In an interview with Gameinformer, Naughty Dog co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra confirmed that The Last of Us game director Bruce Straley and creative director Neil Druckman are leading development on Uncharted PS4. Gameinformer asked for confirmation that the duo had stepped in during the transition period after Amy Hennig and Justin Richmond’s departure. Well replied “It’s not so much a transition period, actually. We’ve asked them to lead the project. They are excited as veterans of the Uncharted franchise to take the responsibility and they’re doing great.”
Both Druckman and Straley previously worked on the first two Uncharted games, after which they departed to lead Naughty Dogs second team on The Last of Us. During that time period, Hennig and Richmond lead the team responsible for Uncharted 3. Wells and Balestra spoke quite negatively about the reports that surfaced around Hennigs departure.
“To us, it’s kind of strange because the perception and what’s being “reported” is in stark contrast to the feeling here at the studio, Everyone here is energized and excited to show off what we’ve been working on. There are no doom and gloom feelings, unlike what’s being portrayed by the “journalists” that are writing these stories. It would be comical if it hadn’t persisted as long as it has – it’s just not going away. Every single departure, or now even hires, are being reported as if it’s big news.”
They went on to say how in the last ten years, these type of high level departures are nothing new. “…we’ve had art directors, creative directors, co-presidents, and co-founders, leave the company and we just keep going. We’ve replaced that talent and we’ve filled the gaps. Some bumps are harder to smooth out than others. We work it out.” Wells and Balestra also confirmed that another project is being worked on at Naughty Dog besides Uncharted PS4 though it is in “very early pre-production stages.” They confirmed that this shuffle of talent would not effect that project either.
by, Bobby Marquardt