In the newest episode of Conversations With Creators, Gameplay Director Bruce Straley explained that the team thought The Last of Us “was going to tank,” and that it would “ruin the name and image [of Naughty Dog].”
We thought it was going to tank. We thought we were going to ruin the name and image [of Naughty Dog] that’s been so heartily built for years with blood, sweat, and tears. We thought we were ruining Naughty Dog’s image.
Interestingly, Sean Murray, the founder of Hello Games, recently revealed that he and his team believed that their upcoming game, No Man’s Sky, would also be received poorly when it was announced.