To help promote Naughty Dog’s 30th anniversary art show going until October 12 and the release of The Art of Naughty Dog on October 14, Co-President Evan Wells sat down with GameCrate to discuss, what else, Naughty Dog.
Beginning his work with the studio on Crash 3, Wells looked back on the Crash Bandicoot franchise – which Naughty Dog no longer has the rights to – and answered whether they miss working on the games. After bringing up how the “hardest part” is the fans wanting another Naughty Dog Crash Bandicoot, he added:
I don’t want to talk about the post-Naughty Dog Crash titles in a bad way but fans are always tweeting to us and asking us, ‘Are you guys going to do another Crash?’ It’s frustrating that we can’t even do anything special like even a special costume in one of our games. It’s not our property so we can’t in any way honor those games anymore.
In The Art of Naughty Dog, you’ll get to see images of unreleased products from the studio as they were trying to come up with a new IP between the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, before ultimately settling on Uncharted.
Wells touched upon some of those scrapped ideas:
You asked the question how we come up with something; we’re kind of just spitballing here, generating tons and tons of concept art. We had sci-fi ideas, underwater facility ideas, these tree beast ideas, it was a lot of exploration. It was really fun to look at those things. It was art that I completely forgot about and hadn’t thought about in years.
Then to come back and look at all the ideas that went into that and the areas we explored like ‘there’s something cool here, but let’s move that over here’. Like the germ of that idea and take it 90 degrees in the other direction. We just kept building and building and kept coming back to the characters until we get to that one meaningful story and that’s sort of how we eventually reached Uncharted. It was something that was grounded in reality and relatable to everybody. You know, not going so sci-fi with space marines, we wanted to still tell a cool story but something that people could relate to.
If you were hoping Naughty Dog might go that sci-fi title in the future, Wells mostly shot down that idea:
That’s something that Naughty Dog hasn’t really done a lot of. It’s a popular genre so, yeah, there’s something there that could have been great if it had just gelled. I don’t think we’ll ever go back to that exact thing but yeah, when I look at that art, there was potential there.
Of course, Wells “wouldn’t rule anything out” because he never thought they’d do The Last of Us before it came to be. “We finish a game, we reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Then find what’s exciting the team at the moment and then head off in that direction,” he said.
Next up for Naughty Dog is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on PlayStation 4, set to release in 2015. Asked about how it’s doing, Wells replied:
It’s coming along nicely. We’ve been hard at work since E3 and all I can say is that we’ll be having some stuff to show you very soon.
Pushed a little further, Wells reiterated that we’d be hearing more news “very” soon.
With the 1 year anniversary of Uncharted 4’s announcement – and 1 year anniversary of the PS4 launch – coming up in just over a month, it’s not too much of a stretch that we’ll be hearing something around then.