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Naughty Dog: More Devs Are Pursuing "Better Narratives"

As discussions about the current gender and minority dispute in the world of video games continue, progress is nigh.

At least, that's what Naughty Dog creative director and writer Neil Druckmann believes. In speaking to, Druckmann says that storytelling is getting better, especially in the world of indie gaming:

"As more and more examples come to light, I think more people are pursuing better narratives. And I hope criticism of games and game narratives is becoming more sophisticated. I think before you would have had a hard time talking about tropes and how women are represented in games, or how characters of color are represented in games. But now I'm kind of excited by the discussion and the kind of criticism games are getting."

Druckmann added that "change is going to happen much more rapidly going forward," and those who don't attempt to appeal to new audiences "are going to be left behind." As for big AAA productions, he says a lot of developers don't want to take the risk. After all, if something is working, why not keep doing it? But with more evidence of different types of characters out there, Druckmann said diversity will begin to spread.

"A lot of times in AAA games, people feel like they need to play it safe because there's so many parts of a giant corporation working on a global scale to launch a title that they don't want to take too many risks. But once you have enough evidence to say 'Hey look, this is actually not a risk, this can succeed commercially,' then creativity can flourish and new avenues can be pushed."

Naughty Dog's critically lauded The Last Of Us featured a very realistic female role; the young girl Ellie wasn't sexualized at all, and definitely had a big impact on the narrative. Let's hope we'll see more examples of this in the near future. I greatly desire better writing...

Tags: naughty dog, video games, gaming industry, game characters

9/13/2013 11:21:52 PM John Shepard

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Saturday, September 14, 2013 @ 1:01:48 AM

Capcom's Deep Down is one of those examples which are pursuing a better narrative

Last edited by Kiryu on 9/14/2013 1:02:47 AM

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Saturday, September 14, 2013 @ 9:49:28 AM

It does sound like an interesting narrative, with time travelers using objects. Wouldn't count the chickens before they hatch though, with random(ish) dungeons and a focus online the story might be interesting but not a focal point of the game.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013 @ 4:30:34 AM

eh, a few developers might be pursuing it, and even less actually achieving it, but theres still no where near enough.
id be nice to be able to stop thinking of emotional roller coasters like the last of us and heavy rain as the exceptions, the rarities, and just another part of the norm.
but that aint ever gonna happen.
fact of the matter is most developers just couldent care less.

speaking of ND though, where in the blazing hell is TLOUs DLC!?
i mean come on the games been out for what, 4 months now?
and we STILL know JACK about the DLC!
what are you waiting for, till the end of the year when everyones lost their patients and has traded in the game along with their ps3 for next gen systems?
getting pretty dangerously close now to the holiday rush where people will lose interest in this and just move on to all the new releases.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013 @ 6:39:15 AM

i really hope that more devs take this queue and make beter games with better narrative cos good narrative and gameplay makes for gud games for everyone.cos like i've said a million times before you don't need online or multiplayer(the multiplayer neccessarily split screen is nice) to make a gud game i mean all of us hear know sony games are like this aot and they turn out well like they always have in my opinion.

happy gaming =)

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Saturday, September 14, 2013 @ 9:58:47 AM

I can't think of any indies that are doing this, but they are more innovative in the gameplay arena.

They are probably right about the changes coming fast, the game industry moves much faster than every other entertainment format. The same should be true when approaching the different theories of criticism for games. On the one hand we have to let them be what they are (Just slamming Kojima or Suda 51 as man-babies is too narrow) and on the other hand there are ideas of what a game should be in order to fulfill its goals.

The one thing I disagree with is that developers have to try to appeal to new audiences or be left behind. It's a good thing, TLoU does appeal to people who never looked at a game before, just like Heavy Rain, but if you don't you won't be left behind imo. What you DO need to do is TELL THE PEOPLE what they want instead of letting them tell you via focus group. NOBODY told Rockstar "Hey, we want you to make a western" They just said "Hey, look, we don't care what you think you want. You want a western so here it comes" and RDR was successful. Same with Bioshock, Levine told us what we wanted and he was right. Would the concept have focus tested well among gamers? Not really.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013 @ 11:56:12 AM

Announce a new Naughty Dog game please Neil?

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