When word first broke that Uncharted Director and Writer Amy Hennig was out at developer Naughty Dog, rumors soon followed that claimed Hennig had been forced out. Sony then released an official statement suggesting Hennig’s departure was amicable in nature, and now Naughty Dog has come out to say the same.
At the time, we didn’t want to delve into rumors regarding Hennig’s departure, especially since speculation can oftentimes lead to unnecessary backlash, but now it’s important to set the stage before moving forward. According to these prior rumors, it was Naughty Dog developers and The Last of Us creators Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley who forced Hennig out. Why exactly was unclear, and now it appears there was no why, as Naughty Dog’s official statement says no such force out took place.
The statement comes directly from Naughty Dog Co-Presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, who, as they explain, were very upset by the “hurtful accusations” percolated by dozens of gaming news sites. They also say, unequivocally, that Straley and Druckmann “were NOT involved in what transpired.” You can read the full statement below:
Earlier this week we had to confirm the regrettable news that Amy Hennig has left Naughty Dog. She will be missed and, as we stated before, we appreciate the significant contributions that she has made to Naughty Dog and the industry in general. We wish her the best.
However, we feel it necessary to clear up a very important point that was unprofessionally misreported when the story broke. Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann were NOT involved in what transpired. It was very upsetting to us that dozens of stories were run, linking back to the same hurtful accusations in the original report. As co-presidents of Naughty Dog, we are responsible for all studio affairs.
Normally, we wouldn’t respond to rumors and speculation on matters that are internal to Naughty Dog, but because the personal reputation of two of our employees is being damaged we needed to set the record straight. There is nothing left to be said on this subject. Now we’re going back to what we should be focused on — making games.
However, neither this official statement nor Sony‘s word on the matter has set the record straight as to what “transpired.” All we know is that a strong voice in the games writing industry, a rare female voice at that, is no longer associated with the developer and franchise that made her a well-respected name. Nothing seems to suggest that Hennig just up and decided to leave, but we will likely never know the true reason behind her departure.
On the flip side, this opens up Hennig to new possibilities, a chance to, like Nathan Drake, take on a new adventure. Whether that’s forming her own studio, setting up shop at another developer, or maybe just taking some time off, there’s no question that Hennig has earned the right to chart her own future. As far as the Uncharted franchise’s future: we’ve only just begun to hear details about that next game, so it’s unclear whether development has been impacted by Hennig’s leaving.
Do you think that Hennig’s departure was amicable? If Hennig were to take over writing duties on a pre-existing franchise what would you like to see that be?
Source: Naughty Dog