Internal promotions for people at the studio might indicate that work on a new project is underway.
That Naughty Dog will be crucial to Sony’s plans for bolstering the PS5’s library goes without saying, but it seems like the developer may have started working on its next project already. As Twisted Voxel points out in its report, several changes and promotions within the studio might be suggesting that Naughty Dog may have started working on its next game halfway through 2020.
Vinit Agarwal and Richard Cambier, who were both Lead Designers at the studio until recently, were both promoted to co-game director positions in September of 2020, suggesting that they might have taken those positions on the studio’s next project. September saw other internal promotions at the studio as well, with Maksym Zhuravlov being made Principal Animator, Michal Mach becoming Lead Animator, and Max Dyckhoff being made Lead AI Engineer.
Further, Waylon Brinck was made Development Director in October 2020. Interestingly, the LinkedIn project of Robert Krekel also states that he began working as Audio Director on a new unannounced project.
Halfway through 2020, Naughty Dog had also started recruiting new developers to begin working on a next-generation game for the PS5, so it seems more than a little likely that that was this very project.
What this new game is, of course, is the question to ask. Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann said shortly after The Last of Us Part 2’s launch that their next game could either be a sequel or an entirely new IP. Meanwhile, Naughty Dog is also expected to work on a Last of Us multiplayer project.