The Last of Us Part 2 developer Naughty Dog is more decorated teams in the business. But just because it is a highly esteemed studio doesn’t mean its developers aren’t paying attention to competition. A few of the Naughty Dogs recently discussed their friendly competition with other Sony first-party studios.
In an interview with Weekly Famitsu (via Twinfinite) Naughty Dog’s John Sweeney and Arne Meyer discussed the topic. Sweeney is an art director at Naughty Dog, while Meyer is director of communications at the Sony-owned developer. When asked whether they’re playing other studios’ games, both responded positively. Meyer added that it often makes him and the rest of the team realize new possibilities for The Last of Us Part 2. Sony published titles like God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Marvel’s Spider-Man were all listed as games the team looked to for inspiration.
The two were also asked whether there was a sense of rivalry at Sony’s first-party studios. Meyer described the competition as cooperative, friendly rather than as a rivalry. Sweeney explained that new games set hurdles and expectations that Naughty Dog want to overcome.
Due to the cooperative nature of Sony’s first-party studios, there is also a level of shared information between developers. Meyer explained that developers often reach out to one another asking “how did you do this?” about different things, and will learn new techniques for their games.
Naughty Dog, one of Sony’s wholly owned development studios, is also home to the “ICE” Team. ICE initially stood for “Initiative for a Common Engine” but now works on creating core graphics technologies for Sony-published titles. The ICE Team was particularly important during the PS3 era, when the Cell processor and RSX graphics unit were confounding to many third-party developers.
Sony studios have had a long history of collaboration of technology, dating back to the early 2000s. Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games (which is still an independent studio) shared some technologies between their game engines for Jak and Daxter and the Ratchet and Clank games on the PS2. Guerrilla Games shared its Decima (which was the engine used for Horizon: Zero Dawn) with Kojima Productions on their Sony-published Death Stranding.
The Last of Us Part 2 was revealed in December 2016 at PSX. A long gameplay trailer kicked off Sony’s E3 2018 show, but Naughty Dog has since been rather quiet about the game. Director Neil Druckmann recently tweeted a photo of the most “heart-wrenching” scene from the game. Rumors have swirled that the game will release in 2019, although the game still has no confirmed release date.