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Naughty Dog on developing for the PS5: “We can break away from constraints”

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Neil Druckmann speaks about how video game development will progress with the next generation of consoles

Naughty Dog’s vice president Neil Druckmann has shared his thoughts on how transition to developing games for the next generation of consoles will impact the company.

During a recent podcast episode with former Nintendo head Reggie Fils-Aime, Druckmann spoke about why he’s looking forward to the next-gen system’s SSD removing barriers – despite his team already putting an extraordinary amount of work into minimising loading times.

He said: “At the end of a [console] generation, you always feel the constraints. You always feel like you’re pushing against a bunch of walls and finding the little cracks where you can take things a little further whether it’s memory or CPU or hard drive speed. When you start a new generation, it’s a double-edged sword.”

He went to explain: “On the one hand, you have to build new tech for the new hardware, and that can be an uphill battle. But on the other hand, all of a sudden you feel this freedom of, ‘Oh my god, we can breathe again! We can break away from these constraints’. And one of the things that we’re excited by is the solid-state hard drive and what it means for almost seamless loading.”

Druckmann then spoke about the work that Naughty Dog does behind-the-scenes to reduce load screens within their games, and what the new technology means for them.

“We do so much work, on our end, once you start the adventure, you never see a load screen. And there’s so much work that happens behind the scenes of how we design the levels, how we chop them up, and it’s all invisible to the player; you never see any of that work,” he remarked.

“But now, knowing that we’re going to be able to load things more quickly, it just means the designers don’t have to be as constrained by how they lay things out, how we think about things, when we load new characters. So, I’m excited to see the doors that opens for us.”

Naughty Dog has not announced what its next project will be, as it enjoys the success of the recently released The Last Of Us Part II. Druckmann also spoke of players’ anger towards the game’s events and characters during the podcast.

The Last Of Us Part II is out now exclusively for PS4. Last month, it was revealed that the game became the fastest-selling PS4 exclusive of all-time, with 4 million copies sold on opening weekend.

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