Bruce Straley, the co-director of Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed hit “The Last Of Us”, is departing Naughty Dog after 18 years. Straley announced his departure on the official Naughty Dog blog today, citing an extended hiatus and a number of demanding projects playing a part in his decision to leave the studio.
Straley claims that after working on The Last Of Us, its expansion “Left Behind“, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and following a year-long sabbatical, he found his creative energy going in a different direction, and thus made the hard decision to leave Naughty Dog for other pursuits.
Bruce Straley first joined Naughty Dog around the time that the studio was working on Crash Team Racing, back in 1999. Serving as an artist on that game, Straley would then help Naughty Dog with the art on other games, including the Jak and Daxter series before serving as co-art director on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and game director for future Uncharted games.
Straley’s departure not only means that Naughty Dog will lose a talented artist, but one of its oldest employees as well. The studio opened in 1985, but didn’t produce its first well-regarded game, Crash Bandicoot, until 1996. From there the studio grew in talent and writing and continued to churn out well-regarded and critically acclaimed games, with Uncharted 4 being its most recent.
Bruce Straley has said in the blog post announcing his resignation that he had no idea where his next pursuit would be. However, hopefully it will prove just as rewarding for him as Naughty Dog did, and hopefully Naughty Dog will be able to find someone that equals Straley’s talents to work not only on art for their games, but to direct games as a whole.
All the same we wish Mr. Straley good luck in his future endeavors, and hope he finds something he finds fun to work on.