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Naughty Dog’s Strategy for Naming The Last of Us Revealed

When games are being created one of the most important things to make an impact on the gamers is the name. In an interview response that didn’t make it to print, Naughty Dog’s Bruce Straley commented on coming up with the name for The Last of Us.

Originally destined for Edge magazine in the UK, the interview which was conducted by Riot Games senior writer Jason Killingsworth has recently been uploaded to Google Docs. When asked about how Naughty Dog settled on The Last of Us, Straley who was the games director said:

“Picking names, it sucks, let’s just get that out there. It’s such a commitment. You’re putting it on paper, saying this is meaningful and you’re going to go with this for eternity, you know what I mean? So there’s a lot of weight on names. Obviously people read a lot into names. The dilemma you go through is difficult, but the process is rather straightforward. We literally have a Word doc open and I create 50 names, Neil [Druckmann, creative director] creates 50 names, we polled the company so we get another 50 names, Sony contributed a bunch of names There were just a bunch of names out there and we opened it up because nobody knows where a good idea is going to come from. There’s no source that says, this is the wellspring, tap into that, so we wanted to open ourselves up.”

On what the alternative names for the game were, and if there was a shortlist he revealed:

“Mankind was one that was in the running for a while. Americana was being kicked around. There were a bunch of those one-word ideas but The Last Of Us just felt right. [At Naughty Dog] we compare ourselves to other forms of media sometimes and book titles are seldom just one word, sometimes they have very long, elaborate titles. There are some movie names that are just full sentences. A paragraph will be the title of a film sometimes. Why do they get that luxury while videogames have to simplify everything down to this blunt, Neanderthal grunt.”

Do you like the name The Last of Us? Would you have preferred the alternatives? Let us know your thoughts below.