The Last Of Us 2 Director On Crunch — "They're Gonna Work Very Hard"

The Last of Us Part II writer and director Neil Druckmann has opened up on the controversial subject of “crunch,” which is when developers work long hours for an extended period of time. Speaking to GQ, Druckmann said hard work is needed to make great games.

“We don’t try to babysit people,” he said. “We draw people who want to tell these stories and who want to leave a mark on the industry. And they’re gonna work very hard to do it. We need to put some guardrails [in] so they don’t injure themselves, but I don’t think we could prevent them from working hard and still make the kind of games we make.”

The GQ report goes on to say that The Last of Us Part II developers worked “late nights and long days” on the project. These late nights and long days went on for five, six, or seven days a week, for “sometimes weeks at a time,” the report said.

Crunch has been an issue at Naughty Dog for a long time. For Uncharted 2, management tried to limit the extended working hours by forbidding developers to work past midnight or on the weekend. However, Druckmann said “people got upset” by these new rules.

To limit crunch, Naughty Dog created a “small team” made up of producers who help keep the development process streamlined, according to the report. It was also reported that Naughty Dog is now cutting content sooner to help avoid wasted time.

In March, Kotaku reported that The Last of Us Part II developers were working 12-hour days and coming in on weekends during crunch periods. “This game is really good, but at a huge cost to the people,” one developer told the site.

The full GQ story is well worth a read, as it covers a number of other interesting and noteworthy topics like how the story for The Last of Us Part II was inspired in part by a lynching that Druckmann saw when he was younger. Druckmann also talks about how Naughty Dog might make The Last of Us Part III next, or something else entirely. Read the story here.

The Last of Us: Part II releases on June 19 for PS4. The game will also come to PlayStation 5 later this year, alongside thousands of other PS4 titles. Sony’s PS5 event is scheduled for June 11.

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