In the early days of cinema there was the auteur theory – which stated that films were crafted using a single unifying vision, as represented by the director. He, or she, would make the decisions on nearly every facet of the film, and as a result their name would become synonymous with the end product(s).
In video games, it is usually the development outfit that represents the released product and, in turn, becomes synonymous with the product. But, like in film, there are a few exceptions.
One such exception is Amy Hennig, the Naughty Dog Game Director who is largely responsible for the developer’s Uncharted franchise. Since the beginning, Hennig’s 10-year journey at ND has been part and parcel with Nathan Drake’s…but unfortunately it won’t be any longer. Announced late Tuesday night, Amy Hennig has departed Naughty Dog and will no longer be involved with the Uncharted franchise.
The news came as quite a shock; especially considering Naughty Dog had just recently announced a new Uncharted game was in development. At the time of the announcement, very few details were known, but it was confirmed that Hennig would take on her usual role as Game Director. Not anymore.
While there have been some rumblings regarding whether or not the split between Amy Hennig and Naughty Dog, as well as parent company Sony, was amicable, the below statement from Sony suggests it was. We’d hate to see someone this talented forced out of a position, so we’ll leave the speculation off the table for now.
“We can confirm that Amy Hennig has left Naughty Dog. Amy has made significant contributions to the game industry and we appreciate all she has done for Naughty Dog. The development timeline of Uncharted will not be impacted.”
Although some may place the focus on Uncharted‘s future, it’s more interesting to ponder Hennig’s. Not only is she a talented voice in the games industry, she’s the architect behind one of the most popular exclusive franchises of this past generation. In other words, don’t expect Hennig to be out of a job for long…provided she is looking to move on to something new. Maybe that’s exactly what she’s looking for.
For a while now it seemed like Naughty Dog was done with Uncharted; that their interests lay elsewhere. The unveiling of The Last of Us, for example, proved that they wanted to take lessons learned on Uncharted and utilize them on new experiences. But, it’s hard for a developer to walk away from their big name franchise. Instead, as has been the case with other high profile devs like Cliff Bleszinski, Ray Muzyka & Greg Zeschuk, and John Carmack, it’s usually the people that end up walking away.
Hennig’s phone is likely ringing non-stop, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.
Are you surprised by the news of Hennig’s departure? Where would you like to see her end up?