Interesting comment : "Yes. We don’t have specific titles and do whatever is needed."
Haven't played Uncharted 4, but Last of Us is a masterpiece.
Really? I bought and played that game on the PS3 and thought it was pretty good and that's about it. I didn't think any part of it was especially novel.
I still remember my room mates watching me play from the other room like it was a TV show they were invested in. One of my favourite all time games.
It was plotted like a TV show and so rather than feeling fresh, I felt like I already knew what would happen. It was too predictable.
For example, at one point Ellie gets caught and wakes up in a cage. I couldn't help but roll my eyes and thing "gee, I wonder if she'll escape".
Like I said in another comment, I think the hype surrounding the game had set my expectations way too high and I ended up being disappointed in what was really a good game.
I think it was an okay game, but it was definitely overhyped.
When I say the game disappointed me, I only mean in relation to the hype at the time. Some people have gone as far as calling Last of Us the Citizen Cane of gaming.
Also I felt it was the pinnacle of Naughty Dog storytelling, driven by the lessons they had learned in the excellent Uncharted series. The fact they were able to create a game in which nearly the entire time is spent side-by-side with an AI-driven character you start to really care about was quite an accomplishment.
One more thing that sticks out for me is that I'd say Last of Us has the most gripping prologue / first ten minutes I have ever seen in a video game, and that that narrative is held quite taut throughout the game.
The game has an average rating of 95 on Metacritic, so I realize this is the mainstream take on it, but I still think the hype is justified in this case.
I think the hype played a part in my feeling let down by the game. I was expecting to be blown away and so merely enjoying my time with the game was a bummer.
As someone who had just become a father less than a year before TLoU came out the prologue was literally the most emotional moment I had as a result of playing a video game in my life. I've had others, the end of HL2: Episode 2 struck a pretty big chord for me as well in particular, but I think it will take a long time for another game to come out that can make me feel something like that again.
Overall I'd agree with your assessment (and really, it applies to ever modern Naughty Dog title) - the gameplay is above-average but serves more as a vehicle to drive the story, but unlike many other "cinematic" games it doesn't detract from it and make the whole of the work feel half-baked.
I can understand wanting to skip past the lengthy dialogue, but you're missing out on a lot of the kooky fun of the MGS franchise if you just skip past the cutscenes. If it's not your thing that's totally fine, but the MGS story is best enjoyed when not taken too seriously and just as a fun ride, and I'm guessing that might be your issue with it (please, correct me if I am off base here!)
BTW, that's another thing that Last of Us got right - the length of the game was perfect (for me).
The impressive bits were IMHO the setting and the story.
We all know what happens when this rule is not followed. See: Daikatana. Another example: the companion Lydia from Skyrim is basically programmed without any idea of stealth, subtlety, or nuance in combat situations and routinely charges headfirst into battle, putting herself at great risk of getting killed as well as compromising your position.
Generally in The Last of Us, a companion character being killed is a game over condition. If enemies were sensitive to their presence during the stealth bits, they would either have to use the environment and available cover absolutely perfectly, or they would put the player in jeopardy of a game-over without them doing anything to warrant it. The player already has enough to think about. Having to worry about what Ellie is doing and whether she fucks off someplace, attracts a Clicker, and gets bitten while not being able to do anything useful about it is a burden the player can't handle.
At least you can order Lydia around, or send her home. No such option exists with the TLOU companions, and you're stuck with them. I forgive Naughty Dog for putting gameplay above absolute realism.
I loved TLoU, so I might be biased, but I tend to be pretty forgiving of companion weirdness in games -- I can appreciate how hard it is to make that work.
Fallout 4 has similar problems, but they've at least made it harder for your dumb old companion to ruin your life -- before, Dogmeat (a companion German Shepherd) would just wander through tripwires and lasers and stuff. Now, they still act a little wonky, but they don't call attention to YOU while they're doing it. That was pretty annoying.
Interesting tidbit: ActionScript was his first language and he still uses it to prototype tools.
I know someone who worked on Tomb Raider 2, 3 and 4. he's not poor.
Don't go into game development looking for a good wage, industry usually pays 60-70% what you see for equivalent SE jobs.
That's all the bonus/royalty/atta-boy I ever saw in my times in games. The 90/10 rule is in full effect in that industry where the top 10% make 90% of the profits.
These days royalties are pretty rare I think. But it's common to get stock and/or profit sharing in the form of annual bonuses based on how the company as a whole did. That's how EA works, for example.