Neil Druckmann discusses The Last of Us Part II delay

By Heidi Nicholas,
Last week, PlayStation announced that The Last of Us Part II had been delayed, as had Marvel's Iron Man VR. Given the current global situation, neither title has yet been given a new release date. Fans have since been asking whether a digital release would still be possible, or whether Naughty Dog would consider releasing a demo of The Last of Us Part II. Neil Druckmann, Vice President of Naughty Dog, recently shared some comments with PlayStation about the delay, where he also mentions the current state of the game, and why a demo wouldn't be feasible.

The Last of Us Part II E3 Screens

Druckmann was asked about the delay on the latest episode of the official PlayStation Blogcast. "It's a bit rough", he said. "You're working on something for so long, some of us for years... you can't wait to get it into people's hands... and now you've gotta put all that on hold". He adds that "Internally, we know we have a great game, and it's just we have to wait a little bit longer to get it out there to fans. I know fans are disappointed, and believe me when I say this, we're just as disappointed, if not more so."

Druckmann was also asked about remote working, and how it was affecting the progress of the game. He mentions that they began preparing themselves for remote working quite early, saying, "now we have everybody working from home efficiently, squashing bugs and being able to work on the game and other things on the side as well." Druckmann also emphasised the importance of the team's health and safety; he says he told the team, "there's a lot going on in the world right now, take time to take care of yourself", adding, "we even told them, look, if we miss our date, we miss our date, we'll figure it out, but you come first. And even now, as we're wrapping up the game, we keep telling people, if you need to take a day or two off, do whatever you got to do to take care of yourself, the game will be there."

TLOU 2

As for a digital release; Druckmann points out that a priority is making sure fans all get the game around the same time. "This is a worldwide game that people in every country are waiting for," he says, "and we want to make sure we're fair". He added that they're "looking at all sorts of different options" as to the best way to get it to everyone.

A digital release has been one of the most vocalised demands from the game's fanbase; the second being a demo of the game. Naughty Dog had previously given access to a press demo, leading fans to hope that a similar demo could be released to make up for the delay. Druckmann's comments, however, imply this wouldn't be feasible. "It's very different when you have a demo for the game that you can release at a convention or press event, and you can have people from Naughty Dog there watching to make sure it's all working well", he said. "When we did the press demo, we just had the whole game there on the disc, and we just cut off a piece of it so that people could play that, but obviously we can't do that when you ship it worldwide". Druckmann says that "it's almost like you'd be starting from scratch to build that demo, and that's a massive amount of work... and it's just, we'd rather put our focus on finishing the actual game and getting it to people". Aside from that, he also adds that the press demo wouldn't be the best representation of the game as it currently stands: it's "out-dated now" he says, adding that "the game is improved greatly since that press demo."

On the plus side, it seems that Naughty Dog are very close to being done with it. "We're at the one-yard line", Druckmann said. He mentions that the team are still working on a few bugs and on polishing the game. "It's there," he says. "That's the frustrating part for us, it's like the game is there, and we just, we have to sit on it for a little bit, and figure out what's the best way to get it to our fans". Overall, it seems Naughty Dog are feeling confident about the game. "We're all keeping our spirits high, and keeping at it", Druckmann said. We'll update you when there's more info from Naughty Dog or PlayStation about a new release date for The Last of Us Part II.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!