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Last Of Us Creative Director Neil Druckmann Says AI Will Push Storytelling Boundaries

Last Of Us Creative Director Neil Druckmann Says AI Will Push Storytelling Boundaries

The Last of Us and Uncharted 4 creative director Neil Druckmann bared his mind on the state of the game industry as well as teased that Naughty Dog’s next game “could redefine mainstream perceptions of gaming”.

Last Of Us Creative Director Neil Druckmann Says AI Will Push Storytelling Boundaries

The interview was shared after Sony’s corporate strategy meeting on Thursday, May 23, 2024, where it also presented its “Creative Entertainment Vision”.  Sony describes its Creative Entertainment Vision as its long-term vision for where it “wants to be in 10 years, with an eye towards future technological advances”.

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In the interview, Druckmann was asked what he thinks about the fusion of storytelling and technology in the next decade. In response to the question, Druckmann said technology is making it easier for people without technical skills to fully bring the ideas in their heads to life.

“We’re seeing this exciting marriage of cutting-edge technology with traditional storytelling that’s pushing us into a future where enhanced fidelity isn’t just about achieving realism, but about broadening the spectrum from highly stylized visuals to ultra-realistic ones,” Druckmann said.

“This broadening of possibilities is fueled by increasingly accessible tools that allow even non-technical people to use their imagination and create worlds and narratives to their heart’s content.”

Last Of Us Creative Director Neil Druckmann Says AI Will Push Storytelling Boundaries

Druckmann fingered AI as an example of a technological tool that is helping people to realize their dreams without the need to have complex technical skills. Although he acknowledged that AI has its problems that must be resolved, he maintained that the technology can be used to expand the possibilities in game development.

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“AI is really going to revolutionize how content is being created, although it does bring up some ethical issues we need to address. With technologies like AI and the ability to do motion capture right from home, we’re reducing both costs and technical hurdles, opening the door for us to take on more adventurous projects and push the boundaries of storytelling in games. This evolution is truly empowering creators to bring their visions to life without the traditional obstacles.”

While there is a consensus that AI can speed up the development process, the resistance to the use of AI tools in game development has always hinged on the possibility that it would replace humans. Others argue that AI tools are trained using the works of artists who never get compensated for it.

Druckmann said the next Naughty Dog title may “redefine mainstream perception of gaming”

Last Of Us Creative Director Neil Druckmann Says AI Will Push Storytelling Boundaries

Last year, Druckmann suggested that Naughty Dog will reveal its next project closer to release than it previously did to avoid the “work-life balance issues” that developers usually face when they announce projects too soon. In the Sony Creative Entertainment Vision interview, he was asked to share personal visions or dreams he wants to see realized.

“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,” he said in response.

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“There’s a growing appreciation for gaming that transcends all age groups, unlike when I was growing up. This shift is highlighted by our venture into television with The Last of Us, which I hoped would bridge the gap between gamers and non-gamers.

“The show’s success has spotlighted gaming, illustrating the rich, immersive experiences it offers. This visibility excites me not only for our current project but for the broader potential of gaming to captivate a global audience. I’m eager to see how this new game resonates, especially following the success of The Last of Us, as it could redefine mainstream perceptions of gaming.”

Druckmann has been cautious about revealing the identity of their next project. However, he once acknowledged that fans want The Last of Us Part 3. Although he confirmed that he has a concept for a third game in the series, he also said that he would like to try something new. Druckmann spoke about it again in the latest Sony interview.

“You have to take risks to find new ideas that connect with audiences, and even though Uncharted was a chart-topping success, it was important for our studio to innovate again with a new franchise like The Last of Us,” he said.

“Many companies would insist on sticking to profitable franchises, but SIE’s culture and philosophy empower us to pursue new ideas. Art requires risk; You can’t engineer perfectly and predict how successful it will be. I’m incredibly thankful that SIE trusts us to leverage our past successes to explore brand new creative avenues.”