Despite Success, Naughty Dog Sees Transition to Next Generation of Consoles as “Terrifying.”By Yannick LeJacq | December 19, 2011 | News | No comments | Share
With rumors of game developers pushing current generation consoles to the limits of their technical capabilities, other studios switching exclusively from the same consoles to new, uncharted territory, and the theoretical release dates for next generation consoles fast approaching, the days of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 seem numbered. But as developers begin to release their final games as swan songs for the flagging consoles, at least one developer revealed its trepidation for the next move. In an interview with Eurogamer, Evan Well, co-president of Naughty Dog, the creators of such acclaimed franchises as Jak and Daxter, Uncharted, and the already highly anticipated The Last of Us, publicly expressed his fears for the “difficult” transition he was sure to come.
For Wells, the shift is a ”double-edged sword” with two different gaming impulses competing with one another: “The geek inside you is always excited about a shiny new toy, but then the practicality of it starts to set in: this is going to be a lot of hard work.”
Switching to new hardware, he continued, added an entirely new level of work to the already demanding schedule of game development. “When you’re going to new technology, every day is a slog, progress is slow and it really takes a different kind of attitude and mentality to get through that kind of push and it’s not right for everybody.”
Furthermore, the transition is opening some old wounds for the studio that, however successful they may be, they would rather not revisit anytime soon. Switching to the Playstation 3, Wells explained, was “the period that Naughty Dog had its darkest days and we lost people on a weekly basis – people just couldn’t get through it.” The best the studio can do to prepare at this point, he added, is simply to be wary and prepared for any future difficulties: ”It’s tough and we’re definitely walking into it with open eyes.”
Christophe Balestra, Naughty Dog’s other co-president, agreed with Wells, calling the prospect of the move “terrifying,” but went on to say that he is hoping that this experience will give the company more foresight in planning its next move, adding: ”We made some mistakes with our move from PS2 to PS3 and we won’t make those again. I guess we’ve done it a couple of times!”
Despite whatever wariness the company has expressed, it is hard to take its current fears entirely to heart. The past few months, after all, have been very good for Naughty Dog. Uncharted 3 was released to overwhelming praise and high sales figures. And alongside plans for DLC multiplayer additions to that game, they also recently announced their upcoming exclusive for the PS3, The Last of Us, in addition to an HD collection of their classic Jak and Daxter series. And given some of Sony’s own prevarications about its plans for its upcoming console, it is difficult to speak too soon about the future of next-generation titles.
Speaking of the future of Uncharted, however, the presidents kept any future details vague. ”I think the team’s going to regroup and we’re going to figure out what’s going to be the next move is for that team,” Balestra said, with Wells adding: “Next-gen, current-gen – that’s totally in the air”.