Uncharted series developer Naughty Dog has lost one of its veteran designers. Gamasutra reports today that Richard Lemarchand is leaving the Santa Monica, California-based studio to join the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC).
Lemarchand most recently served as lead designer on the much-praised Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. He will teach at the university's Interactive Media Division--the department thatgamecompany's Kellee Santiago and Jenova Chen trained at--and will also develop a string of "experimental games" for a future research project.
"For about ten years now, I've wanted to make a different kind of game, alongside my professional practice," Lemarchand said. "But… if I wanted to go out on a limb and take a chance to see some other opportunities, I always thought that the end of Uncharted 3 would be a good time to do that, and then I was very lucky that this opportunity came along."
Prior to joining Naughty Dog and working on the studio's now-famous Uncharted franchise, Lemarchand held high-level positions at Crystal Dynamics, where he worked on the Gex, Pandemonium, and Legacy of Kain franchises. Lemarchand began his game career as a designer for MicroProse.
Lemarchand plans to take a three-month backpacking trip across the world, where he'll get to work on ideas for his experimental titles. "Some are to do with procedural narrative; some are to do with space and exploration," Lemarchand said. "I've always been very interested in the power of environmental narrative."
USC was recently named the top game design school in the United States and Canada for graduate and undergraduate programs by The Princeton Review. The school topped the likes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, and The University of Utah to secure the top spot.
For more on Lemarchand's latest body of work, check out GameSpot's review of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.