Naughty Dog Co-President Evan Wells retires after 25 years
The game designer and programmer behind Jak and Daxter and Crash Team Racing has announced his departure from the studio after 25 years later this year.
- Wells announced his departure from Naughty Dog in a message posted to the studio's website on July 11. The former co-president states that he has been discussing his retirement from the studio for "well over a year" with the studio's leadership team, and even longer with fellow co-president Neil Druckmann. “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. 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.”
- Wells went on to explain how he got his start at the studio, joining as the fourteenth employee in 1998 during the development of Crash Bandicoot: Warped, and has since stayed with the studio as it has grown to over 400 employees. He then revealed that he can "track" major life events by which project he was working on at the time, such as meeting his wife during the development of Crash Team Racing, going on their honeymoon after Jak 2 shipped, having their first child during the E3 where the studio announced Uncharted, and having their second child during the development of The Last of Us.
- He concluded his message to colleagues by expressing his enthusiasm for the studio's upcoming projects, saying that it is "hard" not to see the games through to completion but that the team can "deliver them in a way that will set industry standards and exceed all expectations." It's also unclear whether Wells will leave the industry entirely, or if he'll go elsewhere, which appears unlikely.
- Druckmann also sent some parting words to the co-president on Twitter, writing, “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!” After Wells leaves at the end of the year, he will continue to serve as president of Naughty Dog.
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