Developer Naughty Dog has announced that co-president of the studio, Evan Wells, is retiring at the end of the year. According to the studio, co-president Neil Druckmann will be fully in charge of the studio after Wells’ retirement.
Wells talks about his career in the gaming industry on Naughty Dog’s official website, where he also praises Druckmann. Having been been at Naughty Dog for 25 years, Wells says that he is confident that he is leaving the studio in “the best hands”.
Wells has worked on several Naughty Dog games since joining the studio back in 1998, including titles like Crash Team Racing and Jak and Daxter. Wells became co-president of the studio in 2004 after the departure of founders Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin. Druckmann joined him as co-president in 2020.
“The decision brings with it overwhelming and conflicting emotions, but I’ve come to realize that I’m content with my time at the studio and all that we’ve accomplished together over the last 25 years,” said Wells on the Naughty Dog website. “I couldn’t be more confident in Neil’s ability to carry on running the studio. It’s the right time for me to provide the opportunity for him and the others on the Studio Leadership Team to steer the studio into a successful future.”
The last game Naughty Dog released, the PC version of The Last of Us Part 1, was met with a mixed responses owing largely to the game’s myriad of technical problems. The studio has since been working on releasing updates for the game, including an update in April that prioritised fixing the PC version over optimising the game for the Steam Deck.
The studio is also working on a standalone multiplayer game based on The Last of Us, though recent reports have claimed that the project was recently scaled back after an internal re-evaluation. Recent leaks, meanwhile, have claimed that The Last of Us Part 3 is also currently in development.
Sad to see my boss, mentor, partner, friend leave… but happy for him to enjoy a well earned retirement! Evan, your unmatched legacy will forever be part of Naughty Dog! ❤️ https://t.co/G0jy946NHm
— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) July 11, 2023