The Last of Us lead artist quits Naughty Dog

Nate Wells leaves Naughty Dog to join The Unfinished Swan developer Giant Sparrow.

If there is a sequel to The Last of Us, it looks like lead artist for the first game, Nate Wells, won't be a part of it. Wells said on Twitter last night that he has left Naughty Dog to join The Unfinished Swan developer Giant Sparrow.

Both Naughty Dog and Giant Sparrow are based on Santa Monica, Calif., so Wells did not have to go far for his new job. Giant Sparrow released adventure game The Unfinished Swan in 2013 exclusively for the PlayStation 3. The studio is currently working on an unannounced game.

Wells--not to be confused with Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells--leaves the studio around the same time that Uncharted writer Amy Hennig quit the outfit to join Electronic Arts. Before that, Uncharted 4 director Justin Richmond left Naughty Dog for League of Legends studio Riot Games.

Prior to joining Naughty Dog in August 2012, Wells worked at Irrational Games on BioShock Infinite. Naughty Dog is currently working on The Last of Us Remastered and a new Uncharted game, both of which are coming to the PlayStation 4.

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

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Discussion

198 comments
DomZeal
DomZeal

This sucker left Irrational Games for Naughty Dog when Bioshock Infinite was at key point of development.

cboye18
cboye18

Well that's how Rare started falling apart too. 

bluefox755
bluefox755

That's too bad, Last of Us had a fantastic art direction. Oh well, I'm sure they'll hire someone just as good, if there's one dev you can count on, it's ND.

namitokiwa
namitokiwa

I am truly worry. Why a lot of people leaving ND? They just keep going.

teller76567
teller76567

Why are a lot of people leaving Naughty Dog in a way of jumping ship?

VegasDawg
VegasDawg

It's sad to see one of the best developers on the planet breaking up, I mean these people have made some of the best games on the planet, I can't see how this is not going to effect ND in the future but I hope they can carry on. Something strange is going on there.

SystemOnline
SystemOnline

Maybe it's time for Naughty Dog to look at its bank balances and pay people a bit more before the entire studio haemorrhage away all of its talents

TheExxorcist
TheExxorcist

The last of Us is set... they don't need him. He's already innovated the team with goals...

And Santa Monica Studios is great to begin with...

God of War is awesome. Along with many games to come...

It's not a big deal honeslty. It's noteworthy although:)

HipHopBeats
HipHopBeats

Next thing you know, ND's co-president, Evan Wells will leave ND and join Microsoft.

Halloll
Halloll

so what exactly is going on at Naughty Dog now, did someone release a pack of hungry raptors in their studio?

devilscry
devilscry

Hennig went to EA!? What a shame, she'll make nice money atleast.

Abiz_
Abiz_

Don't have to read the article to know this tmz trash article is by Eddie. It's so common for talent to leave or get fired/layed off in the gaming industry. It is hardly ever news worthy. This lead artist is not a  Cliffy B. He doesn't deserve a article.

SoulScribe
SoulScribe

At this point TLOU2 will be milking. Let it die on a good note rather than keeping it alive on dialysis 

CharlesBurns
CharlesBurns

I'm guessing that working in the game industry (especially somewhere like Naughty Dog) your day to day job is working on the same game, usually for a few years. Eventually you're going to want to work on something else, even if it's the same kind of game but with a different story, that usually means moving to a different company.

onixevil
onixevil

TLOU gamers should get it to not ask for sequel .

endorbr
endorbr

This is the kind of ridiculous picture that "journalism" can paint.  Constantly being bombarded by articles like this just gives the impression that something is amiss, that Sony must just be a horrible company to work for and that they're going bankrupt any day now.  Which if you have any sense and understand business at all you'd realize is ridiculous.  You're seeing one very slanted side of the picture and us average Joes aren't privy to what is and is not going on within inside the company.  People come and go from jobs all the time and they don't bother to sync calendars with their coworkers to see if its convenient for the company they're leaving or whether or not it will impact something mid-project.  It doesn't mean anything is wrong with the company or that anything shady is happening or that financial collapse is on the horizon.  It just means that someone likely for their own personal reasons decided to go and find a different job.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@namitokiwa It O.K. Don't be cry. Sorry, absolutely not trying to offend. It's just that your writing reminded me of a friend who's roommate was playing StarCraft 2 against some kid I think in the Middle East somewhere. Anyway he got his ass whooped and the kid(probably like 10) messaged him saying exactly that and we all thought it was pretty funny.

dpclark
dpclark

@teller76567

ObamaCare to blame.  Wages and hours are being cut and benefits reduced all across America.

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

@VegasDawg  Uncharted 2 was the last game I liked by Naughty Dog but will admit I'm holding out for Last of Us complete edition since hearing about story dlc before the games release.


"Best on the planet" though? Well, to each his or her own. .

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

@VegasDawg  It's called success. It's sad, but most developers don't want to be known as "one of those developers". Working for somebody else is just a stepping stone. The idea is to get closer to creative freedom, and I'm betting that's exactly what Giant Sparrow is offering. 

VegasDawg
VegasDawg

@TheExxorcist  This is typical ignorant fanBOY speak, you mean to tell me losing even more talent at ND is not going to effect them? You live in a fantasy world.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@Halloll  i've been wondering the same thing myself. i don't think it is merely a coincidence that so many prominent people at nd are leaving at the same time. sounds like some sort of elaborate restructuring plan is taking place and people are not satisfied with the direction it is headed. perhaps there are 3 more uncharted games and two more last of us games planned over the next 10 years and that didn't sit well with those who were looking forward to working on a new ip? who knows. 

devilscry
devilscry

I kind of agree that the news is whatever, but it becomes note worthy when it's the 3rd lead in the past few months jumpin ship. Makes people think "what the hell's happenin over there!?".

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@Abiz_  Actually this is very noteworthy, and has been reported at most major games news outlets. 

tightwad34
tightwad34

@CharlesBurns Well yeah, but there are millions and probably billions of people who do the same thing every day. Sure it gets boring after a while, but the way I look at it is you have a job and are getting paid for it, so don't take it for granted. But if you have options of doing something else that will refresh you for a bit, then definitely go for it. Lord knows I'm entirely sick of my current job, but I won't just quit until I have another one lined up. Plus I don't want to take much of a downgrade in pay, obviously.

ncogneegro
ncogneegro

@CharlesBurns  

While many would find it worthwhile to work on different projects.  This looks like an oppurtunity to move on to something bigger and better, career wise. Look at the other folks who left Naughty.   Amy Hennig is going to DIRECT A  NEW STAR WARS GAME.  Be honest.  Who wouldn't quit their job to play in the Star Wars universe for more money?  Dudes do that for free. 


The other guys is working on League of Legends and they just print money.

SphinxDemon
SphinxDemon

Exactly. Working on the same thing for that long would be like monotonous and bland.

Jasbro
Jasbro

@endorbr Every other journalistic field in the bizz does the exact same thing, so why should we expect anything less from gaming websites.


Sadly its just how this world works, print stories on rumors and hearsay as if they're completely accurate stories.

VegasDawg
VegasDawg

@RSM-HQ @VegasDawg  I guess in your eagerness to attack my post you left a little bit out? I'll help you out,"SOME of the best games on the planet" and yes to each his/her own.

VegasDawg
VegasDawg

@PS2fweak  I see your point and you may very well may be right but some of their best talent all leaving at the same time, I don't know, seems like restructuring or they all are just pissed,lol. 

bluefox755
bluefox755

@VegasDawg  You talk as if there is a limited supply of talent, like they can't find another artist equally as good or better?

tightwad34
tightwad34

@Xristophoros You also were wondering if they have a pack of hungry raptors wandering around in the studio? That is one of the weirdest coincidences I have seen.

Karlinel
Karlinel

@devilscry  I'd summarize it as (of course, speculating): A director I don't particularly like got a major success, ego grows, I can't stand him so Im out.

Abiz_
Abiz_

@Kevin-V Naw, I think it's time for me to move on from gamespot. I want to know information about games. I don't need to know about talent moving around in the industry. That is common ground and you journalist are trying to make something special out of it lately. It's not. 

ziproy
ziproy

@Kevin-V @Abiz_  I think you should start paying attention to your readers criticism of your "journalists". Ya know if you cared about video game journalism at all.


How about you go back and flip through some of Eddie's past articles hmm to understand this guy's hate?? That is if this is about more than just money

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@ncogneegro  "Who wouldn't quit their job to play in the Star Wars universe"

I'm not sure you understand how games are made o.O...

TommyT456
TommyT456

@Jasbro @endorbr  I agree that it's nothing to worry about neccessarily but to be fair this isn't rumor or hearsay, the artist has left, it's fact. They haven't speculated about the reason for them leaving so there is no rumor here, just fact.

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

@VegasDawg I don't even know if a game can be labelled in anyway as even some of the best games on the planet. As it really is about opinion.


This generation they have made above average third person shooters, and that's what they are. Even if you do see it for platforming, graphics and story as well them shooting mechanics (the bulk of the experience) of these games isn't really on par with Vanquish.


& I did read but again, his or her own. What you treasure as great, I see as average.

VegasDawg
VegasDawg

@bluefox755 @VegasDawg  First off I would like you to know the definition of talent "Natural aptitude or skill" This can be neither taught or earned..

You must be young so I'm going to help you out. In your scenario AAA games scoring a 10 would be everywhere because talent is abundant. Sadly in the real world the best talent is very scarce and there is big time competition for these people hence why AAA games earning a 10 are very rare.

So in ending yes talent is in limited supply and they could find another artist just as good or better, but not likely.


Just so you know I'm talking about all of the talent NG was losing not just the artist, I should of made myself a bit clearer on that.

TommyT456
TommyT456

@Karlinel @devilscry  They've been successful for a long time, I doubt an ego issue would have arisen suddenly in the recent months

Harrason
Harrason

@Abiz_ @Kevin-V  Wait, what?

So many different people moving out of a particularly acclaimed company tied to a console company as an exclusive developer isn't relevant?

Sure, there's been a lot of not-so-relevant news on Gamespot lately, but this sure as hell isn't one of them, at least not by the majority.

NbAlIvEr10000
NbAlIvEr10000

@Abiz_ @Kevin-V  You lose dude ;(  ....... and this is information about games, so nobody is really sure about what you're getting at.

TommyT456
TommyT456

@Abiz_ @Kevin-V  Noone is forcing you to read this one particular article out of many that are currently featured on the site. News is news no matter whether you find it relevant or not and it's not like it's taking up space that should be used for some other subject.