Sony recently delayed The Last of Us: Part II indefinitely due to the global COVID-19 crisis, and now director Neil Druckmann has commented on the delay and responded to a number of key questions.
Discussing the delay on the latest PlayStation Blogcast, Druckmann said it’s a big bummer to have The Last of Us: Part II delayed yet again.
“It’s a bit rough,” he said. “You’re working on something for so long; for some of us, for years. There is a built-in anticipation; you can’t wait for this thing that you’ve been crafting and honing and sometimes dreaming about. You can’t wait to get it into people’s hands, and see their reactions; what they like, what they didn’t like or where the story takes them. And now you gotta put all that on hold because the world is conspiring against us.”
Druckmann said he’s feeling positive overall, however, because he knows The Last of Us: Part II is a coming along well from a development standpoint.
“Internally, we know we have a great game. It’s just we have to wait a little bit longer to get it out there to fans,” he said. “I know fans are disappointed. Believe me when I say this: we’re just a disappointed if not moreso to not be able to get the game out on time.”
This was just the latest delay for The Last of Us: Part II. The game was originally scheduled to release in February 2020, before shifting to May. Now, it has no release date at all.
Some have wondered why Sony doesn’t just release the game as a digital-exclusive, especially now when people are at home playing games more than ever during lockdown. Druckmann said Sony is considering all kinds of “different options” for how to release the game. There were concerns about being able to get physical copies of the game to all the retailers around the world, and all-digital isn’t great either because that could limit the game’s reach for those who wanted a physical copy.
“Right now we’re looking at all sorts of different options,” Druckmann said. “What’s the best way to get it to all of our fans as soon as possible?. That’s going to take time.”
Sony has yet to make a final decision on the release plan for The Last of Us: Part II, Druckmann said. The planning teams are monitoring the situation daily, he explained.
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Others have asked for Naughty Dog to release the demo of The Last of Us: Part II that was shown to members of the media. The studio won’t do this, however, because it requires a “massive” amount of work, and the last thing he wants to do is give his staffers more work right now, Druckmann said.
Not only that, but the game has improved greatly since this demo, so it wouldn’t be representative of where it stands right now, Druckmann said.
Finally, Druckmann confirmed that Naughty Dog’s developers–like most other teams in the gaming industry–are working from home. He said Naughty Dog’s employees have been working from home for weeks already, and he praised his company’s IT team for creating the necessary technological infrastructure to make it happen.
The developers are working efficiently at home, Druckmann said, but it’s not exactly business as usual. “Efficiency is different at home,” Druckmann said, pointing out that many have children at home and other duties to handle while also managing their work tasks.
That being said, Druckmann promised that The Last of Us: Part II is at the figurative one-yard line, and that the teams are now working on bug fixing, primarily.
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