Neil Druckmann, an influential game developer behind titles such as The Last of Us, has been appointed a co-president of Naughty Dog alongside longtime co-president Evan Wells.
The appointment is a big recognition of Druckmann’s contributions to Naughty Dog, a Sony-owned game studio in Los Angeles with hundreds of employees. Under Druckmann’s direction, Naughty Dogs has made groundbreaking games such as The Last of Us, The Last of Us Part II, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
“As we close out a year that has seen its challenges as we all live through a global pandemic, there have been bright moments too. One exciting moment for Naughty Dog was the long-anticipated release of The Last of Us Part II in June,” Wells said in a blog post today. “Another moment comes today as we wanted to share some other terrific news about the studio.”
At an all-studio meeting today, Wells said Druckmann was stepping up to co-president after serving almost three years as vice president. In addition, Wells said the company is appointing Alison Mori and Christian Gyrling as vice presidents of Naughty Dog. Prior to becoming a VP, Mori served as director of operations, and Gyrling served as co-director of programming.
Druckmann has been a passionate advocate over the years for story-based games such as The Last of Us, a gritty postapocalyptic game with a touching story between a grizzled man who loses his daughter and a teenager who could save humanity. He worked as co-director on multiple games with Bruce Straley, but Straley left in 2017 after a long leave.
Druckmann has become a kind of superstar developer on Twitter, with 421,000 followers. He has weighed in on numerous issues, such as accusations that Naughty Dog has overworked its staff with crunch, or mandatory overtime as development for a game approaches the finish line. I’ve had multiple interviews with him on the Uncharted and The Last of Us games, and he is among the most thoughtful people I have interviewed when it comes to knowing the intricacies of the stories in video games. In that respect, I think fans don’t have to worry about whether Naughty Dog is in good hands.
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