Naughty Dog hires Assassin's Creed 3 animation director to work on Uncharted PS4

Jonathan Cooper now working as an animator for upcoming PlayStation 4 game; "It's quite a change from the rigid structure a multi-studio collaboration like Assassin's Creed requires."

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Naughty Dog has hired Assassin's Creed III animation director Jonathan Cooper to work on the upcoming PlayStation 4 Uncharted game. He officially moved from Ubisoft Montreal to Naughty Dog in late February, though news about his transition has only recently surfaced.

"When working at an art-centric studio such as Ubisoft Montreal I had been hard-pressed to find anywhere that takes video game animation as seriously as there, but I've long held Naughty Dog up as a titan in video game animation, ultimately being won over by their game-changing work on The Last of Us," Cooper said on his website. "It's no understatement to say, in my opinion, that that game has set a new standard for tone and characterisation in video games."

As for his geographic change in scenery from Montreal (Ubisoft) to Santa Monica (Naughty Dog), Cooper said driving around the Los Angeles area is "a lot like touring GTA 5, only with better graphics and a worse car." He also said he's endured enough snow in Montreal to last a lifetime and he's happy to now live with his wife in a new home close to the beach.

Cooper described Naughty Dog's approach to animation as "very different" from what he did at Ubisoft. At Naughty Dog, Cooper said animators are expected to build levels, code scripts, and not only animate but also direct and potentially star in motion-capture itself.

"It's quite a change from the rigid structure a multi-studio collaboration like Assassin's Creed requires, but after over a month here I am certain this project is going to be another milestone in game animation," Cooper said. "As ever, I really look forward to sharing what we're working on in the future…"

Naughty Dog has recently seen numerous high-level staffers leave the company, including The Last of Us lead artist Nate Wells, Uncharted 4 director Justin Richmond, and writer Amy Hennig. Uncharted PS4 actor Todd Stashwick also left Naughty Dog recently, and his role has been re-cast. The studio has been hiring as well. In addition to Cooper, Naughty Dog has brought on former Halo programmer Corrine Yu.

The new Uncharted game for PS4 has reportedly been in development for more than three years. According to a report from last month, Sony will for the first time show off gameplay at E3 in June.

Prior to his roles at Ubisoft Montreal and Naughty Dog, Cooper worked at BioWare on games like Jade Empire and Mass Effect, before doing pre-production work on Deus Ex: Human Revolution at Eidos Montreal.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

55 comments
Kyrylo
Kyrylo

So it confirms U4 gonna be bad .. great.

LilithN
LilithN

Is it only me, but this guy looks kinda creepy. I wouldn't really like to meet him in a darkened alley with that "promising" smile on his face...

Aaronp2k
Aaronp2k

lol and people thought sony didn't know what they were doing with all these lay offs. leave the business to the professionals because you clearly have no clue!. I knew all along sony knew what they are doing, because they already wiped out ms and the gen has barely even started yet.

hardrockr1979
hardrockr1979

Wow, surprise surprise, Naughty Dog is moving forward, and replacing those who resigned, or were fired. There isn't one talent in the video game industry that isn't expendable. The game must go on, and so it will. Wow, a Halo programmer has joined too? I'm surprised X1 fans don't change their tone to saying thisll prob be the greatest game ever!

GabrielX-X
GabrielX-X

Get ready Boston city Frame-rate issues...

nomee_lover
nomee_lover

well all people who meaningfully contributed in the last gen have moved way from Naughty Dog. But still we believe UC4 turns out to be a  masterpiece.

coolguyhero
coolguyhero

Everything is all right just please don't spoil the UC4.

GameFan1983
GameFan1983

make no mistake, AC3 is the worst AC game of all time, BUT BUT!! the flawless combat animation alone keep a supposedly boring game alive. I could roaming around Boston all day slaying birtish troops with my Tomahawks and french straight sword, it never gets old. in term of combat animation, AC3 head and shoulder > AC4 and the rest.

Naughty dog know when to hire a real talent when there is one, smart developer

 

mehrdad19872010
mehrdad19872010

Finally some good news about Naughty Dog. After hearing about all the people leaving the company, I started to get worried that one of the best companies in the industry was reaching the end of its heyday and turning out to be something like Rare! Hope Uncharted 4 turns out to be awesome. 

namitokiwa
namitokiwa

Tomb Raider has a smoother animation than AC even AC4, my opinion. And I found out that Uncharted series is much smoother animation than AC series... so why they need to hire AC3 animation director for?

daviz88
daviz88

EXCELLENT CHOICE !!!!!!!!!!!!assassin creed and uncharted are well know for there platforming aspect, and after seeing the CONOR  climb and moves from tree to tree with incredible fluidity, its definately a plus

Earthen80
Earthen80

Ubisoft is dooooooooooomed... right?

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

So now can we all calm down?  Whenever someone leaves and people panic, some of us try to explain that there's a lot of turnover in the industry.  Now someone is getting hired: there's a lot of turnover in the industry.   


So before anyone says this is a sign that Ubisoft is a sinking ship:  There's a lot of turnover in the industry. 


Beaches aside, though, dude, you're gonna miss Montreal.  And that is a rakish headshot.

matea88
matea88

AC3 had the best animations i've seen in the series.

aquoon_0nly
aquoon_0nly

"This guy suks at animation" - said an xbot

playstationzone
playstationzone

Well welcome to team of Naughty Dog and hopeing get this game out by end 215.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

Poor guy. He's just going to get laid off by Sony for all his effort. 

denhoffi
denhoffi

Where does he say that he's working on Uncharted 4? He just said:"As ever, I really look forward to sharing what we're working on in the future…". So it doesn't have to be Uncharted, it could be whatever their second team is working on.

observer98
observer98

What's he so happy about? AC3 sucked.

allyouneedisluv
allyouneedisluv

I know that guy! He used to stalk me with a camera when i used to run and climb buildings. 

Sushiglutton
Sushiglutton

The animations were the best thing about AC3, so he must be really good at what he does.

rasterror
rasterror

Hopefully he doesn't carry over the bugs that AC3 had. Maybe the next Uncharted will have horses walking through walls and you randomly falling through the ground into an endless abyss of nothingness.

itsfabyo
itsfabyo

@hardrockr1979  People are not as expendable as you make them sound especially when they are at the top of any field, which ND has clearly shown they are.   More so with artistic talents. Hopefully these people can fill those shoes. A director can literally make or break a project. 

SavageEvil
SavageEvil

@nomee_lover  Pretty sure the team behind the game wasn't solely made up of those who left. Some gamers have little sense at all, games that big are built by a large number of individuals...shame you think people you never heard of left from high positions within the company and all of a sudden you think the game will fail. UC3 was pretty crappy compared to UC2 so what's your one sided thoughts on that?

KahnArtizt
KahnArtizt

@namitokiwa  I disagree. Tomb Raider's animations were good, but it was a bit jerky and when you change direction or decide to jump, the transitions between animations weren't that fluid. AC had much better transitions and the combat animations in particular are virtually flawless.

daviz88
daviz88

boooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

@olddadgamer  Apparently there are those out in gamerdom who really believe nobody in the industry is allowed to change jobs, and must remain in indentured servitude to one company for life. As far as Montreal, never been there but in June the bars start staying open all night long. ROAD TRIP!

daviz88
daviz88

and how is that Jonathan Cooper fault ? his an animation director, and not to mention he also worked on mass effect, or does mass effect suck as well?

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

@observer98  The only reason people said "Assassin's Creed III totally like totally sucked man... totally", because it made the series MAINSTREAM. It's the same reason why so many of you guys say Call of Duty and Madden "sucks". Because of this whole hipster thing "I liked it before it became popular". 

mr_nee
mr_nee

@rasterror  next you're gonna say that janitor at ubi was responsible for that

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@CaptainHerlock Or it's a sign of bankruptcy. 


Best restaurant town I've ever been to.  Counting NYC, Paris, Rome and Vegas.

daviz88
daviz88

don't feed the troll

zerofrust
zerofrust

@BabeNewelll  i can't, Gaben is my lord and savior. I'm not worthy of looking at him!!!