News Article

Uncharted Franchise Director Amy Hennig Leaves Naughty Dog After 10 Years

Posted by Kell Andersen

The Last of Us author to take on the mantle

Long time Naughty Dog staffer Amy Hennig has recently left the Californian developer after 10 years of service, Sony has confirmed. Notable for her role as director and writer on all three Uncharted games, the storied scribe vacated her position on 3rd March. Thankfully, the Japanese giant was quick to assure us that the egress won't have an impact on the upcoming next-gen entry's release schedule.

Bizarrely, anonymous sources have claimed that the staffer was in fact "forced out" by Naughty Dog alumni, and the team behind The Last of Us, Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, will now apparently take complete control of the series. This is all sounds very dramatic indeed, but short of Hennig actually explaining the situation, there's probably no way that we'll ever really know what happened.

Regardless, the author's profound impact on the acclaimed series cannot be denied, and it's always an absolute shame to see talented writers leave our favourite studios. What do you make of this departure? Do you think that the franchise will languish without her steady hand to guide it? Take a leave of absence in the comments section below.


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User Comments (16)



get2sammyb said:

It's not been a good couple of weeks for Sony's first-party studios, has it? I have a few thoughts about this, so excuse me while I brain dump:

a) I find it hard to believe that she got forced out. That just doesn't make any sense to me. Naughty Dog's always come across as a pleasant family place to work, and that's always reflected in their games. I doubt if there was turmoil at the studio their games would be so good, but perhaps I'm mistaken.

b) Only a few weeks ago, Druckmann and Straley were talking about The Last of Us sequels and other projects. If they're going back to Uncharted, then does that mean that Naughty Dog has become a one team studio again? If that's the case, could this be a similar scenario to Sony Santa Monica? Sony seemed really proud of the way it had expanded its studios, so I'm not sure why it would go backwards.

c) Druckmann and Straley were behind the 'best' Uncharted game to date in Uncharted 2, but surely Uncharted 4 has been in production for a few years now. If development has not been unsettled — and I think we all expect it to come out late 2014/early 2015, then how much can they realistically do to the game in 12 months or so?

d) Maybe her work is finished on the writing part and she just wanted to move on? It does seem like a big talent to lose, though.

I'm baffled...



InsertNameHere said:

As long as Neil is at the helm, then I'm not worried. That said, it's sad to see Amy go, hopefully she'll be back someday.



Paranoimia said:

Very disappointing, especially if there turns out to be any truth to the rumours; Naughty Dog always seemed to be one big, happy family. It does seem odd, though, that she'd choose to leave part way through development of Uncharted 4.

I wish her luck though, whatever she does next. Unless she signs for the 'other side', of course.



k_andersen said:

@get2sammyb Yeah, I always always got the impression that ND had a really good environment, so this does seem really odd. Also, I find it very hard to believe that if Druckmann and Straley were going to "force her out" that they would have waited this long to do it.

Also, I love Sony's comment about the release schedule. WHAT release schedule? We haven't heard a single thing about when that game is supposed to launch.



Bad-MuthaAdebisi said:

It all seems a bit odd. I hope that the 'Sony' restructure isn't affecting PlayStation division because it's doing just fine managing itself.



adf86 said:

My thoughts are (don't know what you guys think) is that one of the problems people had with Uncharted 3 (including me) were that the plot especially in the 2nd half of the game felt like it was been written around set-pieces rather than the other way around. Of course that was the first game that Amy Hennig was flying solo on in terms of writing duties without the likes of Neil Druckmann there. Maybe some people felt the same was happening again & they wanted to bring those guys in to help tighten things up a bit. Amy feels her nose is getting pushed out of joint so she may have decided to quit. Of course I'm speculating cos we really don't know the facts but yeah it does suck. I think what Naughy Dog will do now is have Uncharted out first cos it's a system seller but then focus on TLoU for at least one maybe two games then maybe come back to Uncharted at the end of the generation. I wish Amy Hennig well cos she's very talented & I'm sure she'll land on her feet soon, I heard there are vacancies going at Sony Santa Monica



Shaolin said:

Nobody knows the full story behind this and that's a good thing because it means that all those concerned are keeping things professional and between themselves. Aside from the unknown reasons why she left, this does very much sound like the protocol that most big businesses follow. Once a conflict of artistic direction has been identified a decision is quickly made and swift action is taken so that the day-to-day operations remain unaffected. The general thinking behind it will be that by ushering her out quickly they will be able to nip any problems in the bud. You can pretty much guarantee that they will have commissioned a legal team to ensure that it all went through quickly and smoothly.

If it does turn out that they quickly swept her aside then that doesn't reflect on what it's like to work at Naughty Dog. Instead, I'm inclined to believe that Sony will have made a well researched business decision that they took in good faith.



KAPADO said:

May day May day . Had the last of us never been released I would have lost all faith in uncharted 4.but the writing is just as good . One thing thwon't I e able to copy is A.H. identity



Gamer83 said:

Another week, more bad news about a Sony first party, this time its prized studio. Absolutely pathetic, Sony needs to get its sh*t together. If it's not a delay, it's layoffs and cancellations now this. What really concerns me about this is the 'forced out' part. Hopefully somebody breaks the silence on that. Has me concerned about the future of the studio and both The Last of Us and Uncharted franchises. I can say this, I don't like Druckmann and Straley. They may help make great video games but I wouldn't be shocked at all if these two scumbags forced somebody out. They thought it was perfectly fine to use copyrighted work in TLoU without permission then swept it under the rug. And in interviews these two carry themselves with an arrogance like they're God's gifts to gaming. Sorry, you're not a quarter as accomplished as Shigeru Miyamoto, a man who has always handled himself with class and dignity. In fact I'll go and say it, they're not as accomplished as the woman they just forced out. There better be some answers for this and Sony better figure out soon what the hell it is doing. People can keep avoiding trends if they want, the fact is, Sony's first parties are a complete and utter mess right now and good selling console doesn't cover up all the sh*t that is going. Just like the Vita, and even PS3 to some extent, here's a great piece of hardware about to be flushed because of an unorganized, failing company.



shingi_70 said:


Games being good doesn't exactly mean anything if she got forced out. Office Politics usually are pretty complicated and since the three worked on different teams. Things are usually much cleaner on the outside looking in.

I agree with you on this not being good news for Sony's Studios but there are a few things to take into consideration.

-Naughty Dog is still probably two teams and were going to see Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley each head up their own team.

-These scale backs could be used to appropriate funds to aquire other studios like Quantic Dream. (Hopefully we see their next game at E3).

-We don't know how far or well into completion SSM's new IP was. It could be the new IP was killed to focus the studio on being more of a Xdev style studio. They're working on two big games while asstinng with smaller stuff like Rime,

It is a bit disconcerting that I find myself having more faith in Microsoft Studios than Sonys at this juntcure.



Gamer83 said:


"It is a bit disconcerting that I find myself having more faith in Microsoft Studios than Sonys at this juntcure."

Yup, this is a huge issue. The majority of people, myself included, thought Sony's first party would be a nice advantage for them this gen, at least over MS and maybe even Nintendo. It's certainly a big reason I went with PS4 first. However, it's becoming increasingly clear that this will not be the case. Sony can't even get racing and baseball games out on time anymore.

Anyway, that will be my last comment on this article so things don't get way off track. I'll just say I hope this string of bad first party news, every damn week, stops soon.



N711 said:

ND denied those guys were involved. Sounds like awful tabloid 'news'

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