PS3 News: Another Departs Naughty Dog...Should We Be Worried Yet? - PS3 News

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Another Departs Naughty Dog...Should We Be Worried Yet?

This is starting to get worrisome.

Thus far in 2014, developer Naughty Dog has lost lead writer Amy Hennig, Uncharted 4 director Justin Richmond, lead artist Nate Wells, and actor Todd Stashwick. Now it looks like we can add another name to the departure list.

As spotted by Superannuation, current lead character artist Michael Knowland has updated his LinkedIn page with the information that his tenure at Naughty Dog is over. Or rather, that it will be over very soon. Neither the studio nor Sony has confirmed Knowland's departure but if true, it's somewhat concerning. These aren't just employees that are leaving; these are very important employees that are opting to take off.

Sony maintains that development on the new Uncharted remains "on track," but one has to wonder...what's going on with Naughty Dog? Nothing? Something?

Tags: naughty dog, naughty dog games, naughty dog employees, michael knowland

4/28/2014 9:22:19 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (43 posts)

Neokilroy
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 10:22:41 PM
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Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin are Naughty Dog. I don't really care who's trying to fill/not fill the shoes now. Once those two left it was over for me.

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Banky A
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 10:23:37 PM
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Sony pushed them for the wrong game. The money doesn't spark their current creative circuits.

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paulinacio
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 8:35:08 AM

I don't see Sony forcing them, since all Devs say they love the amount of freedom Sony gives to develop games

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Neokilroy
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 10:28:02 PM
Reply

I knew we were heading for trouble when Naughty Dog said that they tried to "Re-imagine" Jak and Daxter. Naughty Dog's gold list credibility left with Jason in 2004.

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Temjin001
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 10:33:02 PM
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I don't know what to think. These people who left likely worked on the upcoming Uncharted so their lose won't be felt until some future title.
I'd imagine Sony would scout top talent for their replacement.

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Gamer46
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 2:49:08 AM

Whether their work was or wasn't done on Uncharted 4 doesn't matter. The fact they're gone is terrible and Sony is stupid for allowing this to happen to what was the best developer of last gen.

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MeXiCaNFiGhTe12
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 11:05:02 PM
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Well I guess the only positive thing about this is that those talented people can influence other games with a different company.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 11:12:04 PM

Cept who cares if a creative mind like Hennig is working on Star Wars? I mean, it's star wars for cryin out loud it's a children's entertainment property.

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Nix50
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 7:53:54 AM

@World maybe those that are interested in such a franchise would care in hearing news like that. Just because you're not in to it doesn't mean other people won't be. Quit being narrow minded.

Last edited by Nix50 on 4/29/2014 7:55:41 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 9:52:11 AM

Don't be ridiculous, I love Star Wars.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 @ 3:47:32 PM

World is right, Nix. Disney is a Children's Entertainment property. He wasn't flaming.

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Knightzane
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 11:09:44 PM
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In chess you gotta make sacrifices. In order for ND to keep up, they gotta compete with the only threat to uncharted, tomb raider, so bringing uncharted to an M rating HAS to be the issue some of these guys are having. Either way, not too worried. ND wasn't built by just those people, it was everyone who worked with them.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 11:12:38 PM

Who brought Uncharted to an M rating?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 11:11:14 PM
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I think Naughty Dog will probably not be as great a developer on PS4 as they were on PS3. Someone else is going to have to step up. Once you take out enough important load bearing pillars the structure comes down and teams aren't working with the same flow as before.

No day 1 for Uncharted 4.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 12:22:00 AM

not a shabby pile of down votes you got there World ;)

…and I'm thinking you've never day one purchased an Uncharted game anyhow. Yep?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 12:31:04 AM

I might have for UC2, I don't recall. It's different though, PS4 is having a gigantic drought right now and for the foreseeable future.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 9:59:04 AM

good thing you've got the trusty Vita at your side with it's stack of great games to play…. DOH!

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bigrailer19
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 5:18:22 PM

I don't think there's really a drought I've not been able to keep up with the PS4 games to date. It really just depends on what you want to play. But even then it's almost got all genres covered, but pretty sparcely maybe 1 or 2 games in each with the exception of the FPS genre.

I think I have 6 PS4 games and I've only completed two of them. I'm onto FF14 now which will create an even larger back log.

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homura
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 11:24:38 PM
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Probably they're finished with the Uncharted franchise and the upcoming 4th installment is going to be the last. And The Last Of Us will never have a sequel cause it is quite majestic as it is. Maybe they are planning for a new IP.

I'm not worried but if Erick Pangilinan, Neil and Bruce leaves Naughty Dog, that's the time I will.

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Xombito
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 11:29:49 PM
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There were massive changes in the company has they grew. Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin found the company and they left and then we got the Uncharted series and Tlou. Often the ones working under those who were leading come up and replace them and may deliver more than the previous person. A good example of this is Cory Balrog who directed God of War II taking over David Jaffe at Sony Santa Monica. Then he left but the series remained solid. Until I see a working build of Uncharted is when I to make judgments.

Last edited by Xombito on 4/28/2014 11:30:46 PM

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Killa Tequilla
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 12:26:25 AM
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The end has begun

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Cesar_ser_4
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 12:38:32 AM
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I'm wondering if Sony is ever going to be the same this gen with all this internal movement they got going on.

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Gamer46
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 2:42:37 AM

It won't be. Already we've seen it with infamous: Second Son being good but no where near as good as it should be that Sony is going to struggle. Killzone disappointed many, Knack is terrible, that joke of a studio Evolution still can't get Drive Club out the door when its had more than enough time to do so by now, The Order probably won't be out this year, Santa Monica has been completely destroyed by the morons at Sony and Naughty Dog has lost very key people. PS4 may be selling well now, but we'll see if that continues once people realize it has no exclusive worth anything and won't for this entire generation if things don't take a massive turn for the better and soon.

Last edited by Gamer46 on 4/29/2014 2:43:35 AM

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Draguss
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 12:56:32 AM
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Maybe they just didn't think U4 was a good idea and wanted to do something else?

...I'm gonna get lynched for suggesting that, aren't I...

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Banky A
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 6:22:43 AM

And so you said it anyway. Yes the game Sony wants is not what they want.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 1:14:43 AM
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Transition phase for the industry... All the big players are trying to get the best of the best. I don't see what's so surprising about the folks with the best resumes getting big offers here and there.

I'll be worried when Uncharted starts pulling in 7 and 8 scores.

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Big_Boss90
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 1:23:38 AM
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No i agree with you draguss maybe they did think it was a bad idea, because i definitely think so. Soon uncharted will become a cash grab like so many games today.

Ps. Bring it on uncharted fanboys stone me to death for speaking the truth...

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Big_Boss90
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 1:31:29 AM
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I will say it again as i said before UNCHARTED is way to overrated i sware people make it seem like its the greatest thing to happen to gaming lol... its just another shooter... i love the series up until U2 , and 3 that was a nose dive from 2 and it looks like U4 will also be heading in the same direction...

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Underdog15
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 7:36:04 AM

You sware, eh?

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Gamer46
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 2:38:32 AM
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Naughty Dog is a shell of its former self unfortunately.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 4:08:25 AM
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Time to do some real journalism now, Ben. It's really quite sad to see all gaming "journalists" sitting on the fence and all asking the same questions - to themselves, patiently waiting for someone to feed them a public statement.

Grab this ball, reach out to some names - not media and press contacts, they never give anything intersting away - but employees, business associates, industry insiders. Play it clever, do it elegantly, use your instinct and your wit.
You *may* uncover something, and if so, it's *your* turn to be referred to and quoted and linked to from the rest of the entire gaming press world.


Last edited by Beamboom on 4/29/2014 4:09:30 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 9:54:05 AM

If I lived near their studio I'd pull a Sherlock and wind up buying them drinks at their favorite watering hole, get them talking.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 11:19:14 AM

There's a reason why nobody, not even the biggest sources, have done that, Beam. Well, several reasons, actually:

1. It takes a LOT of legwork and a LOT of time, two things most journalists don't have a lot of. On top of which, by the time you learn anything, chances are, we'd already have that public statement from Sony or Naughty Dog.

2. You can easily rub the wrong people the wrong way. Getting individuals to talk, especially ex-employees, isn't that hard. However, publishing something they said - which is bound to be unflattering - may rub the developer/publisher the wrong way.

Problem there is that they're the ones who supply you with press releases and review copies; the individuals do nothing for you.

3. I hate to say this, but 99% of game journalists don't get paid enough for this. For many, it's only a part-time gig. For those who do it for a living for the bigger sources, as I said above, they've got a zillion other things to do.

I'm not saying nobody should try. And I'm not saying nobody will. I'm giving you the reasons why most journalists won't.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 4/29/2014 11:19:55 AM

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Beamboom
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 1:31:42 PM

So in short, what you're saying Ben is that there are no journalists in the gaming press. Cause those reasons are not the sound coming from a journalist.

A journalist would see this is a scoop regardless if his article is published just 24 hours before a public announcement would have been made anyway.

And if someone is afraid to rub anyone the wrong way he should not have the nerve to even attempt to call himself a journalist.

A journalist has the right to protect his sources. It's not like he would publish an article saying "JOHN SMITH, 3D MODELLER AT NAUGHTY DOG, TOLD ME THEY ARE ABOUT TO BE SOLD TO EA". He would collect the pieces of info obtained here and there, get the info confirmed by several sources and stitch the parts together to a story... In short: Do journalistic work!

But I've said this before: The gaming press need more *journalists*, and not just reviewers who do this in their spare time for some freebies.


Last edited by Beamboom on 4/29/2014 1:47:24 PM

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Beamboom
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 1:54:25 PM

World, good idea :) but you don't need to live nearby to get anywhere. You can hang out with'em virtually.

Start by collecting a rooster of names that could be of interest. That'll take you five minutes; Just write down the credits roll in any ND game. It's handed to you on a silver plate!

Then look'em up. Their mail address, LinkedIn profile, community forums, business forums, other social media. Google is your friend.

Now, this should of course be done long before a crisis happened at ND (if that is the case). During hard times they would naturally be weary of strange new names popping up attempting to contact them. But if that process had started, say, three years ago, after UC3 were released? That's when one establish contacts, when things go well and all is fine.

Dedicate an hour each day to build and maintain a network of contacts, then you got connections later when you need'em.

And again: Press contacts are the *least* interesting persons to get in touch with. Much, much more interesting is the little guy who work as an audio technician, storyboard illustrator or maintain their server infrastructure. Those are the ones you want to get in touch with. They are regular guys, with a regular social media activity.

*That's* journalism.

Last edited by Beamboom on 4/29/2014 2:06:22 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 2:43:59 PM

"But I've said this before: The gaming press need more *journalists*, and not just reviewers who do this in their spare time for some freebies."

Then you need to find a way for journalists to get paid writing for online sites. Most positions are entirely voluntary and most of the remaining positions offer barely a few bucks a month. It's not a matter of incentive; it's not a matter of "doing your job."

It's a matter of time and money. Most game journalists have to have other jobs. It's a matter of priorities; you can either spend your day hunting down leads for this Uncharted story, for which you'll get paid little or nothing, or you can work a job that actually pays the bills.

For a long time now, you've been laboring under the misconception that game journalists are well-paid individuals. Even the very few who can say they do this full-time get paid very poorly when compared to most any other job. Those who work at GameSpot, for example, work ridiculous hours and I know what their salaries are...barely enough to live on, especially if you're working out of their headquarters in San Francisco.

Don't act like we don't WANT to chase down leads and find great tipsters and all that. You need to realize that it's basically impossible from a financial and time perspective.

You're just not getting all of this, obviously.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 4/29/2014 2:45:18 PM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 @ 2:50:41 AM

Ben, it's not that I don't "get it". Had we been having this conversation over a beer I'm sure we'd pretty much been in full agreement of the problem here. You are just a bit more pragmatic over it than me. I do get frustrated over this, and I am exclusively ranting over this from an end user perspective.

Never have I imagined that gaming journalism is a lucrative job. In fact I *know* it's not. Remember, I've been working in a media house for several years, and they also owned gaming sites. I know what these guys worked for, and how they got recruited. They are not journalists - and never will be with this kind of attitude you reflect here.

For me this is a question of pride. Pride in what one do, pride in their craft. So I don't care if they get paid or not (except, of course, for the obvious problem that actual journalists don't apply for jobs that's not paid):

If one is a budding journalist wanting to learn the trade, gaming is just as good a field as any to gain that experience. But you must WANT to do journalistic work, and at least have a very basic understanding of how to do it (ergo, an education). I mean, if you can't get any money out of it then at *least* aim for getting some experience out of it! And there's not much journalistic experience to be gained from rephrasing press releases and other sites articles. Who the heck want to pay good money for that anyway? Anyone with a vocabulary can do that, and step up on a soap box now and then.

And if we on top of THAT add a fear of "rubbing people the wrong way" - well then this passiveness is the death of any glimmer of hope for this sad state of affairs to change anytime soon.


Last edited by Beamboom on 4/30/2014 5:21:41 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 @ 11:27:51 AM

Beamboom: No, you're still not getting it.

Most everyone in the industry has great pride in what they do. I repeat: It's not that we don't WANT to chase down tipsters and find great inside contacts. It has nothing to do with the money incentive; it has everything to do with the LACK OF MONEY AND TIME.

We have to work other jobs. Just about all of us do. We have other things in our lives. If we HAD the time to do what you propose, I guarantee you we all would. We don't. We really, really don't. And yeah, when you make so little and have so little, you're more inclined to protect what little you have; hence, angering publishers and developers for a scoop that's going to grant you nothing but pride makes little sense.

You're not getting the practical point I'm making here. In college, you can be an intern and spend your days getting experience and loving every minute of it. You can't KEEP being an intern once your out of school and living in reality. And what's the point of earning experience when even the most sought-after jobs in this particular field still pay like crap?

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 4/30/2014 11:30:45 AM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 @ 4:04:17 PM

I would spend the rest of my days writing if I knew it would keep my kids fed.

The "investigative journalist" of the 1920's doesn't exist anymore. The only thing similar is in the form of highly funded "documentarians", who often have a personal agenda, or major visual media sources (like CNN, CBC, or BBC) who have funding to have investigative editorialists travel around the world on a good full time salary with benefits.

Remember back when Ben opened up the possibility to the community to apply to be volunteer writers for the site? I believe only World has kept that up. I very much was interested in "applying". Heck, I would have loved to do it. But I didn't because I don't have time, and it wouldn't be able to remunerate any time I did give. And I didn't feel good about taking a spot someone else might have liked knowing I wouldn't be able to be a regular contributor.

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___________
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 4:26:09 AM
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half the studios lead developers leave within the space of a few weeks, but nah why should that worry you!
its just going to slow down development time and there going to have to look to others to fill those shoes wasting even more time, not to mention they have lost some amazing talent, but nah who cares thats not worrying at all!
if your not worried about ND theres only 2 reasons.
A you dont give a sh*t about them, which then your not a gamer, because they have put out some of the industries best!
or B your seriously in denial!

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Advent Child
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 6:35:03 AM
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Yep I am now officially worried. Not sure exactly what that means at the moment but I am there.

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telly
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 @ 12:56:06 PM
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I've BEEN worried for some time now, and this is just one more reason to be. Clearly something is wrong over there. My best guess is a combination of creative stagnation -- you know Sony has put enormous pressure on them to keep making uncharteds and TLoUs, and for them to check certain boxes. Not an ideal climate for great game developers looking to make new IPs -- and poaching from other other studios. Naughty Dog was so far ahead of the curve last gen, it stands to reason that their competition would do everything they could to pick off the talent.

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ricksterj
Sunday, May 04, 2014 @ 12:25:36 PM
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Phenomenal people NEVER stay long.

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