the last of us
“The Last of Us” is the first video game to be adapted to a live-action series on HBO and has a rating of 97% by critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

“The Last of Us” is trending and for all good reasons. Rotten Tomatoes rated the drama series an impressive 97% with the latest episode hitting a high in viewership of 7.5 million people tuning in across HBO and HBO Max, despite going head-to-head with the 2023 Grammy awards. 

But its greater success could be how it’s elevated video games into a serious subject area — one that puts students into a lucrative career path.

“The Last of Us Part 2” is the third highest-grossing game ever on PlayStation in the US.

Together with  Uncharted 4, they reportedly generated around US$1 billion in revenue last year for Naughty Dog, the studio that produced them.

What does it take to join Naughty Dog or any of the top video game companies today? The education of the creators of “The Last of US” may hold some clues.

The education of the developers behind “The Last of Us” and the top video games of all time

the last of us

Neil Druckmann is the writer of “The Last of Us” storyline in both the game and the action drama adaptation. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Neil Druckmann

Born and raised in Israel until the age of 10, Neil Druckmann took on the roles of a writer, creative director and programmer in the video games “The Last of Us” and “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

He received high praise for his work on “The Last of Us” which received several awards and nominations for his contributions, including two BAFTA Awards and two DICE Awards.

He originally wanted to become an animator but took a programming class and realised that was what he wanted to pursue instead.

He completed a Bachelor in Computer Science at Florida State University and went on to earn his master’s degree in entertainment technology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

David Jones and Mike Dailly 

the last of us

According to ScreenRant, Rockstar Games videogame “Grand Theft Auto V” (GTA 5) had outsold every game in the Assassin’s Creed series in February 2022. Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP

Dundee-born David Jones studied locally in Dundee at Abertay University. He founded DMA Design (now known as Rockstar North) in 1984 and subsequently brought in Mike Dailly as a co-founder and the company’s first employee in 1989. 

Both Jones and Dailly were working on “Race and Chase, a game concept that allowed players to choose to play as either the cops or as the criminals.

As the team expanded, they hired three designers to work on “Grand Theft Auto” (GTA). One of them was John Farley, who holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Dundee. He helped build the Liberty City map and missions.

Hiroyuki Kobayashi


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Hiroyuki Kobayashi is the “Resident Evil” developer and recently left the company Capcom after 27 successful years with them. Kobayashi studied computer science at Chukyo University in Japan.

Upon graduation, he was hired by Capcom in 1995 as a programmer on the first “Resident Evil” game where he also went on to work on the sequel.

His colleague, Shinji Mikami, who directed the first installment of the Resident Evil series in 1996, studied merchandise at Doshisha University.