Another Naughty Dog Boss Leaves...Is Anyone Else Concerned?
I suppose I'm overreacting. I mean, I'm sure Naughty Dog is still well-equipped to produce yet another stunning product.
That being said, I have to admit that it's a little disconcerting to see two very important individuals leave, presumably for greener pastures.
First was lead writer Amy Hennig and without her, the acclaimed Uncharted franchise wouldn't be where it is today. That's a given. Now, as revealed by IGN, Uncharted 4 game director Justin Richmond has left the studio:
"I have, in fact, made the decision to leave Naughty Dog. I love the company and the people and know that they will continue to create awesome games going forward. On a happier note, after careful consideration and exploration I have joined Riot Games. There is some really innovative stuff going on here that I can't wait to be a part of."
For the record, those rumors about Hennig being "forced out" apparently weren't true, as Naughty Dog later clarified that it wasn't the result of a clash with creative directors Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley. But now you've lost the game director for Uncharted 4? Sony claims it won't have any bearing on the title's development, but I find that somewhat difficult to believe.
And while I'm sure Richmond is looking forward to his new job at Riot, and I have no doubt Hennig will be in high demand, I have to ask: Were these two really lured away by projects they'd be more interested in than Uncharted 4? If you ask a hundred designers right now which franchise they'd love to be involved with, I'm willing to bet that a hefty portion would name Uncharted among their top picks. Naughty Dog has just been so far ahead of the curve for so long, as far as I'm concerned.
Now, to have the lead writer and game director disappear within a matter of months...it's just difficult to view this as anything but the result of some internal strife. That's all I'm saying.
3/27/2014 9:42:35 PM Ben Dutka