Login | Signup

Jumped or Pushed? Amy Hennig's Naughty Dog departure has worrying undertones

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Amy Hennig, Naughty Dog, PS4 games, Uncharted 4

Jumped or Pushed? Amy Hennig's Naughty Dog departure has worrying undertones

Amy Hennig, lead writer on the Uncharted series,  who has enjoyed over a decade of success at Naughty Dog, has left the company.

IGN broke the news first, citing "numerous trusted sources" who suggested that Hennig had been "writing and leading development" on the recently teased next Uncharted game for PS4.

Perhaps more worryingly, IGN also said that sources claim the creative director was "forced out" by The Last of Us leads Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, and that Nathan Drake's adventures will now come under their control.

Sony have confirmed the departure, issuing the following statement:

"We can confirm that Amy Hennig has left Naughty Dog. Amy has made significant contributions to the game industry and we appreciate all she has done for Naughty Dog. The development timeline of Uncharted will not be impacted."

The development timeline is one thing, but the quality of the series is another. Under Hennig's watch, Uncharted grew to become arguably the biggest exclusive franchise across PlayStation platforms during the last generation, and the stellar script and fantastically written and realised characters had much to do with that success.

To put this kind of creative loss into perspective, it's worth noting that Hennig won the Writers Guild of America's Outstanding Achievement in Writing for Video Games in 2012 and that she was listed by Fortune as one of the most powerful women in gaming. Though the central plots to the Uncharted games have often been a little stock, the series has found an adoring audience thanks to Hennig's keen eye for character nuances, excellently written dialogue, and zippy wit. Which begs the question, if the rumours are true, why the hell would you get rid of her?

Naughty Dog essentially split in two following Uncharted 2, with Hennig leading the team working on Uncharted 3 and Straley and Druckmann focussing on The Last of Us, so the consolidation of the studio under one creative team has precedent, but this is still a huge loss for Naughty Dog and we're left wondering at the reasoning behind it all. Creative clashes? Corporate fiddling? Now that Hennig had enjoyed leading the series singularly on Uncharted 3 did she not want to compromise again? We don't know at this point, but one thing is for sure -- this is something of a blow for the series, and it sounds like there's more here than is currently being said. In any case, we wish her all the best for the future, and it'll be interesting to see where she ends up next.

We'll be updating this as we get more news and context, but what are your initial reactions to this? Do you think Hennig's departure could spell danger for a series that has been acclaimed the world over for her writing and characterisation, or is this just a small drop in the ocean for Naughty Dog and Sony? Let us know below in the comments. [IGN]

Add a comment6 comments
stevenjameshyde  Mar. 5, 2014 at 10:17

The writing and characterisation in The Last of Us was every bit as good, if not better, so I'm still pretty optimistic about the future of the series. I'd be very interested to see where Hennig goes next

Eastwood1  Mar. 5, 2014 at 11:23

Justin Richmond was Game Director and Amy Hennig was Creative Director for Uncharted 3, just like Bruce Straley and Neil Druckman for TLoU. Justin Richmond is still Game Director for Uncharted 4.

N2NOther  Mar. 5, 2014 at 15:59

The writing and characterisation in The Last of Us was every bit as good, if not better, so I'm still pretty optimistic about the future of the series. I'd be very interested to see where Hennig goes next


The problem is that they have drastically different tones. This could be an issue. Also, she has written all 3 games. It has been her voice. You can't really duplicate a writer's voice. Regardless of how talented you are.

Cozomell  Mar. 5, 2014 at 16:41

It is no big loss as the Uncharted games are so overrated, the story's were cliche, and the gameplay generic. All it had going for it was graphics and even then they weren't that great.

The Last Of Us had a better story so it's natural to get rid of the weakest link, in this case her. Maybe the Uncharted games will actually be good now....

jb223  Mar. 5, 2014 at 22:20

The writing and characterisation in The Last of Us was every bit as good, if not better, so I'm still pretty optimistic about the future of the series. I'd be very interested to see where Hennig goes next


The problem is that they have drastically different tones. This could be an issue. Also, she has written all 3 games. It has been her voice. You can't really duplicate a writer's voice. Regardless of how talented you are.


Totally agreed. I also believe that writing a Post-Apocalyptic serious game like TLOU is a totally different beast from something like Uncharted, and possibly quite a bit easier. It's much more difficult as a writer to make characters solid & relatable in all situations as opposed to constant duress. I love Naughty Dog & all of their games, but Amy Hennig IS Uncharted to me. The storytelling she possesses is altogether different and in my eyes better than any other in the industry. People need to take into perspective that the writing doesn't only affect what the characters say, it affects everything, from the flow of the game to the environments they end up in, the amazing set-piece moments that made UC stand out from the pack in terms of innovation….there really is no understating the importance that Amy Hennig had in making these games more than their counterparts in every aspect. While she has come out on Twitter & announced that she wasn't "forced" or "pushed" out from her position, it's still a massive blow not only to Uncharted & Naughty Dog, but to the Playstation brand as a whole to me personally. I'm really hoping that UC4 releases w/ a story by Amy, even if it will be her last w/ the series.

sgerheshrh  Mar. 8, 2014 at 05:00

The writing and characterisation in The Last of Us was every bit as good, if not better, so I'm still pretty optimistic about the future of the series. I'd be very interested to see where Hennig goes next


The problem is that they have drastically different tones. This could be an issue. Also, she has written all 3 games. It has been her voice. You can't really duplicate a writer's voice. Regardless of how talented you are.


You really don't think that the script is done by this time?

It's always nice hearing from people who have never stepped near a studio; but man, if production worked in your timeline... haha, that's all I can say to that.

Email Address:

You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.