Last of Us Director Bruce Straley leaves Naughty Dog after 18 years

One of the most important people behind the scenes at Naughty Dog, Bruce Straley, has left the Sony-owned studio. He had been on a year long break after the completion of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and now is leaving the company as a whole. You can read part of his goodbye statement below:

This has been the hardest decision of my career. Naughty Dog is home. The Kennel is family. I’ve learned and grown so much from working with this incredible team. But after heading up three extremely demanding projects, and taking some extended time away from the office, I found my energy focusing in other directions, and I slowly realized this was the signal that it’s time to move on.

I joined the Kennel in 1999 as a texture artist on Crash Team Racing. Back before Naughty Dog even had a coffee maker. I was employee #15. From day one, I knew I was surrounded by some of the most talented, driven, and passionate people in the industry. They were pushing themselves to do things beyond what they even thought was possible, which in turn pushed me, and I loved it! I mean, it was also extremely intimidating, but the energy and determination to make something great, something we could all be proud of, was infectious. And that’s the way it still is to this day.

You can read Bruce’s full statement on Naughty Dog’s website. This leaves Neil Druckmann as the last remaining figurehead at Naughty Dog after several departures in recent years. The most notable departure was Amy Hennig, who is working on a Star Wars game with Electronic Arts now.

Straley spent 18 years with Naughty Dog, starting with Crash Team Racing on the original PlayStation in 1999. His biggest work came as the director of The Last of Us, Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 4. This is no doubt a major blow for Naughty Dog and Sony.

Of course, Naughty Dog just shipped a superb Uncharted follow up, The Lost Legacy, just last month. That game did not have Straley’s input since most of its development was done while he was on his year long sabbatical. So we know the studio can deliver a quality product even as their biggest game directors leave.

Good luck in whatever it is that you do next Bruce!