No, A Naughty Dog Artist Didn’t Leak an Unannounced Fantasy Game
Earlier this week, fans noticed that a Naughty Dog artist had posted fantasy-medieval themed artwork that was outwardly ‘inspired by a new game’, leading to speculation that Naughty Dog may be working on an unannounced project in that genre. The artist has now confirmed to IGN that that is not the case, and that the artwork was inspired by Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Hyoung Nam, a senior concept artist for Naughty Dog, posted three pieces of artwork under the title “The Women of North” in November, comprising a knight sitting beside a slain dragon, a shaman-like figure with a skull headdress and staff, and a green-eyed figure wearing clothes made from animal skin and bones.
The pieces were posted with a caption originally reading, “Inspire from the new game. You know what I’m talking about…” After being circulated this week, some fans and media outlets speculated that the “new game” could be an unannounced Naughty Dog project. However, speaking to IGN, Nam explained, “The illustration is not for ND’s next new game,” and added that this was fan art inspired by and made while the artist played Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (itself released last November).
Nam has now updated the caption to make clear the connection to Valhalla. While some will likely be sad – after all, a dragon-slaying, medieval-shamanic Naughty Dog fantasy game actually sounds pretty amazing – let’s focus on the fact that Nam’s fan art was so cool, it briefly made people imagine an entirely new game. That feels like an artistic achievement in and of itself. It’s worth checking out Nam’s wider portfolio on Artstation, too – particularly if you’re interested in early, painterly takes on The Last of Us Part 2’s many characters.
As for what Naughty Dog actually has for us next, that’s hard to tell. We know that there’s no DLC planned for The Last of Us Part 2, but that there could still be a standalone multiplayer mode in the vein of the first game’s Factions. Whatever it is, Naughty Dog has stepped up hiring, with studio co-president Neil Druckmann saying, “Come work with us! We’re making something very cool!”
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