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The last of us game dev pipeline


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The last of us game dev pipeline

  1. 1. IDEATION The ideation phase of The Last of Us started when the development team had finished Uncharted 3. The first initial idea was to re-boot one of Naughty Dogʼs old IPs, and Jak & Daxter was considered. The team however decided not to reboot Jak & Daxter as they felt that the game would turn into something too different from the original games, which they did not want to do due to the gameʼs big fan base. They decided on creating a game with a completely new IP set in a post-apocalyptic world, focused around 2 people whose relationship develops and changes throughout the game. They didn't want to go along the usual “Zombie-outbreak-wipes-out-mankind” approach, they wanted something more original. They came up with the idea of a parasitic fungus that takes over the hosts brain from a BBC documentary Planet Earth, in which a segment focuses on a fungus called Ophiocordyceps that infects ants and “hi-jacks” their brains which causes the ants to fight among each other, causing whole colonies of ants to be wiped out and the fungus to thrive. Co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, along with Creative Director Neil Druckmann and other people were the main people behind the IP creation. PRE-PRODUCTION Concept art and character sketches were the next step. They needed to decided what the characters looked like, their gender, age etc. They also needed to agree on what the setting would be like. They wanted the setting to be in an urban environment that has been overrun by nature; foliage climbing up the sides of skyscrapers, trees bursting through the concrete pavement and wild animals free to roam the city streets. The storyline was mapped out and written once these were agreed on.
  2. 2. Once the fundamentals of the game were decided, the casting of the characters was next. Auditions took place to find the right actor and actress to play Joel and Ellie. Tory Baker and Ashley Johnson were chosen. Next, they thought about the gameplay experience. They wanted the players to have a connection with the characters, to develop relationships with them throughout the game. They thought the best way to do this was to keep the story realistic, and so they decided to remove the infected and to keep the story about how different people decided to live in the event of an apocalypse. However, this ended up not working due to the game being an action game, meaning that removing the threat in the game made the game more boring. PRODUCTION -Game Programmers -Voice Actors -Animators -Sound Design The production process takes place when you have all ideas in place ready to implement into a game. This two major processes taking place simultaneously are the 3D Acting & Voice recording. The other major thing thats place is the actual level programing. So this would be stuff like creating the fight sequences, drawing the environments and creating a engine to power all this on. Neil Druckmann was the creative director on the game and he was heavily involved directing the actors himself. Instead of hiring a director to direct the actors he did it himself. It was his first time directing actors before. He knew that this was paramount as he wanted to tell a story throughout the game. Kind of like an intractable film. He mentioned at the start of the Making
  3. 3. of The Last Of Us documentary that you have achieve a balance with the between the two directors of the game. The beauty about this is that you donʼt have to hold meetings in order to see people within the team. You can just go and see them at their desk and get it done there and then. Once the 3D acting is completing they get sent to the animators who add the facial expression into the scenes. The music then needs to be created and processed. You could argue whether this music could be pre- production or production as he was making music before the production of the actual game itself but the thing about music is that is can hours to make compared to a game which can take years to make. I have spoken about the music in more detail but basically the music was created on anything from electrical synths to PVC tubing. POST-PRODUCTION Once the game development was complete, it entered the post-production phase. This stage takes the game go through thorough testing and examination. Naughty Dog requested the game be focus tested on female players as well as male, after the research firm it was working with was planning on running it by male gamers only. Druckmann explained how the studio stepped in after discovering the notion of polling female gamers for their take in the game was not on the table. He said that "another aspect that influences how a game is promoted is focus testing.” After and during the game is being tested, programmers then fix the bugs that are found, improve on any aspects of the game and implement any small features recommended by the testers. Once the game has been tested thoroughly, the game is then ready to be published.