Yesterday, Sony published a feature-length documentary on YouTube that chronicles the making of The Last Of Us, the post-apocalyptic drama from Naughty Dog (and The A.V. Club readers’ choice for the best game of 2013). The behind-the-scenes look, titled Grounded: The Making Of The Last Of Us, was previously available only as a paid download on the PlayStation 3’s digital store. It was made by Area 5, the production crew behind 1UP.com’s The 1UP Show and the upcoming Outerlands, a 6-part documentary series about video game culture.
The most remarkable thing about the documentary is the extent of the access Area 5 was given. Because they worked hand-in-hand with Naughty Dog, the game’s development studio, Grounded offers extended looks into nearly every facet of the blockbuster game development process, starting with the trepidation that comes with the task of creating a wholly new setting and cast. From there, we catch glimpses of acting sessions, the conception and evolution of the game’s fungus-based zombie outbreak, composer Gustavo Santaolalla creating the game’s phenomenal score, and more. One designer even explains the thinking behind the game’s many, many puzzles that involve moving a ladder from one place to another. (It isn’t a very satisfying explanation.)