It seemed for a time that the developers at Naughty Dog could do no wrong: the Uncharted series was the PlayStation’s most coveted exclusive, and The Last of Us proved that the studio was capable of producing more than once acclaimed franchise. That was until the studio started losing top-ranking team members at an alarming rate. First came Uncharted director Amy Hennig, followed soon after by the director of Uncharted 4 and the series’ art director as well. But don’t think that’s slowing the studio down one bit.
The exodus of high-ranking talent caused serious concerns among the industry, but Naughty Dog’s leadership has been quick to react. In a recent interview, studio co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra assuaged fears that the still-mysterious Uncharted 4 was troubled by explaining that The Last of Us leads Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann would be overseeing the project from here on out.
It would be safe to assume that just as the development team completed the “hell” that was porting The Last of Us to PS4, keeping the next Uncharted game on track would be more than enough of a challenge. Not to mention the Last of Us film that Druckmann is also in the process of writing.
The need to place Uncharted 4 under the guidance of Druckmann and Straley clearly puts whatever the creative leads had in mind next on hold, but Evan Wells explained to Game Informer that not only was the rest of the team stepping up to keep the studio’s plans on track, but yet another unannounced property is on its way:
“Well I mentioned earlier the number of products we have going. We definitely have another project on the scale of Uncharted in very early pre-production stages. We have the sizable team that it takes to get something like that off of the ground, but it’s got a long runway in front of it. We have a lot of great ideas and some stuff that is already getting everybody jazzed and excited. So, it’s a long way off before we can really start talking about it in detail. But no, [Bruce and Neil working on Uncharted] is not going to impact our ability to keep that stirring that pot.”
Unfortunately, the team wouldn’t offer any more details on exactly what gamers can expect from the “Uncharted-level” game. With a classic adventure series down, and a hard-hitting zombie survival proving Naughty Dog is more than a one trick pony, who knows what could be next. The team seems to have little interest in returning to their Jak & Daxter roots.
Given how early Wells claims the project is in development, it’s unlikely it will challenge the next Uncharted for the spotlight at E3. But it’s still good to know that Naughty Dog isn’t letting some high-ranking departures impact their plans – for now, at least.
What do you hope to see next from the studio? Is two triple-A franchises enough for them, or do you believe they can manage the task? Sound off in the comments.
MORE: Uncharted 4 Teaser Trailer
Uncharted 4 does not currently have an official release date but will launch exclusively on the PS4.
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Source: Game Informer