edited By Antarte

The community of the 'game' isn't divided at all. Everyone agree about what means to destroy a sequel of anything.

It is the community of that 'console' which is divided between normal people, and fanboys which will justify whatever for their brand, as if they were stockholders.

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KahnArtizt

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@Antarte: The problem is that every time I say I loved the game, I get called a shill, liar, sheep, have bad taste in games, deserve to die, sucking Druckmann's d!ck, etc. That's why I don't even bother to discuss the game anymore. I had a blast remotely talking about it in a focus group during the launch week and it was refreshing to discuss it with actual people and not faceless internet trolls.

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sippio

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@Antarte: Amen Dude!!!

Pretend employees who pretend they own stock in said brand..

*These are grown men!! And this is the scary type..

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aross2004

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Game was amazing. Loved every minute of it.

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Ultramarinus

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Ok so he was lying through his teeth on the Gamespot article from last week with closed comments:

"I think you have to create some separation to say, we made this game, we believe in this game, we're proud of this game, now it's out there and it's like whatever reaction people have--whether they like it or not--that's fair,"

Good to know his true feelings without PR spin.

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Theinfmustroll

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@Ultramarinus: Par for the course evidently. Remember when he said that you absolutely didn't have to kill any dogs?

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KahnArtizt

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@Theinfmustroll: Are people still crying about that? No one complained when you had to kill dogs in games in the past like, say, Tomb Raider or Resident Evil.

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Theinfmustroll

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@KahnArtizt: It's not about killing dogs, it's the fact that ND outright lied to everyone.

They said publicly (to assuage the activists) that no, you didn't have to kill any dogs...and then promptly forces the player to stab one in the neck in a QTE, killing it.

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KahnArtizt

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@Theinfmustroll: it’s such a non-issue tho. Is that the hill you’re gonna die on? “They lied about killing a dog”? Please...

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Theinfmustroll

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@KahnArtizt: Does it really matter what they lied about? You may consider it a non issue, but you should not be surprised when people get mad over it. This was no "white lie". They were directly asked and deliberately gave a wrong answer.

Dishonesty is dishonesty and you seem oddly comfortable with it.

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KahnArtizt

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Edited By KahnArtizt

@Theinfmustroll: I don’t have a problem with it because it’s such a pointless thing to complain about. The world is not gonna end because they lied about killing a fake dog by tapping the Square button for 2 seconds.

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Theinfmustroll

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@KahnArtizt: And no one is pretending it will end.

Just don't get your knickers in a twist because people get upset when lied to. It's absurd.

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KahnArtizt

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Edited By KahnArtizt

@Theinfmustroll: if it was something worthwhile, I’d probably get upset. Now if they said “Joel will absolutely not die”, THEN we’d have a problem. If I got upset over every little tiny transgression, I wouldn’t have time to be happy. Have a nice day!

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Pupchu

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Neil Druckmann has become a lolcow

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SystemOverload

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Edited By SystemOverload

PlayStation has heaters? Their fan base loves everything make and the company do no wrong.....

These people who send death threats over something as meaningless as a video game are because they are irrational and don’t live in the real world.

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nintendians

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i'm sure every game has it's haters and lovers.

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KahnArtizt

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@nintendians: Yes, but not every game has haters that send several death threats to ND staff and voice actors.

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nintendians

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@KahnArtizt: that the fans's problem, if it's their game, they can do whatever they like.

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KahnArtizt

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@nintendians: I agree. I loved the game and can’t even understand the train of thought for these morons. They’re gonna get investigated and probably charged with a felony.

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nintendians

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@KahnArtizt: yeah.

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JIMDOG4442002

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@nintendians: Yeah I'm pretty sure as well.

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rawkstar007

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I’m very disappointed in Neil. He’s demonstrating that he cannot distinguish criticism from haters. Are there people who just hate on this game? Of course. He’s also well within his rights to create whatever story he wants. I just fear that he will learn nothing from consumer feedback and won’t make anything truly fantastic anymore as a result. It’s a shame because he’s very talented.

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biggest_loser

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@rawkstar007 said:

I’m very disappointed in Neil. He’s demonstrating that he cannot distinguish criticism from haters. Are there people who just hate on this game? Of course. He’s also well within his rights to create whatever story he wants. I just fear that he will learn nothing from consumer feedback and won’t make anything truly fantastic anymore as a result. It’s a shame because he’s very talented.

Not saying that you did this, but sending death threats to the developers and voice actors is not criticism. Its bullying. Those people are haters.

Also, consumer feedback? Remember when they tried that with The Rise of Skywalker? It was a focus-tested mess and under-performed. I prefer projects that take huge risks like this than pure fan service.

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GleenCross

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@biggest_loser: The reality is that naughty dog copied the hollywood concepts of blockbusters (Uncharted) and the oscar bait (Last of Us). There's nothing risky about it, they just adapted other medias. The original last of us plagiarized the plot of children of men, a proven apocalyptic concept who worked before, so it's a safe bet to use it again on a "narrative driven" videogame. In this sequel, naughty dog doesn't have children of men to plagiarize anymore... So this is the result. Forget the cure, forget the world building, etc.. no, this time we have a pretentious "character study", 2 psychopaths hunting each other... so deep, so complex (as a bonus, they are immune against harm or danger because of blatant plot armor). It's ridiculous and pathetic, the core audience remains as foolish as ever, of course there's a lot of people who didn't fully realized the manipulations of misery porn, others get impressed with the "revenge is bad" cliche, etc.. Ok, you can sell your pretentious garbage to these people. But I got sick of this oscar bait mentality a long time ago, it makes no sense to me why people assume melodrama, misery, depression, etc.. they assume these concepts are more "artistic" than comedy, romance, action, etc.. No, they are just concepts, period. None is better than the other, none is more "artistic" than the other. As a bonus, they use minorities to shield them against criticism. That kid, Lev... such a ridiculous character, poorly writing, literally kid Ellie 2.0, etc.. but if you point out how pathetic this character is, you are a monster racist for doing it so. A bodybuilder female who needs 10k to 12k calories per day... in the freaking apocalypse? Completely nonsensical, but if you criticize this obvious lack of logic, you are doing it so because you are a misogynist, you don't believe a female can get that big, etc, etc.. This game is incredibly toxic and pretentious.

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KahnArtizt

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@gleencross: I can disprove practically everything you said but I just don't have the energy anymore. You likely won't listen to me anyways. Your mind is set. I played it twice and enjoyed it even more the second time (mostly because Survivor is brutally satisfying). You didn't like it. Let's both just move on.

And just so you know, every piece of media has had some part of it taken from a previous work. It's not plagiarism if it just has some similar plot elements. TLOU1 was a lot more like The Road if anything, which ND mentioned up front as a strong inspiration. You could apply that logic to literally any movie ever made, which means that you should theoretically (if your logic is not biased) not be able to enjoy anything at face value.

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MonkeyPorn

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@biggest_loser: Sorry but I must disagree I prefer fan service because that IS Neil Druckman and Naughty Dogs entire job is to create something the fans will like and buy, not go off on some hair brain creative journey that fulfills his every desire.

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KahnArtizt

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@monkeyporn: I'm glad they didn't go the safe route because what we got was great and unique. Playing as Abby was a watershed moment because I did not want to like her but by the end I couldn't help but like her, almost more than Ellie since she went so far off the deep end.

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Laurenriley3332

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@monkeyporn: if you go purely on what fans want, then you will not do anything. Resistance 3 is proof of this. It was a game built for fans of the first game and that sold a lot less than other entries in the series and lower than other first party games. His job was to make a game that was fun and one that will sell. A lot of people liked the game, and it sold well, so he did his job.

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KahnArtizt

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@laurenriley3332: Yeah, I don't know what it was about R3 but I didn't like that game at all. I thought 2 was the best and the MP/coop was the best of its era imo.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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@rawkstar007: when about 60% of ppl like videogame anyway i dont know why he even should take criticism so seriously. if he believes in what he does and makes a good number of people super happy then he does what he does. no one want him trying to please everybody. we have plenty of those "our game is for everybody" and those never succeed better either

though i agree just using the word haters isnt good for his image.

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boshlonavish

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And then he REALLY ended the email with: "Say another word to Jason Schreier or Jim Sterling and your entire families get it!"

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KahnArtizt

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@boshlonavish: All the ND employees said they love working there... except when crunch hits and then its rough. That's nothing surprising. CDPR and Rockstar are the same way.

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RaveNRolla

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"f%ck the haters!"

great words to live by, even outside this particular debate.

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dryerlaw

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Maybe next time people send hate messages or write a downer, they'd realize how much work & mental strain it takes to develop a game.

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