It’s impossible to summarize 18 of the most influential years of my career in a blog post, but here we are — today, with the heaviest of hearts, I am announcing my departure from Naughty Dog.
This has been the hardest decision of my career. Naughty Dog is home. The Kennel is family. I’ve learned and grown so much from working with this incredible team. But after heading up three extremely demanding projects, and taking some extended time away from the office, I found my energy focusing in other directions, and I slowly realized this was the signal that it’s time to move on.
I joined the Kennel in 1999 as a texture artist on Crash Team Racing. Back before Naughty Dog even had a coffee maker. I was employee #15. From day one, I knew I was surrounded by some of the most talented, driven, and passionate people in the industry. They were pushing themselves to do things beyond what they even thought was possible, which in turn pushed me, and I loved it! I mean, it was also extremely intimidating, but the energy and determination to make something great, something we could all be proud of, was infectious. And that’s the way it still is to this day. read more...
Uncharted 4 was a big deal. It was the end for a hero we’d spent nearly a decade with and, 15 months ago, we got to finally share the conclusion of Nathan Drake’s story with the world. It was amazing to see the reception of Nate’s last adventure, and it made all the team’s effort worth it. Then (after a much needed break), we came back to the studio to think about the seemingly unthinkable: Could we make an Uncharted without Nathan Drake? To us, Uncharted has always been about the ensemble. Over the years, we’ve spent time with many colorful allies and adversaries, each with their own quirks and personalities. We love that everyone at the studio has their own favorite Uncharted character, so we saw this new project as an opportunity to take characters we love and shine a spotlight on them, to really give them the full Uncharted treatment.
At Naughty Dog, we don’t embark on a project unless we think we have a story worth telling and new challenges to tackle. With Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross, we knew we had something special, and the team was on board to dip in for one more helping of adventure. Today, just over a year later, you can get your hands on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy--the result of hundreds of the most incredibly talented and passionate individuals in the industry pouring just as much of their heart into Chloe’s journey as any of Nathan’s past. We knew this adventure through the Western Ghats of India was an ambitious one: chock full of touching moments, incredible vistas, daring escapes, and epic blockbuster sequences. Somehow, the team has pulled it off again and the result is truly stunning. It’s a humbling reminder that with the right team, even the unthinkable is possible.
We at Naughty Dog thank your continued support that allows us to make the games we love, with the characters we adore. We couldn’t be more proud of this game, and we hope you have room in your heart for another Uncharted hero.
Have fun out there,
Kurt & Shaun