The Last of Us Lead Artist Leaves Naughty Dog

By Ishaan . April 21, 2014 . 12:00pm

The Last of Us lead artist Nate Wells has left the employ of Naughty Dog, GamesIndustry reported this morning.


Wells confirmed through his Twitter account that he is no longer with the studio, and is now working at Giant Sparrow, the studio that developed The Unfinished Swan for PlayStation 3. Wells’ Twitter profile lists him as the new art director at the studio.


Giant Sparrow are currently working on a game that they say is “not a million miles away” from The Unfinished Swan, but is not a sequel to that game.


Thus far, Wells is the third high-profile employ to leave Naughty Dog, at least as far as the public is aware. Earlier in the year, Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig parted ways with the studio, and was followed by Uncharted 4 director Justin Richmond.


Hennig now works at Electronic Arts’ Visceral Games, where she is serving as creative director on the studio’s new Star Wars project. Meanwhile, Richmond works at League of Legends developer Riot Games.


Image source: Wells’ Twitter account.

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  • fairysun

    Wait? What? What’s happening in Naughty Dog?

    • MrTyrant

      I’m wondering the same. What the hell is happening there?

    • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

      Perhaps he has always dreamed of working for EA, and on a Star Wars game?

    • Unlimax
      • xavier axol

        I really like that tin foil hat…

      • SlickRoach

        It’s not a coincidence anymore, the Illuminati is behind it all!

    • Duo Maxwell

      Isn’t he just moving to another of studio that’s working for Sony?

    • Stephen Mc Devitt

      More like what’s gonna happen to Naughty Dog. They’ve made so many good games over the years. I hate the idea of the studio suddenly declining in quality.

  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    The people that left (well apart from the writer) really didnt excite me that much with The Last of Us. Regardless, I take it these folks just end up moving on and going to another project after working for awhile, it isnt like this one was there at Naughty Dog before the Last of Us anyway.

    I just want to see e3 and see what will Uncharted 4 be like, teen drake please.

  • That’s too much persons leaving Naughty Dog. What’s going on, seriously? I need to know. Especially since it’s touching The Last of Us now. Why. ;_;

    • AuraGuyChris

      Well, I can speculate that there is a dog who’s been so naughty in there that people got annoyed by it too much that they simply left.

    • E.T.993

      Well, it’s pretty normal. Most of the developers probably didn’t want to make annual sequels to The Last Of Us and make an entire trilogy, as well as more Uncharted sequels.The lead artist?Ever since 2007 with Uncharted, Naughty Dog has only developed realistic-looking games Uncharted and The Last Of Us. NOTHING ELSE.As a lead artist, I’d be fucking bored too and would prefer quitting Naughty Dog because I don’t have anything remotely creative to do.

  • AuraGuyChris

    Yup, so many people in the gaming industry are leaving or dropping out like flies…

  • NintendoPSXTheSecond

    Man some weird shit’s going on with Sony studios eh?

  • otakumike

    Unfinished swan huh? Did he just have too big a paycheck over with ND? Well working with GS will relieve him of that excess cash, I’m sure.

  • ecoutercavalier

    It just keeps happening.

    • Godmars

      Someone at a Sony studio moving over to another Sony Studio?

      • ecoutercavalier

        People leaving Naughty Dog. Read the article next time.

        • Godmars

          I did. And its a Sony-wide issue of late.

          Something which would actually mean something if everyone wasn’t making the same kind of games.

          • ecoutercavalier

            I figured you read it. Just messin’ with you.

            I really have no idea what it means, but I’m sure it’s not a big deal. Just fun to drum up drama, which is what most of Ishaan’s posts are for.

          • Niermyico

            I’m sure is just people expanding on trying a new take on other projects. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not the end of the world.

      • Heisst

        Giant Sparrow isn’t a Sony studio, they’re independent.

        • xavier axol

          but they do have a contract with sony to make them two more exclusive titles like thatgamecompany.
          at the pace they’re going…..might as well be sony studio.

          • Heisst

            That’s like saying Platinum Games is a Nintendo studio because they had a contract to make 2 games for them.

            Having a development contract means nothing in ownership. Sony can’t order them what to do nor would Giant Sparrow be affected by Sony’s mishaps like Sony’s constant ”cutting the fat” method.

          • xavier axol

            may be I should had explain myself further, I understand full well the independences of giant sparrow as a studio. even with the contract, they can still make game for other publishers and make other decision like the independent studio that they are.
            but they are still gonna have that contract biting their ass, and from what I heard it took them years to finish making the unfinished swan. in any case I really liked their game, but I don’t wanna wait that long to see their next project in to fruition (I know, it’s very irrational of me). that’s why I subjected to become one of sony studios.
            as far as “sony’s mishaps” I don’t know what to said…
            but I do know that they’re running a business just like any other publisher, they’re gonna have let-offs and the cancelation on projects in order to save some money in their pockets. can you judge them , or blame them? tell me what other publisher don’t do that now a days.

          • Years to finish, and still it’s unfinished? how unfortunate

          • xavier axol

            I see what you did there, but the concept of the game had so much potential. the end product could had been better if they took even more time with the title, still I would recommend it to anyone, it’s fun, simplistic and the soundtrack is super.

  • Bad dog! *Scolds Naughty Dog*

    • otakumike

      Until we actually hear what’s going on over there aren’t you kind of jumping the gun?

  • Khoko

    I am willing to bet this new ‘super hd’ re-release of TLoU has something to do with it. Sony seems to be really out of touch with people suddenly. The PS4 is selling but the games are lackluster at best. People are leaving left and right from high profile teams and us fans get a slap in the face of a re-release.

    • LustEnvy

      Oh no! They re-released arguably Playstation’s best game last gen for the new console, which many new gamers who didn’t own a PS3 will have the ability to enjoy! What horrible business sense!

      I’m so fed up with the constant bitching about re-releases.

      PS4 is at over 7 million sold, many being new gamers who didn’t have a PS3. Re-releasing the BEST PS3 games, improved for the new console makes all the sense in the world.

  • subsamuel01

    Why is everyone leaving Naughty Dog, I swear there probably the best game developer in the world, what’s going on.

    • Evidently they must not be underneath the surface.

  • Alexandra Cordes

    I wonder why so many people are leaving… Hmmm…

  • mockturtle

    Game devs fall like dominoes, apparently.

  • MrRobbyM

    Perhaps ND is tired of Sony pushing them to do Uncharted games/stuff they don’t want to do because that’s pretty much all that has come out of them the past few years.

  • Ninjagoon

    its probably just because he was contracted just for the game. I mean many game studios just sign somebody on for just a title and when its shipped they just leave and do other things.

  • Ni ~Algidus~

    one day we will get the news that the dog have leaved naughty dog if this trend keeps going

  • CozyAndWarm

    Man, Sony’s having a fire sale on all their devs/studios. Why aren’t more people concerned about this? Seems like Nintendo/Microsoft aren’t having any problems in this regard.

  • Taylor Davis

    Oh no…Naughty Dog whats going on?

  • Tiael

    Never mind he just joined ND in 2012 after leaving Irrational Games.
    I don’t see that little tidbit.

    And Erick Pangilinan also worked on TLoU and has been with ND since 1997.

  • maxobiwan

    Naugty dogs lacked AI coders, now they lack everything !

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