When it comes to modern video game developers, few are more prolific than the Sony-owned studio Naughty Dog, Inc. The developer is largely responsible for some of the Playstation brand's most iconic games, including Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, and the Uncharted trilogy. Perhaps most importantly, Naughty Dog is responsible for The Last of Us, which earned over 240 different Game of the Year awards and is arguably one of the best games of the the last console generation.
The next title coming from Naughty Dog will be Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, set to launch early in 2016. The game will bring the story of treasure hunter Nathan Drake to a close, though whether the series will continue with a new protagonist remains unclear. With the studio closing this chapter of their long-running series, many have wondered what's next for the developer.
It turns out the answer isn't terribly surprising. The studio has been hinting for awhile now that a sequel to The Last of Us is in development, though they haven't officially confirmed its existence. During the company's livestream of the upcoming Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, Uncharted series writer Josh Scherr let slip the following while discussing his co-worker Eric Baldwin.
"(...) and he was the one in charge of the face animation for the three 'Uncharted' games and the first 'The Last of Us' game... did I just say the first 'The Last of Us' game?"
There have been quite a few hints that a sequel is in development over the last few months, including voice actor Nolan North telling fans at a convention that the sequel was happening. So while it's possible that this was a legitimate goof or that Scherr was simply referring to The Last of Us: Left Behind as a second game, it seems unlikely that he would slip up and then blatantly call attention to his mistake.
The Last of Us director Neil Druckmann seems to have other plans for the company's next game. Druckmann recently took to Twitter and posted the following message:
Look, Valve, all I'm saying is you give us the Half Life license and we'll take care of the rest.
The message was in response to Merle Dandridge, who had tweeted a picture of herself in motion capture gear. Dandridge previously worked with Naughty Dog on The Last of Us, starring as Marlene, leader of the resistance group The Fireflies. Dandridge also notably portrayed Alyx Vance in the Valve's Half-Life series.
For those unfamiliar, Half-Life is a science fiction first-person shooter franchise created by developer Valve. The last main entry in the franchise was Half-Life 2, which was released back in 2004. The game ends without concluding the narrative, so naturally fans began inquiring about the existence of a third game. However, Valve made no announcements about the game or its development. As the years have passed, the game has become more of a joke than an actual possibility.
Clearly, there are no plans for Naughty Dog to begin developing Half-Life 3. Druckmann is simply making a joke about the developer's working relationship with Dandridge. Odds are, you'll be seeing her in the rumored The Last of Us sequel.
Still, the possibility that a developer of Naughty Dog's caliber could create the next Half-Life game is fun to consider. The studio could undoubtedly craft a compelling finale to the story of silent protagonist Gordon Freeman, though there's no chance the character would remain voiceless in their installment. The biggest concern would be the gameplay, as the company has never produced a first-person shooter before. Still, after such a long wait, would players mind a slight change in genre for the third installment?
Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will be released on March 18th, 2016 on Playstation 4.