This is the article I never wanted to write. You may well have heard the news by now, but in case you haven’t, I am sorry to have to tell you that Amy Hennig, as of yesterday no longer works for Naughty Dog. You will know Amy to be the Creative Director for Naughty Dog since the inception of the Uncharted IP. She also served as the series writer. What troubles us is the wording in the article that broke the news;
Sources claim Hennig was “forced out” by The Last of Us’ Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, and explained that Uncharted may now come under their control.
We’ll come back to that.
Amy Hennig has been the unassuming and humble figurehead of the series; her lack of ego or arrogance a delight. She has also been, and I hope continues to be, a friend to us here at All Things Uncharted, so this news comes as a bitter blow. Whichever studio Amy goes to next will reap the benefits of her talents, and whatever game she works on next will surely be of top notch quality. And similarly, Uncharted for PS4 will no doubt continue to be awesome. It isn’t like Naughty Dog are short on talent.
The announcement for Uncharted for PS4 came at the launch event for the console. It is now March and Uncharted fans had been hoping for some more news. This is not the news we wanted.
The internet is full of speculation over the reason for the departure, and IGN’s comments certainly suggest that it wasn’t entirely Amy Hennig’s choice. We are not going to speculate out of respect (and it serves no purpose) but if IGN are correct, Naughty Dog have a lot of PR work to do. Amy Hennig is a much loved and widely respected member of the games industry. The Last of Us was a fantastic game and deserves every accolade it has been given, but, (and this is no fault of Druckmann, Straley or Naughty Dog) Uncharted has suffered under its success. We saw the comments as soon as The Last of Us was released – how Uncharted was somehow holding Naughty Dog back from its true potential. The quality of The Last of Us does not make Uncharted any less good, and Naughty Dog have space to have two incredible IPs.
The announcement also says that the timeline for Uncharted’s development will not be impacted. To be honest that would be the least of our woes.
So far no further comment has been made (Amy has thanked the plethora of well-wishers) and the rumours of the manner of her departure will probably not go away. This alone will be enough to taint the reputation of one of the greatest videogame studios this world has ever seen. I truly hope they will recover.
We wish Amy the very best for her future, whatever that may hold. All Things Uncharted will continue to follow her career.
UPDATE: Co-Presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra have released a statement absolving Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley of blame. No further details were said, and I don’t think there will be.