Into the sunset.
So that was something I didn’t expect to read and subsequently drop my jaw at this morning a few minutes after waking up.
In case you missed it earlier this morning, IGN reported that Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig has left developer Naughty Dog. The news was first reported overnight, but since confirmed by Sony in a statement.
“We can confirm that Amy Hennig has left Naughty Dog,” it said. “Amy has made significant contributions to the game industry and we appreciate all she has done for Naughty Dog. The development timeline of Uncharted will not be impacted.”
Hennig was working on, as noted in the statement, Uncharted for PlayStation 4, announced last year at the US launch of the system. IGN’s report claimed she was “forced out” by The Last of Us leads Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann, and that the pair could now oversee the series, perhaps alongside their own upcoming project post-The Last of Us. Remember that Straley was both game director on the first two Uncharted games whilst Druckmann was game designer on 1 and 2.
But lets put that to one side. I’m not interested in the whole potential politics to this story because thinking about it, even as just a possibility, just makes me sad and depressed (but with that said, I am massively hoping the use of the term “forced out” was a massive exaggeration on the part of IGN).
Rather, I want to say thanks.
In case you missed it, Eurogamer went live with a piece on Saturday morning by Christian Donlan that talked about giving thanks to the things we love in games, citing Harold Ramis of Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day as his own personal example after Ramis’s recent death.
Instead of the small things, though, I just want to briefly say thanks for some of the things you’ve done in your ten years at Naughty Dog. Thank you for giving me one of my favourite series of the last generation in Uncharted. Thank you for your part in making one of my favourite games ever in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Thank you for showing that writing in games can be done not just superbly but done so with maturity.
Amy is on my bucket list of people I’ve wanted to interview as a games journalist. In fact, one article I’ve dreamed of wanting to do was a kind of Uncharted 2 retrospective piece featuring sit-down interviews with Hennig, Druckmann and Straley, to name a few. I don’t quite know if that piece will ever happen now, but – and perhaps selfishly – there’s a part of me that hopes it does somehow.
Whoever comes in next, if anyone at all, will have really big shoes to fill because Amy Hennig has left behind a massive legacy at Naughty Dog that won’t be forgotten. Not just at the studio, but to the games industry at large.