Naughty Dog’s 2013 masterpiece The Last of Us is one of the most beloved, most talked-about games of the last decade or two, so it’s hard to come across details about the game or its development that practically everyone doesn’t already know about. But there are a few such fascinating tidbits out there, and in this feature, as we count down the days to The Last of Us Part 2’s launch, we’ll take a look back at the first game, its development, how it evolved during production, and more. So with all that said, let’s get started.
THE FIRST IDEA
The story of how a BBC documentary of the cordyceps fungus inspired Neil Druckmann to com up with the idea for The Last of Us is one that is very well known among fans of the game, but the seeds of the game actually came to Druckmann long before that. Back in 2004, when Druckmann was still at university, he was tasked with making a pitch for a game for an assignment. The idea that he pitched was a game set during a zombie apocalypse, but with gameplay inspired by Ico. In his pitch, he described two lead characters- an old police officer, who is tasked with protecting a young girl. But due to a heart condition the man suffers from, players often have to play as the girl in a reversal of roles. In fact, the idea for the section where we play as Ellie in the first game can be traced back to this concept.