Naughty Dog co-game director Anthony Newman recently tweeted that his studio is hiring help to “close out” what looks to be The Last of Us Part 2. Given this, there’s a good chance that the company has already begun developing its next project. The following are a few endeavors that the developer could take on after it’s completed work on Ellie and Joel’s latest adventure.
Future Naughty Dog Games | The Last of Us 3
The Last of Us‘ original installment has performed phenomenally well sales-wise across PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. As of June 2018, the property sold over 17 million copies, making it one of the best-selling PlayStation exclusive franchises ever. Though many fans would argue that the first game ended perfectly and didn’t warrant a follow-up, it should come as no surprise that Naughty Dog is crafting a sequel set in this popular, critically acclaimed universe.
Seeing as how the sequel won Most Wanted Game at the 2017 Golden Joystick Awards and Most Anticipated Game at the 2017 Game Awards, there’s a strong possibility that it will sell just as well as its predecessor. Should this turn out to be true, it would incentivize Naughty Dog to make yet another sequel, thus rounding out the property with three mainline entries as it’s done in the past with Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter. The studio could go on to make a fourth entry after it’s done with the next iteration, or just make that kart racing Uncharted spin-off fans have been clamoring for.
Future Naughty Dog Games | Another Uncharted spin-off
Although Nathan Drake’s voice actor, Nolan North, recently stated in an interview that Naughty Dog doesn’t plan on returning to the franchise anytime soon, the company may change its mind once work on The Last of Us 2 is completed. Uncharted‘s main difference from The Last of Us is that it’s much more lighthearted. But that seems unlikely given how Naughty Dog usually moves on from its franchises.
But that doesn’t mean it would be Uncharted 5, but another spin-off. The transition wouldn’t be too drastic, seeing as how Uncharted 4 released three years ago and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy released in 2017. Judging from what we’ve witnessed so far, The Last of Us 2 and the franchise share a lot of gameplay mechanics too.
Lost Legacy Creative Director Shaun Escayg did state that Naughty Dog isn’t afraid of exploring the property again in the future. Whether this means, we’ll play more as Chloe and Nadine or get a glimpse of Sully and Sam’s treasure hunting adventures is unknown, though leaving the doors open is certainly a good thing.
Future Naughty Dog Games | Jak 4
Naughty Dog began throwing around ideas for Jak 4 back in 2006. According the studio’s official art book, the company had tried to revitalize the franchise through a “linear story-telling approach” but ultimately opted to craft a completely new IP called Uncharted.
It revisited Jak in 2010, this time attempting to give the property a “more realistic, more contemporary approach.” The developer decided against it once again, however, because “there were already so many firmly established relationships, character personalities, and character motivations.” It became difficult for the project’s staff to “feel engaged,” so Naughty Dog went on to craft The Last of Us instead.
It would be interesting for Naughty Dog to return to Jak 4 with all the technical knowledge it’s gained from working on other franchises. An open-world entry that links Haven City, Spargus, and the Brink together would be a treat for fans, especially if Jak has access to his signature hoverboard. Kras City could even be included in case anyone feels nostalgic for Jak X.
Jak 4 may be a noteworthy endeavor if the studio ever wants to flex its creativity. Given how the property is “never off the table” according to community strategist Arne Meyer, there’s hope that the company will come back to Jak after The Last of Us 2 is complete.
Future Naughty Dog Games | Savage Starlight/New sci-fi IP
Of course, Naughty Dog could always invent an IP built with the next generation of consoles in mind, similarly to how it crafted the Jak series for the PlayStation 2 and Uncharted for PlayStation 3. Fans have asked the developer for a title based on The Last of Us‘ in-universe comic, Savage Starlight, for quite some time, so it may finally give in to their requests soon. Having the studio explore sci-fi elements outside of fungal threats could be intriguing given its technical know-how and reputation for quality narrative-driven games.
The studio did admit that it had explored ideas for an original sci-fi title when it started making software for the PlayStation 3. The game would have been centered around a city built up around a giant hole. Players would explore the depths of this trench in search of whomever created it. Suffice it to say, this would have made for a unique action adventure romp should the company have stuck with it. There’s still hope that it’ll revisit the idea one day, as the developer doesn’t completely abandon its projects.
Naughty Dog stated in its art book that it aims for all of its endeavors to be the “next big thing in video games.” Whatever it decides to work on next, there’s a good chance that it will stay in line with the studio’s pedigree. As much as Jak fans may want to see their favorite mascot return on PlayStation 5, it’s best that no one limit its creative freedom. We wouldn’t have masterpieces like The Last of Us or Uncharted 2 otherwise.