"Fun" and "Play" are not words that Neil Druckmann, director of acclaimed survival horror experience "The Last of Us", is interested in associating with anymore. Naughty Dog, the developer behind classic games like "Crash Bandicoot" and "Jak and Daxter", has been moving in the direction of more serious and artistic experiences meant to appeal to more mature and refined audiences.
"We don't use the word fun when designing The Last of Us, and we aren't going to be considering what's fun with our new experiences going forward. I don't even want to use the word game, or play. These are serious pieces of art, and we want the audience to feel more mature and important emotions than simply having fun. We aren't making these experiences for little kids, this isn't hide and seek or hopscotch." Neil Druckmann said in an exclusive interview, stating that Naughty Dog is explicitly looking to make their next "experience" (they told me not to use the word "game") something painful to "play", that would make the "player" feel the opposite of fun.
Sony has allowed Naughty Dog to have their creative freedom, of course. But that just isn't enough for the developer anymore, who has taken offense to Sony calling their console the "Play" Station.
"It's disheartening, really. It feels dismissive, it feels trivializing. It feels like they aren't taking us seriously, by referring to using the console as playing. You don't play The Last of Us. You experience it. It's art, it's real art. It's not a game. Games are for babies. I don't make baby games, I make real serious art for adults. They should just call it The Station. That's a pretty cool name, right? It sounds mysterious. It sounds way better than some kind of baby game play fun machine." Druckmann said, denouncing Sony for clinging to the name "PlayStation" when the future of "gaming" is in interactive virtual experiences that are art and not games. Sony has not made any comment on this so far, but considering the influence Naughty Dog has with Sony, we could certainly see something like this actually happening.
It's the natural progression of things, really. Theater, art, music, literature. They begin as simple little diversions. But then, from the savages and their silly little bongo drums, cave paintings, oral story telling, and all that primitive shit, we see real civilized genius artists emerge and really make things into real art and culture.
"Video games" are dead, and from the ashes we will see real artists making real virtual interactive experiences that deliver real emotions to their audiences. Not make a bunch of little baby children chimp out over flashing shapes and colors.