In my series of lessons, original titles and exclusives will be the focus. We’ll start with a look at Sony staple Naughty Dog and their upcoming original IP…
Synonymous with the Playstation brand, Naughty Dog started off by creating an early mascot for the original PlayStation, Crash Bandicoot, which turned out to be one of the biggest selling titles on the console. With that series, they crafted an enjoyable action adventure title with slapstick humor geared towards a wide scope of an audience. The series continued on throughout the life of the PS1 and, when the PS2 launched, Naughty Dog took the reigns again. Jak and Daxter at first seems like merely an extension of the Crash Bandicoot titles, an adventure title with heavy emphasis on collecting and humor. Jak 2 and the titles following, though, took on darker, more mature themes and much success was enjoyed. Naughty Dog had once again created an exclusive series that could serve as the face of Sony gaming consoles.
Success for Jak and Daxter spilled over into the PSP and Naughty Dog continued to be an influential force in Sony’s success in the gaming realm. Their titles held an amazing standard, keeping an average of above 80% on gamerankings (except the racer Jak X, pulling in a 76%). With the PS3’s announcement, Naughty Dog was looked at to craft another original title. This time, they took a much more realistic approach on characters and venues. Uncharted displayed a meticulous approach to detail, engaging characters and gameplay, and a very well written story with equally intriguing lore attached (enough to warrant a film that’s currently in the works). Uncharted continues to be one of the highest rated titles of not only PlayStation 3 games, but this entire console generation. But, never one to sit in complacency, the Naughty Dog team has now introduced a title that could potentially be the ultimate swan song of this console generation as far as original titles go.
“The Last of Us” (no pun intended…I think, but you never know with Naughty Dog), is touted as a third-person action adventure title, which is par for the course for Naughty Dog. They’ve continued with their realistic approach, though, this time with a post-apocalyptic Pittsburgh as the backdrop. Taking control of Joel, players will explore and survive this dangerous sandbox with AI controlled Ellie, my personal front runner for supporting character of the year based off of what we’ve seen so far from the game. There’s a heavy emphasis on cooperation and it looks as if Ellie can definitely hold her own when things get hairy.
Games without a heavy multi-player aspect don’t get much shine within the industry these days, but it seems Last of Us aims to impress with its story, character development, and immersion chops. If you caught the first gameplay video from E3, you have to be impressed. The banter between the two main characters, the situational reactions of the AI of both enemy players and Ellie, and the interaction with your surroundings were all dynamic and very detailed.