Naughty Dog's Future Uncertain As Yet Another Director Leaves
It seems that Uncharted and The Last of Us studio Naughty Dog has taken another hit. In a tweet late yesterday, The Last of Us lead artist Nate Wells announced that he has left Naughty Dog for The Unfinished Swan developer Giant Sparrow.
Before joining Naughty Dog in August 2012 to take up as lead artist for The Last of Us, Wells work at Irrational Games for 13 years, working on games such as Bioshock Infinite as art director. According to the tweet that Wells posted, he had left for the Santa Monica based studio Giant Sparrow in early April. The twitter post stated:
"Hmmm....seem to be some threads here. Yes, I joined the wild, wacky, and ultimately brilliant folks at #GiantSparrow on April 3rd."
The departure of Wells marks the third departure that Naughty Dog has seen recently.
In early March, Uncharted series creative director Amy Hennig departed from the studio, and has since on with EA's Visceral Games to work on the studio's upcoming Star Wars game. Later in March, Uncharted 4 game director Justin Richmond left Naughty Dog for League of Legends developer Riot Games.
Developer Giant Sparrow is currently under a three-game contract with Sony, with the 2012 release The Unfinished Swan being the first game on that contract. In March of last year, Giant Sparrow announced their second game under the title Edith Finch, which is not a sequel to The Unfinished Swan, but not "a million miles away either." Since the announcement, the studio has retracted the name, and are now referring to the game as "Unannounced Giant Sparrow Project."
With the departure of Nate Wells, I am beginning to question the future of Naughty Dog.
It seems that many of their high-profile team members are leaving the company, despite working on the sequel of what is perhaps their biggest franchise: Uncharted. I am really nervous about the future of the studio's franchises, as I really do enjoy their games, and I really hope that the quality of what they put out is not affected. I also hope that the studio will not continue to see departures. While I am nervous about Naughty Dog, I'm really excited about Giant Sparrow studios. The Unfinished Swan was a great game, and I hope Wells brings something great to their next project. Time will tell.