A few hours ago, developer Naughty Dog revealed that Neil Druckmann, The Last of Us Part 2’s director, was promoted as the company’s co-president. The director has been with Naughty Dog since the mid-2000s and has left his innovative mark on most of the games that Naughty Dog released since then.
The development studio was founded all the way back in 1984, but it did not gain popularity in the gaming industry until the past few years. Famous for its franchises including Uncharted and The Last of Us, Naughty Dog has built a reputation for making narrative-driven titles that in certain ways feel as much like playing movies as they do video games.
These games have provided the studio with massive financial and essential success in spite of the fact that it has only released five games since 2010. Though there are a lot of contributing factors to Naughty Dog’s success in the past years, one of them is without a doubt Neil Druckmann.
Evan Wells, now also Naughty Dog co-president, revealed today on the studio’s official website that Neil Druckmann will be joining him as one of the company’s highest-ranking officials after serving three years as vice president.
Along with the promotion of Druckmann, former co-director of programming Christian Gyrling and former director of operations Alison Mori were also both promoted to vice presidents. Evans ended the short announcement by expressing how important it has been working with Naughty Dog, especially for this particular year, and asked the gaming community to extend their greetings to all those who have been promoted.
Though Druckmann has had his innovative hands in most of the studio’s projects, he has become relative to The Last of Us franchise. He worked as the original game’s creative director before actually taking the director of the sequel.
The Last of Us Part 2 didn’t get the same universal appreciation as the first game, however, and this was mainly because of the controversial narrative decisions that divided the gaming community. Yet the director anticipated this possible divide as revealed as much in a recent interview before the game’s release, showing how he truly understands his craft.
While his promotion is well deserved, the result of it could go one of two ways. Though creating games is a joint effort, those in the outside world do not know particularly how Naughty Dog works in their creative process.
On one hand, Druckmann’s promotion might mean that his talent in storytelling will spread to more future games. However, the increased pressure and responsibility might prevent him from applying his personal touch that made his games so successful or, in the case of The Last of Us Part 2, so expansively talked about.
Regardless, all of these promotions certainly will have an impact on Naughty Dog’s upcoming projects for the foreseeable future.