The Last of Us Director Neil Druckmann wants to reinvent Valve's Half-Life series with a brand-new game from the team at Naughty Dog.
From tackling the mould-ravaged zombies known as the Infected to helping Gordon Freeman escape ravenous aliens in the depths of space, Naughty Dog boss and The Last of Us Director, Neil Druckmann would love to tackle a new Half-Life game. Just like Naughty Dog has become known for the survival horror that is The Last of Us, Valve carved a name for itself with Half-Life and its complicated legacy.
Following numerous expansions to the 1998 original, Half-Life lived on in the form of 2004's sequel. Various projects have been cancelled, meaning a third game has never seen the light of day. After lying dormant for 13 years and the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, 2020 gave players hope with the long-awaited release of Half-Life: Alyx as a VR first-person shooter set between the events of the first two games.
As Alyx opens the doors to the Black Mesa Research Facility once again, there's hope that things will move forward with a new era. Could that era be headed up by Neil Druckmann?
Could The Last of Us' Neil Druckmann make a Half-Life game?
Posting on Twitter as a response to Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller asking what IPs Druckmann would like to work on, he gave his Top 5, including the Punisher comics, Half-Life, Marvel's Ghost Rider, Devolver's Hotline Miami, and the anime Cowboy Bebop. It's quite an eclectic mix that would definitely keep Druckmann busy for the rest of his days. It's interesting to note he only ranked Half-Life at No. 2 and actually put Punisher first - more on him later.
It's unclear what happens next with Half-Life. In 2006, Valve boss Gabe Newell referred to the Half-Life 2 episodes as the "first part" of Half-Life 3. Episodes like the mythical "Return to Ravenholm" have been lost over the years, while a full-blown third game was given the boot in 2013/2014 because the Source 2 engine apparently wasn't stable enough. Druckmann working on Half-Life 3 would be a major coup, however, Valve is unlikely to give up the opportunity to create the next entry, even if it is for Druckmann.
What else does Neil Drukmann want to make?
Aside from tackling Half-Life, others suggested Druckmann could develop a Princess Mononoke game. Druckmann himself responded and said he'd actually like to work on a Kiki's Delivery Service adaptation that would turn the beloved anime into an open world game. You might also remember there was a nod to the bloody Hotline Miami in The Last of Us Part 2 when a copy of the cult classic was seen on a PlayStation Vita (or all things).
But what about Druckmann's top choice of Punisher? With reports of a Marvel Gaming Universe to try and capture the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a bloody Punisher game isn't too far out of the realm of possibility. Although Druckmann doesn't go on to reveal why he picked Frank Castle and his vengeful alter ego, we know Druckmann and Naughty Dog can handle vengeance missions thanks to The Last of Us Part 2.
Only recently, voice actor Troy Baker set tongues wagging with another tease of a secret Daredevil game from Marvel that would be set in the same canon as Insomniac's Spider-Man. It's hopefully only a matter of time before Insomniac's world starts to expand, and if it does, giving Druckmann control of a bloody Punisher spin-off is almost too tempting an offer to pass up on. Druckmann's words come hot off the heels of God of War's Cory Barlog saying he hopes someone makes an open world Star Wars game based on The Mandalorian.
Ironically, Barlog's wish might've come true with the news Ubisoft is working on a massive open world game set in that galaxy far, far away. Ultimately, Barlog and Druckmann are experts in their field and must get continuously asked what games they'd like to develop. It's probably just a wish list of things that'll never happen. Still, who wouldn't want to see the man behind The Last of Us give new life to Half-Life?
Images via Naughty Dog | Valve