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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."


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.

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"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.

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