'Last of Us' Art Director Joins 'Tomb Raider' Developer

Nate Wells Joins Crystal Dynamics

While the mass exodus of Naughty Dog has already led to quite a few intriguing hirings, most notably Amy Hennig's new position at Visceral, there are still a few devs who have yet to reveal their next endeavors. But even while we wait to hear where people like Justin Richmond and Michael Knowland will land, one former Naughty Dog member has just announced yet another new position.

Former Irrational Games art director Nate Wells revealed today that he has taken up employment at Crystal Dynamics, the studio responsible for, among other things, the Tomb Raider series. Wells would not say what his role is at CD nor what game he is working on, but apparently the trees smell nice in Redwood City, CA.

Wells has been a high profile member of the development community for quite some time now, so his involvement at Crystal Dynamics is sure to turn some heads. He started out as art director at Irrational Games (BioShock, BioShock Infinite) and worked there for about 13 years before moving on to Naughty Dog. There he held a similar position while designing the critically acclaimed The Last of Us.


After The Last of Us shipped, Wells moved on to Giant Sparrow, the studio behind The Unfinished Swan, but that was a very short stay. Perhaps the Giant Sparrow gig didn't work out, or the studio is in a state of flux.

Rise of the Tomb Raider concept art 2

Obviously, with Wells at Crystal Dynamics the question now becomes whether he is working on Rise of the Tomb Raider or some other project. We know Crystal Dynamics is working a new IP, but thus far their focus has been on the Tomb Raider franchise. It could be, though, that the studio is starting to staff up for that new IP and Wells is just one of the newest additions.

To be honest, the guy has a pretty distinct style when it comes to art direction so it would be more intriguing to see what he can do with a blank canvas rather than a Tomb Raider follow-up. Nevertheless, congrats to Wells on the new job and Crystal Dynamics on a solid hire.

Would you like to see Wells join the Tomb Raider team or work on a new IP? What do you hope to see from Crystal Dynamics new IP?


Source: Nate Wells (via Gamespot)

Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina

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