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Naughty Dog’s New IP Will Likely Break a Big Pattern – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Naughty Dog’s New IP Will Likely Break a Big Pattern


Naughty Dog has received praise for its games over the years, with the recent HBO adaptation of The Last of Us reaching new levels of acclaim. As the development studio approaches its 40th anniversary, its game design approach has evolved, incorporating various iterations in mechanics, style, genre, and tone. While Naughty Dog has focused on darker themes and photo-realistic depictions in recent years, rumors suggest that their next IP may deviate from this pattern.




Naughty Dog was established in 1984 and collaborated with Sony to create games like Crash Bandicoot and the Jak and Daxter series throughout the 90s and early 2000s. These titles featured more cartoonish characters, with Jak and Daxter incorporating darker themes such as experimentation and imprisonment. The visual style of these games made them more accessible to younger audiences. However, Naughty Dog’s future projects would take a different direction.

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Naughty Dog\’s Next IP May Dial Back Dark Tones Following The Last of Us Part 2

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Uncharted: Drake\’s Fortune was released three years after the conclusion of Jak and Daxter, introducing Nate, Sully, and Elena in their quest for treasure. The series gained acclaim, with four mainline installments and several spin-offs that enhanced the cinematic set-pieces and graphical fidelity. While the games maintained a mix of platforming, exploration, and shooting, the inclusion of violence raised questions about Naughty Dog’s approach to murder. Nathan Drake’s charming and witty personality helped balance the overall tone.

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Naughty Dog’s venture into The Last of Us marked a shift towards photo-realism and mature themes. The first game, released in 2013, presented a gritty and solemn experience, in stark contrast to Uncharted. The game’s stunning visuals and brutal depictions of violence resonated with audiences, but its mature content earned it an ESRB rating. The post-apocalyptic world was portrayed with intensity, setting the stage for the divisive reception of the sequel.

The Last of Us Part 2 took the dark tone to the extreme, featuring intense violence and death depictions. Naughty Dog’s realistic character models added to the brutality. The installment pushed the boundaries of its subject matter with its portrayal of various characters and circumstances. However, rumors suggest that Naughty Dog’s next IP might tone down the darkness and explore the sci-fi genre.

A sci-fi game from Naughty Dog could bring a more fantastical approach while maintaining their commitment to hyper-realism. The inclusion of non-human combatants or a narrative focused on exploration could break the pattern of increasingly mature titles. While the next IP may still tackle dark themes, it has the potential to offer a different pace from the grittiness seen in The Last of Part 2.




Naughty Dog was founded in 1984, working alongside publisher Sony to create games like Crash Bandicoot and the Jak and Daxter series throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Such titles dealt with more cartoonish characters, although the latter blended fantastical violence in a way that landed it a T rating. Though Jak and Daxter‘s story dealt with dark and difficult themes like experimentation and imprisonment, its maturity was made more approachable for younger audiences through its visual style, a feat that would change with Naughty Dog’s future endeavors.

RELATED: One The Last of Us Character Could Give Ellie the Ultimate Closure



Naughty Dog’s Next IP May Dial Back Dark Tones Following The Last of Us Part 2

The Last of Us Part 2 Poster

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune debuted three years after Jak and Daxter‘s conclusion, beginning Naughty Dog’s story of Nate, Sully, and Elena in their search for treasure. The series was quick to grow acclaim, spanning four mainline installments and a few spin-offs over the years that gradually built up their cinematic set-pieces and graphical fidelity. While the games maintained a mix between platforming, third-person exploration, and shooting, their feature of the latter brought up discrepancies over the games’ approach to murder. Nathan Drake racked up quite the kill count, but his charismatic and witty nature helped to lighten the overall tone.

Naughty Dog’s foray into the world of The Last of Us marked an increase in the company’s pursuit of photo-realism and mature themes; the first game released in 2013, its gritty and solemn nature was quite harrowing in comparison to Uncharted. The game’s gorgeously realized settings coupled with its brutal and unrelenting depictions of violence made it strongly received by audiences, though its graphic content landed it a mature ESRB rating. The atrocities of a post-apocalyptic world were portrayed with high-intensity, paving the way for the series’ second installment, which was met with more divisive reception.

The Last of Us Part 2 took its dark tone to the extreme, involving a lot of murder. The installment showed off Naughty Dog’s realistic character models, which aided in the intense brutality of the title’s death depictions. With a number of ways to kill and be killed, the characters and circumstances of The Last of Us Part 2 showed the company pushing the limits of its subject matter. However, Naughty Dog might dial back its approach through its next IP, rumored to take on the sci-fi genre.

A sci-fi game by Naughty Dog could be a return to form, taking on a more fantastical approach. Though it’s likely that the company won’t abandon its hyper-realism, given how integral it has become to the company’s brand, the opportunity for new non-human combatants or a plot more focused on exploration could break the pattern of increasingly mature titles. While the next IP could certainly deal with dark themes, a narrative focus that deviates from the level of grittiness seen in The Last of Part 2 may break the pattern set by the company’s recent years, offering an alternate change of pace.

The Last of Us Part 2 is available now for the PS4.

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