The Last Of Us is one of the most successful video games of the past decade, selling millions of copies and now spawning a hit HBO television show. However, one of the key creatives behind the original game wasn’t credited in that HBO show–and it’s made him rethink his position on workers’ rights issues in the gaming industry.
In a recent interview with the LA Times, Bruce Straley, the co-director of the original The Last Of Us, notes that his name does not appear anywhere in the HBO show’s credits, despite serving a vital role in the game’s conception. Straley left developer Naughty Dog after the release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and did not contribute to The Last Of Us 2.
Straley says that the lack of credit has made him wonder if the video game industry really does need unionization. “It’s an argument for unionization that someone who was part of the co-creation of that world and those characters isn’t getting a credit or a nickel for the work they put into it,” he told the LA Times. “Maybe we need unions in the video game industry to be able to protect creators.”
Notably, Naughty Dog’s co-presidents Neil Druckmann and Evan Wells spoke out against unions back in 2021. Straley got his start at Naughty Dog working as an artist on games like Crash Team Racing and the Jak series. He says he left the studio in part due to burnout. He is currently involved with starting his own studio, Wildflower Interactive. He also said in the interview that if he made The Last of Us today, it would be even darker in tone due to the lingering trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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