The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann is now chief at Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann is now president following the retirement of long-time co-president Evan Wells from the PlayStation Studio.

The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann is now chief at Naughty Dog
Lee Brady

Lee Brady

Published

A major shake-up has happened at one of Sony's biggest PlayStation Studios, as Naughty Dog has revealed Neil Druckmann is now president of the company. With a recent The Last of Us multiplayer delay resulting in layoffs at the company, Druckmann's sole presidency comes at a challenging time for Naughty Dog and could mean substantial changes for the studio's future.

Naughty Dog sees leadership changes ahead of new PS5 game reveal

The change in leadership at Naughty Dog follows the retirement of Evan Wells, who joined the studio back in 1998 during the production of Crash Bandicoot Warped and has been the studio co-president (and briefly sole president himself) since 2004. Wells was instrumental in overseeing Naughty Dog's rise to PlayStation prominence, supporting massive projects like the Uncharted series and The Last of Us, and played an important role as the lead designer of the Jak and Daxter series.
Evans also oversaw the development of Druckmann's career, offering him a position to join Naughty Dog and work on Jak 3 back in 2004. Evans, along with then co-president Christophe Balestra, was also responsible for pairing Druckmann with veteran designer Bruce Straley to co-develop a new game for Naughty Dog while production continued on Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception — that new game eventually becoming 2013's groundbreaking The Last of Us.

However, the last few years haven't been quite so rosy for either Evans or Druckmann, with both heads struggling to deal with the reported 'crunch' at Naughty Dog during the development of The Last of Us Part II. Paired with the aforementioned layoffs and the slow trudge towards the reveal of Naughty Dog's next game (supposedly a fantasy title), the studio appears to have a number of lingering issues to resolve, with the lion's share of that responsibility largely falling now to Druckmann leadership.

TLOUDruckmann, left, with Evans, right.

Still, with the recent success of HBO's The Last of Us and with the studio still evidently capable of producing exceptional work, as I detail in my The Last of Us Part 1 review, hopes are high that Druckmann can continue to build upon Naughty Dog's considerable legacy. Are you still curious about Naughty Dog's next title? Let us know in the comments down below.
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Marvel's Spider-Man 2), one eye on the past (PS Plus Premium, recent Sony news), and his secret third eye on the junk he really likes (Sonic Superstars, Final Fantasy XVI). Then he uses his big mouth to blurt out long-winded opinions about video games.
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