Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann Heaps Praise On Developers For The Last Of Us Part 2 Despite Crunch Culture Reports

Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann Heaps Praise On Developers For The Last Of Us Part 2 Despite Crunch Culture Reports
Credit: Sony

Recently, a former Naughty Dog developer spoke out at length regarding the company’s alleged history of crunch culture when developing games like The Last of Us Part II.

According to the report, Naughty Dog was purposely fostering a workplace culture that pushed long hours on employees in the interest of getting a game finished in time for release. The report went onto allege that the reason for The Last of Us Part II’s release date being pushed back into May was creator burnout associated with long hours.

Supposedly, developers were pulling 100 hour work weeks in order to meet the demands of the studio. A second former developer, Jonathan Cooper, has since come forth noting that a friend of his was hospitalized due to overwork when the team was putting the finishing touches on September’s preview.

Cooper also went on to say in his Twitter thread that The Last of Us Part II might have shipped earlier had it been handled by a more experienced staff.

Since these reports first surfaced, Naughty Dog has been under fire from the internet. Now, Neil Druckmann, the director of The Last of Us Part II has spoken out about his team’s progress.

“Even after years of working on it, I’m still blown away by the animation in Part II,” Druckmann said. “We have one of, if not the best, animation team in the industry – both in raw animation skill and technical knowledge. Can’t wait for you to experience their incredible work. Some unsung heroes of Part II are the members of our production team. Y’all have brought order to our chaos, wrangled a complex schedule, and facilitated valuable communication. Game wouldn’t be what it is without you. Hats off.”

As should come as no surprise to anyone, Druckmann refrained from commenting directly on the rumors of crunch culture that have been plaguing Naughty Dog. Instead, he praised the team heavily, trying to show a united front and appreciation for the creative minds that are bringing The Last of Us Part II to life.

Druckmann has a lot on his plate at the moment. Not only is this majorly anticipated game set to come out in the next few months, but he is also serving as one of the showrunners for the recently announced HBO adaptation of The Last of Us. While no official casting decisions have been announced yet for the series, fans have been petitioning everyone from Hugh Jackman to Chris Evans for the role of Joel when The Last of Us makes its television debut.