Neil Druckmann Explains The Last Of Us 2 Writing And Pitch Process

Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog walked us through some of the process that went into pitching The Last Of Us 2 to his development team before its development.

It’s not often that gamers get to go into the real inner workings of how studios decide on what games to pitch to publishers and their writing process, but Neil Druckmann, the director on The Last Of Us 2 and some of Naughty Dog’s other games, took us inside the writing process for the game.

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According to Druckmann, usually he has to feel confident about the story, and for him that means laying the story out on its barest bones, which he usually does by writing the key story points on an index card so that he knows what happens from start to finish.

After he knows how the story goes and pitches it, he goes to Naughty Dog’s design team, along with the art team, to develop the look of the game (in this case The Last Of Us 2), how it plays, a working prototype, and concept art in order to help him visualize the look of the game. This also helps him to flesh out a bit more of the game’s story.

When it comes to doing the rest, however, Druckmann didn’t put down anything concrete for The Last Of Us 2. Before development of the game was going to get started, he wanted more ideas that the team could go through in order to get the best ones and not be restricted to a certain bunch until they had started working.

Naughty Dog also has to cast motion-capture actors, people whose faces will be used for the characters, and shooting the various scenes in the game, and when all of that is said and done, and they have the rough outline of the game, the team that will be developing The Last Of Us 2 goes into a theater where, in a process that can go from one to two hours, the team is walked through everything that happens in the game from the beginning, to the story, the aesthetic, the characters, and emotional moments.

The Last Of Us 2 doesn’t have a definite release date, but knowing Naughty Dog it’ll likely be amazing when it comes out.

Hunter is senior news writer at He is a long time fan of strategy, RPG, and tabletop games. When he is not playing games, he likes to write about them.