Fireside Chat: Naughty Dog and Uncharted, Should We Be Worried About Them?

As massive fans of both Naughty Dog and its Uncharted series, Katerina and I sat down for a fireside chat to discuss the recent departures from the prestigious developer. So do you think we should be concerned about Uncharted’s future? And why?

Kae: Maybe a little… I mean it’s obvious that Naughty Dog is good at what they do, but when you have so much faith in specific people and you’re used to the way things are done, you expect certain things from them.  This whole situation just seems bad and sketchy and almost like a “take over” and that might disinterest me. I think once the new Uncharted comes out it will be great, but the whole situation will still leave a bad taste in my mouth. I might be a little more concerned about Naughty Dog’s future than Uncharted’s.

James: In the short-term? Probably. In the long-term? No. I think that it will definitely cause some issues with the development of it, however this issues will only be short-term. It may not make E3 but I imagine they’ll show a demo there, at the very least a trailer. It’s hard to tell not knowing what happened. Naughty Dog doing the remaster of The Last of Us is interesting as it seems like they don’t have two teams but instead that they have one team and half a team. However I’d presume that it’s been in development for a while, indicating that these were planned departures so maybe they were prepared for these.

amy hennig naughty dog uncharted star wars visceral
Amy Henning

Do you think the departures will affect Uncharted’s release time frame?

Kae: I would think the departures would affect it, especially since Todd [Stashwick] is gone. I mean, we don’t know how much of the story is written, but the original idea may be canned now since I’m sure Amy (Hennig) was officially working on the story and Todd was the one character that we actually knew about.  We also never really had any idea on a time frame in the first place, so I don’t see it that way… I just think it might get pushed under the rug for a while because we don’t know anything about it.

James: It’s really hard to tell, not knowing what exactly happened. Maybe they were forced out because they simply weren’t doing a good job but somehow I doubt it. However when you have major upheaval you will most definitely run into issues so I think the release could go from early spring to an early fall release. Plus with losing a voice actor that’s a whole lot of things to reshoot. Todd is probably the larger deal as that will likely take over 6 months to recast and reshoot whereas everything Amy did is written and is Naughty Dog’s property. So I think his departure is vastly more concerning, in terms of release date, than Amy’s.

naughty dog uncharted 4 ps4
Todd Stashwick in full mo-cap for Uncharted 4.

Do you think the departures are connected, if so, how?

Kae: The problem with all of these departures is that it seems suspicious.  Yes, I know that shifts happen like this all of the time in the industry… but this is so many people in such a short amount of time… that’s weird, and the whole situation looks much worse than it probably is.  With Amy leaving/being let go, it seemed like it could have been connected, but now that Todd is gone, it definitely looks like they are.

James: Yes. And no. It seems likely that Todd left as Amy left but I don’t think he was forced out. As for Justin Richmond, no I don’t think it is. It seemed vastly better planned and organised. Plus it’s fairly logical move as he did a lot of the multiplayer stuff on Uncharted 3. The others (Nate Wells etc.) I imagine are also unrelated as people lower down do regularly change jobs and move from project to project. People see a departure and think “Oh it’s connected” when in reality a lot of people leave regularly. So that’s a general no, but I do think Todd left due to Amy’s departure.

So that’s our thoughts on the matter. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know either in the comments bellow or on Twitter. Also check out our recent interview with Naughty Dog’s Eric Monacelli.

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