Druckmann said that as the industry grows technologically, changes too have come to storytelling in video games.
“You can track it and see what used to be considered the bar for good storytelling. Looking back at it, it was a lot of times substandard,” Druckmann said.
“And some of it was because of technology, because we weren't able to convey a lot of subtext or expression, so the dialog a lot of times had to do a lot of heavy lifting. Therefore the storytelling was very surficial and narrative beats where very on the nose. Now the storytelling can be a lot more nuanced.”
Since 2004, Druckmann has helped moved Naughty Dog along from “cartoony characters,” like in Crash Bandicoot, to more grown-up narratives, like Uncharted and The Last of Us.
"Technology allowed us to at least move away from cartoony characters and to realize more human characters and tell more nuanced stories, and that's kind of the trajectory we've been on," Druckmann said.
Druckmann said the launch of the next-gen consoles will only help developers tell stories in more dynamic ways, rather than just relying heavily on dialog to convey a story.
"But if you're trying to tell a more dynamic story or use AI in sophisticated ways –– some of the stuff we tried to do with The Last of Us –– technology will definitely go a long way," Druckmann said.
"We were running out of memory as far as how many animations Ellie can carry, or how much dialog we could stream at one time. And that's where going to the PS4 in the future could really help us in the dynamic area of the game where the story is responding to the player's input on a moment-to-moment basis. Technology still has a long way to go."