The Last of Us and Uncharted were "easier to make," director suggests

By Lee Brady,

The Last of Us and Uncharted co-director, Bruce Straley, stated that linear games were "easier to make," but stops short of saying "better."

If you enjoyed collecting The Last of Us Part I trophies, or have fond memories of earning Uncharted 2 Among Thieves trophies, you've probably wondered to yourself at some point why there aren't 'more games like this' being made for PS5. Well, thanks to ex-Naughty Dog co-director Bruce Straley, we at least know one thing: people are missing AAA linear games like Uncharted and The Last of Us.

Bruce StraleySully's not too sure on where to land with Straley's tweet.

Ex-Naughty Dog director tweet ignites conversation about AAA game design

Straley, who left Naughty Dog after completing Uncharted 4 and whose directorial credits include The Last of Us and Uncharted 2, some of the best PS3 games ever made, recently posted a simple barnstormer of a take on Twitter. The tweet reads: "Linear games are just easier to make. There. I said it."

As with all the finest hot takes, Straley's tweet led to an outpouring of misunderstandings and half-baked approving messages, to which Straley replied: "LOL! Y’all are nuts! I didn’t think this was such a controversial topic nor did I say one design style was better than the other, but you fools…"

On one side of the replies, ex-Ubisoft director Alex Hutchinson stated: "Facts. And also less interesting as games in general." On the other, we had indie director Luc Bernard replying to Hutchinson with "Disagree." And from there, most replies and retweets overlap on these two stances, defending or attacking the more open design of modern AAA games while almost always generally agreeing (sometimes dismissively) with Straley's assessment.

Bruce StraleyBruce Straley's tweets.

We could debate all day exactly what Straley wanted to imply or get across with the tweet — though he most likely was inferring that the game he's currently working on at his new studio, Wildflower Games, is somewhat open-world, which is proving to be a challenge to design compared to the linear games he cut his teeth working on.

We could also spend all week debating the specifics of Straley's comment — for example, how linear are we talking here? One could easily argue The Last of Us implements a lot of smaller, open-ended segments into its game design, and Uncharted 4 even contains a memorable section in Madagascar that's pretty non-linear in design. Do we consider games like Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart, with its diverging paths, a 'linear' game? We can play God of War Ragnarok fairly straight as well if we wanted to — does that count?

It's not quite on the same level as Roger Ebert's infamous "video games can never be art" quote, but the open-ended nature of Straley's tweet certainly has enough room to take us down similar roads of endless debate, so it's probably best to change tact and instead look at what people are saying about the tweet. And for the most part, the takeaway should be pretty clear: a lot of gamers are very tired of AAA open-world games.

Bruce StraleyDoes this section of Uncharted 4 count as open-world?

You won't get far in Straley's replies without someone railing against the kind of sandbox games that Ubisoft plans to keep churning out with all of those upcoming PS5 Assassin's Creed games. Without even directly stating his opinion on either open-world games or linear games, it seems Straley's comment has touched upon a growing desire for the kind of games Straley used to make while working at Naughty Dog.

What was your gut feeling when you first read Straley's tweet? Do you have any hot takes of your just waiting to get out there? Let us know down in the comments.
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee loves writing about the game design of classic PS Plus Premium games and upcoming PS5 games like Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Final Fantasy XVI. He's a big proponent of video games as an evolving artistic medium, though he's also a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog games, so the medium might want to keep looking for a better spokesperson.
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