News Article

The Last of Us' Lead Character Artist Michael Knowland Has Left Naughty Dog

Posted by Kell Andersen

Goodbye and good luck

In a series of events that's beginning to look as weird as the plot from a David Lynch film, yet another Naughty Dog staffer is packing up their bags and jumping ship. Michael Knowland, the incredibly talented lead character artist on The Last of Us, has reportedly left the studio. He's yet to reveal where he plans to peddle his wares next, but after the critical success of his recent work, he's probably not going to be too hard up.

As always, it's incredibly likely that Knowland's departure is simply due to him finishing work on one highly acclaimed title, and wanting to move on to another challenge. However, this seemingly endless exodus of Naughty Dog staff does strike us as just a little bit strange. After all, both Uncharted series writer Amy Hennig and high profile producer Justin Richmond have recently left the California-based developer.

What do you make of this bizarre turn of events? Do you think that this slew of departures will have a meaningful impact on the quality of Naughty Dog's output? Stew in your speculative juices in the comments section below.


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User Comments (18)



get2sammyb said:

I think we've reached a point now where the spotlight is shined so brightly on Naughty Dog that we've somehow managed to turn this into a big deal. According to Wikipedia, the company employs over 250 people. It's not surprising that a few have left. The Hennig and Richmond thing is still odd, though, I agree. Artists - not so much.



ReigningSemtex said:

Naughty dog are doomed, lol joke but really it does make you think what's going on there at the moment



MadchesterManc said:

Whatever god you pray to, start praying. The end is nigh for ND & Sony. This mass exodus of a few people can only mean one thing, they're doomed!



N711 said:

I m thinking theres a small team on the Last of Us remastered, and most of everybody else is working on Uncharted 4. So what of most of the guys who had been working on the last of us DLCs? As long as they dont know what game to do after the last of us I wouldnt be surprised if a few guys are out of work for now



Strofan7 said:

Honestly this isn't too surprising. They just wrapped up work on one of the greatest games of the generation and their personal stock is at an all-time high. Everyone who played a major role in this project can just pick and choose what they work on next and probably get a substantial raise while doing so.



Epic said:

@get2sammyb The thing is that the big heads are the ones leaving Naughty Dog, the good thing about this though is that some new talent can take the lead of their next projects, but then again new talent was the one that destroyed Sonic as a franchise.



WickedKnightAl said:

@Epic Old talent had just as much of a hand in Sonic's demise.

But seriously, I'm getting tired of hearing about these. Go put the spotlight on some other studio for a change (they all do this).



Paranoimia said:

This is a week or two old. Looking at his LinkedIn page, he moves every few years or so.



adf86 said:

@get2sammyb I don't have any insider knowledge but I thinking what happened was when studio started making two games, that required the studio to expand greatly for the necessary personal etc. But Sony may have looked at the costs and ultimately decided that Naughty Dog needs to just make one game again. Which probably meant after Uncharted 4 they might move on to Last of Us 2 & Amy Hennig might not have liked working on someone else's IP so walked. Justin Richmond probably felt the same so took the job at Riot, and the other departures are part of Sony trimming the fat.



Demi_God said:

yea, if he is always jumping around developing companies, this isn't anything new. Not a big deal, but when you add everything up at once it's a little dent I would imagin. It's not like ND is coming to an end or anything. far from it.



BambooBushido said:

Glad to see that unlike some people on here ( @Gamer83 ) non of you guys are assuming the worst overreacting blowing things out of proportion or jumping to conclusions that are based on nothing but there own theory's and speculations and then going around spouting nonsense and talking crap constantly non-stop anyway i'll admit that at this point it's clear something sketchy might be going on but whatever it is this guy has nothing to do with it like sammy says Henning Richmond and Todd are still the only ones that stand out as odd I really wish people would keep in mind that the only people who know what's really going on are the people who work there and the people who recently left or got fired we don't know what's really going on we don't have any insider knowledge or information we don't know the actual situation or circumstances so what right does anybody have to be pessimistic or optimistic the only thing i am is confident that if there is any thing bad going on at sony whatever it is it'll all work out eventually



BlueProxy said:

I would agree that they are likely just moving on to new things. Uncharted has had a long and successful run. After many years since the first Uncharted, I think anybody would want a change of pace.



RaymanFan2 said:

If we're honest, this is getting to the point where ND need to make an official statement explaining what's going on, for our sake.
I'm not exactly panicked, but it does look rather suspicious.



Gamer83 said:


I didn't even have a reaction to this but I'll just say I have a right to post whatever I want as long as it's not offensive. It's not all positive like you want it to be, tough, use the report button.

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