Bruce Straley announced his intention to leave Naughty Dog last night. Straley made a name for himself handling the art on the Sega Genesis game X-Men, and has had a somewhat legendary career ever since. He had a hand in the creation of Crystal Dynamic's Gex: Enter the Gecko, joined Naughty Dog to work on Crash Team Racing, moved onto the Jak & Daxter series, became the game director of Uncharted 2, and then was made the game director of what would eventually become The Last of Us. Most recently he won awards for his work on Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.
This is the guy that gave us "The Bruce" during E3 2012 when The Last of Us was announced.
After 18 years, Bruce Straley departs from Naughty Dog to pursue interests outside of the game industry. "This has been the hardest decision of my career, Straley wrote in a blog post discussing his career move, "Naughty Dog is home. The Kennel is family. I’ve learned and grown so much from working with this incredible team. But after heading up three extremely demanding projects, and taking some extended time away from the office, I found my energy focusing in other directions, and I slowly realized this was the signal that it’s time to move on."
Straley talked about his beginnings at Naughty Dog saying, "I was employee #15. From day one, I knew I was surrounded by some of the most talented, driven, and passionate people in the industry. They were pushing themselves to do things beyond what they even thought was possible, which in turn pushed me, and I loved it! I mean, it was also extremely intimidating, but the energy and determination to make something great, something we could all be proud of, was infectious. And that’s the way it still is to this day. [...] I can't wait to see what they create in the future."
He ended his statement with a heartfelt expression of thankfulness for co-workers, friends, and fans:
With the deepest gratitude — thank you to everyone I’ve gotten to work with over the years. I’ll miss you and your energy profoundly. Thanks to Andy and Jason for taking a chance on me and setting the bar. Thanks to Amy and Neil for being great creative partners. Thanks to Christophe for all the support and inspiration — I’ve learned so much from you. And an extra special thanks to Evan Wells. You were the first person I met who truly inspired me to believe in the power of gaming, and if not for you I may never have made it to Naughty Dog in the first place. My appreciation goes way beyond what words can say.
And a sincere thanks to the fans. Knowing I was a part of creating something that touched or moved any of you made this whole thing worthwhile — and now I, too, get to anticipate the next Naughty Dog masterpiece!
As I close this chapter with a heavy heart and an appreciation for everything Naughty Dog has done for me, I open the next with an excitement to continue the journey into the creative process. I don’t have anything to announce just yet, but I look forward to the discovery and to sharing it with you all soon.
You can keep a lookout for any announcements on my Twitter: @bruce_straley
Dog for life,
Naughty Dog is sure to feel this departure. Straley is a talented developer - here's hoping his next workplace can help him find happiness and a bit of rest after going through the crazy process of creating numerous AAA titles.