Love it or loathe it, but The Last of Us Part II shipped last year and earned plenty of awards for developer Naughty Dog in the process. It also picked up a ton of discourse, some of it fantastic, a lot of it bonkers knee-jerk reactions from very upset children on Metacritic but screw it, that conversation is over. The real question is, what’s next for Naughty Dog?
While I doubt that the studio’s next project will be The Lastest of Us: For Reals This Time, the studio is likely looking towards the future for its next project. That doesn’t mean that a fan can’t dream of what certain other properties would look like in the hands of Naughty Dog! Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller asked Naughty Dog’s big cheese Neil Druckmann to provide a top-five list of games that he’d love to develop if given a chance to do so, and at the top of his wishlist was Marvel’s resident anti-hero Fran Castle AKA The Punisher:
That…would be an interesting team-up. On a technical level, Naughty Dog has created some of the best-looking games of the 2010s, and with Uncharted it has proven that it knows how to frame a kickass gunfight. Narratively is where I think Druckmann and his team could shine though, especially with a character who can easily be a complex examination of revenge or a more simple force of destruction that believes in ridding the world of anyone who gets in his way.
The Last of Us Part II was an amazing story about the harmful cycle of revenge and hate, so seeing themes from that game echo in a Punisher game? I’d play that! It’d probably also be a much better experience than the last game starring Castle, 2009’s The Punisher: No Mercy. Essentially a rubbish FPS that had you facing off against bots, it was panned on release and eventually booted from the PlayStation 3 in 2011 when developer Zen Studio’s Marvel license expired.
For now, a Naughty Dog game starring the Punisher is just a pipe dream. If Marvel’s listening though and it wants to earn back some goodwill from fans after the dismal disappointment that was Marvel’s Avengers, here’s your chance to throw a license at a studio which knows how to weave a complex narrative and still let players have a blast in the process.
Or we could do with a proper remaster of the 2004 third-person shooter that was a mix of Max Payne and the SAW movies, would also be brilliant.
Last Updated: January 20, 2021