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Creator / Naughty Dog

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Naughty Dog is an American video game developer owned by Sony Interactive Entertainment, first formed by Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin as Jam Software in 1984 before renaming themselves to their current name in 1989. They are responsible for many hit franchises for the PlayStation consoles, and are considered one of Sony's top development studios, if not the best one of all.

Naughty Dog has something of a sister company in the form of Insomniac Games. Both companies started out working in the same building, and even produced very similar games around the same times. Just to illustrate: Naughty Dog's Crash Bandicoot and Insomniac's Spyro the Dragon, Naughty's Jak and Daxter and Insomniac's Ratchet & Clank. As far as game companies can go, these guys are pretty much the tightest of bros, though also sharing a Friendly Rivalry.

With the massive critical and commercial success of The Last of Us, Naughty Dog is now regarded as one of the most beloved and respected development studios in the industry, and their focus on nuanced, deliberately-paced and visually stunning narratives has become somewhat of a blueprint to their fellow Sony-owned developers and other companies outside of the Sony Worldwide Studios umbrella.

This company is responsible for:

  • The Last of Us (2023): Are credited as a production company, with several executives from the developer acting as executive producers.

Tropes associated with Naughty Dog:

  • Action Girl: Usually at least one of the major characters in a Naughty Dog game is this. Coco, Ashelin, Elena, and Ellie are a few examples.
  • Breakthrough Hit: While they developed plenty of games beforehand, Crash Bandicoot is the game that truly put Naughty Dog on the map.
  • Childhood Friends: The co-founders Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin have known each other as children.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Jak and Daxter series went this direction starting with the second game. Heck, generally speaking, their later games are this compared to their earlier work. Just compare Crash Bandicoot to The Last of Us. The difference is night and day.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Another common trait of Naughty Dog's. Nearly every character is prone to making witty remarks, Daxter and Drake are the most prominent examples.
  • Down the Drain: Sewers are by far their most recurring level theme, from The Eel Deal/Sewer or Later/Hangin' Out, to Haven Sewers, to The Fortress' sewer, to The Suburbs' sewer.
  • Scenery Porn: Their games are known for having beautiful graphics and scenery.
  • Serkis Folk: Uncharted and The Last of Us had the actors perform motion capture while simultaneously recording dialogue.
  • Tom Hanks Syndrome: Naughty Dog started off making kid-friendly fare, then slowly moved into more mature and realistic territory as video game technology advanced.
    • We begin with lighthearted platforming from Crash Bandicoot, involving cartoony animations and environments with pretty colors, animals, and a simplistic plot of "Defeat the evil scientist and save the world".
    • This carries forward to the first Jak and Daxter game, which mixes platforming and open wide worlds instead of linear levels, and a more dense story with (not mad scientists but Eco Power domination), but still simple.
    • Jak II introduces guns, sci-fi guns, and removes the nice enviroments for a downright depressing city ruled by a dictator. It was also Naughty Dog's first T-rated game. Jak 3 follows the trend.
    • Then we move into Uncharted, moving away from the cartoony lands as we head to the real world. A more mature story with human characters, with Drake providing lots of snarky humor. There are guns, but real ones, and we kill a lot of people. The story has the feel of an Indiana Jones movie.
    • Take this realism and turn it into the post-apocalyptic zombie world of The Last of Us, Naughty Dog's first M-rated game. Now with realistic gore, and a story driven by loss of family, the loss of allies, and lots of psychological conflicts (plus less platforming and fantastic puzzle-solving compared to Uncharted).
  • What Could Have Been:
    • If Naughty Dog never signed on to the company, there would be no Crash Bandicoot but they would make Al O. Saurus and Dinestein, a side-scrolling video game based on time travel and scientists genetically merged with dinosaurs, (a spoof on Back to the Future and Jurassic Park).
    • Before they would develop Uncharted and after the cancellation of the 4th Jak and Daxter game, they pitch an untitled Sci-Fi Game named by fans as Savage Starlight for the PS3, concept art of this scrapped game can be found on the “Naughty Dog’s 30th Anniversary” art book.
    • Their version of Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier is this in its entirety. They handed the game off to High Impact Games after difficulties developing it alongside Uncharted. They later tried to do a complete Continuity Reboot of the series, but they found that their ideas, while ambitious, didn't fit Jak, so they cancelled it in favor of The Last of Us.