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Neil Druckmann, co-president of Naughty Dog and creator of The Last of Us, said that he’s “intrigued by stuff like Elden Ring and Inside, that don’t rely as much on traditional narrative to tell a story” in a video interview given to The Washington Post.

Asked about his thoughts on the evolution of storytelling in video games, he expressed his interest in the less direct manner in which titles like Elden Ring present their narrative to their players. Elden Ring, released in 2022, won an unprecedented amount of awards and acclaim, catapulting itself into the pantheon of the best games of all time in the process. Unlike many other titles, Elden Ring does not present much of its story through cutscenes, instead relying on players to discover what’s going on by interacting with the world around them.

“To me that, right now, is some of the best joy I get out of games. [The games] that trust their audience to figure things out, that don’t hold their hand. That’s the stuff I’m really intrigued by going forward”, he continued.

Elden Ring contains some cutscenes, but the story is mostly presented by the environment.

Elden Ring contains some cutscenes, but the story is mostly presented by the environment.

Druckmann doesn’t want to throw overboard everything that’s been done so far, of course, saying that “it doesn’t mean we will never have dialogue or cutscenes” in future Naughty Dog games. He does, however, think that “there’s a way to push that stuff forward” and this indirect style of presentation is definitely part of the toolbox that’s going to be used from here on out.

If fans are expecting something following the exact same formula that The Last of Us used, they might be in for a disappointment. Naughty Dog, Druckmann told The Washington Post, won’t rest on the laurels the studio earned, instead “trying something a little bit new, a little bit different, that not everyone’s going to like, but that’s okay.”

A little bit new and a little bit different, but still very much The Last of Us, is also HBO’s upcoming show based on the popular series. You can read our The Last of Us HBO review to find out how the adaptation turned out.