The Last of Us 2's creative director and writer Neil Druckmann has spoken about the PS5 in a recent podcast, during which the vice president of Naughty Dog reveals that the SSD is the most exciting new feature when it comes to the future of game development.
Druckmann features as a guest on former Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime and journalist and author Harold Goldberg's Talking Games charity Podcast in aid of the New York Videogame Critics Circle. If you've yet to play The Last of Us 2 or haven't completed the game yet, it's worth bearing in mind that this interview does contain some spoilers about certain story elements.
During the podcast, Goldberg asks Druckmann what aspect of PS5 development he's looking forward to when it comes to creating "the next adventure".
"It's funny, at the end of a generation you always feel the constraints," says Druckmann. "Like you always feel like you're just pushing against a bunch of walls and finding the little cracks where you can take things a little further. Whether it's like memory, or CPU, or hard drive speed."
"And it's just when you start a new generation there's… it's a double-edged sword because, on the one hand, you have to build new tech for the new hardware and that can be an uphill battle, but on the other hand, then all of a sudden you feel this freedom of like: 'oh my god, we can breathe again and we can break away from these constraints.'"
"One of the things we're excited by is the Solid State Hard Drive (SSD) and what it means for almost seamless loading. Because we do so much work on our end to, once you start the adventure, never see a load screen. And there's so much work that happens behind the scenes of how we design the levels, how we chop them up, and it's all invisible to the player. You never see any of that work, and now, knowing that we're going to be able to load things more quickly, it just means designers don't have to be asked constraints in how they lay things out. How we think about things, when we load new characters. So I'm excited to see what doors that opens for us."
With the Last of Us 2 releasing just a few weeks ago, Druckmann says the team at Naughty Dog will be taking a break before moving on to their next project and doesn't reveal what franchise the team will be working on next. According to PS5 system architect Mark Cerny, the new SSD featured in the PS5 specs is said to load 100 times faster than the PS4, and game load times will be much shorter so players can venture through big virtual worlds "in almost an instant."
The rest of the interview explores some interesting topics, such as the depiction of violence in The Last of Us 2, and the creative processes behind a game's story during development.
Jumping into the journey with Ellie? Here are 11 Last of Us 2 tips to help you endure and survive.