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Naughty Dog on transition from PS3 to PS4: 'It's scary'

PlayStation 4 Screenshot - 1138007

Naughty Dog is one of the more established developers in the industry. Founded in 1984 as a independent developer, the studio has worked on titles like Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, and most notably the Uncharted series. Suffice to say, they've been around the block a few times. But as we head into the probable reveal for the next generation PlayStation on Wednesday, one might worry how the console transition takes its toll on a developer. To put it simply, it's a scary time for anyone, regardless of their past history. And for Naughty Dog, they've had a history of bad transitions that they are hoping to correct with the move from PS3 to PS4.

"We had a pretty bad experience when we moved from PS2 to PS3, because we made some stupid mistakes," Naughty Dog co-president Christophe Balestra admitted to Eurogamer. "And that was totally our fault."

"And also we were going from PS2 to PS3, the shaders were different and things like that, and we had a lot to learn," he added. "I think we've caught up though - I think our games look pretty good, so I feel like we're fine right now." If you've been keeping track of The Last of Us, you already know Naughty Dog has done a heck of a job with development on the PS3. They game reportedly "squeezes every last drop of power" from the system.

Christophe acknowledged, "It's always scary, because you don't know what to expect just to do something. We'll see. We have a little more time to think about it."

"The days of starting from scratch are gone," added co-president Evan Wells. "We did start from scratch going from PS2 to PS3, and that's down to the fact that on PS2 we'd written our own programming language. Everything on Jak and Daxter was written in a language called GOOL - game object oriented list. Andy Gavin the founder of Naughty Dog, was an MIT guy, and this was his thing."

"It was great, a great development environment that was geared to the kind of game that we made. Moving on to PS3 we are entering this group of developers that we could share technology with," he said. "We wanted to get into the more traditional development environment that other studios are developing with, so we did have to start from scratch. It was a tough road to hoe."

It looks like this time around Naughty Dog has a good grasp for what to expect with the PS4. As it stands now, Naughty Dog is a two-team studio, meaning two projects (or possibly more) could be underway at any given time. It's unknown if Naughty Dog's teams will expand in the next generation, but they do feel adequately prepared this time around.

"My guess is that they will expand - you'll have more this, and more that - you'll always have something more. In terms of our art, we always create our assets at a higher resolution than what you see in-game. A lot of our pipelines are already ready to move to something superior to the PS3," Balestra concluded. "But it's scary."

We already know one team is working on The Last of Us. Does that mean the second is working on a next-gen title...perhaps a new Uncharted? Sony is expected to officially unveil the PS4 on Wednesday; I'm sure Naughty Dog will play some important role in the event.

[Eurogamer]

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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