Naughty Dog's lead designer, Richard Lemarchand, is set to leave the studio behind Uncharted, and take up a teaching position at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California...after he spends three months backpacking all over the world, that is.
"I think the simplest answer is that it seems like a natural transition point," Lemarchand said, explaining the move to Gamasutra.
"I was involved with the development of the Uncharted series not quite from the beginning, but almost... and even though the Uncharted series isn't intended to be viewed as a trilogy, maybe there's something about the number three that felt... there is a certain amount of completeness for me."
Lemarchand already has some experience acting in an educational capacity, having served as an external thesis advisor for USC in the past, furthermore, he suggested that he'd taken on the informal work of a teacher over the last few years anyway, saying that he feels "lucky" to have worked alongside "smart, talented young game designers".
But this move provides new creative opportunities as well, with Lemarchand set to work on experimental games as part of a research project in USC's Interactive Media Division, whose alumni count thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen and (now departed) Kellee Santiago amongst the roster.
"I've always loved the experimental and avant-garde," Lemarchand said. "I wanted to try to make a game in that sphere for the best part of a decade, now.
"For about ten years now, I've wanted to make a different kind of game, alongside my professional practice. I've always really loved working on the kinds of blockbuster AAA games that I've had the opportunity to work on, and I think I've been exceptionally lucky -- it's partly by luck and a little bit of judgment I've gotten to work on big games that are also, I think, real exemplars in terms of craft, and hopefully, ultimately, with some transcendent aspects to them.
"But... if I wanted to go out on a limb and take a chance to see some other opportunities, I always thought that the end of Uncharted 3 would be a good time to do that, and then I was very lucky that this opportunity came along. So I'll get to do what I've been yearning to do for a decade, in that regard - I realize how very lucky I am."