The following message was shared with the Naughty Dog team earlier today. Please read on for a statement from Neil Druckmann regarding promotions and updates around studio leadership.
Today Evan Wells announced that after 25 years at Naughty Dog, he’ll be retiring at the end of 2023.
While he will very much still be part of the Studio Leadership Team until his departure, he and I have spent much of the past couple of years building a leadership structure that reflects our growing team at the Kennel and sets us up for the future.
As Evan has pointed out, our good fortune has led to immense and steady growth. With that kind of success and size comes the need to re-evaluate how we structure a Studio Leadership Team that reflects the next chapter for Naughty Dog.
At present, I will be Co-Head of the studio with Evan Wells, along with taking on the responsibilities of Head of Creative, ensuring that I will be able to invest in the future of our projects, creative vision, and overall business strategy.
Alison Mori is getting promoted to Studio Manager and Head of Operations, where she will be responsible for Naughty Dog’s overall operations and finances and will join me in steering the business of our studio.
Arne Meyer will be continuing his work in developing long term cultural impact and wellbeing at the studio and is now Head of Culture and Communications.
Our Head of Technology will be Christian Gyrling, who will continue to push us to new heights in innovation and technical solutions.
Joining our already existing Studio Leadership bench will be Erick Pangilinan and Jeremy Yates as Co-Heads of our extensive and impressive Art Departments, while Anthony Newman will move into his new role as Head of Production and Design.
Erick Pangilinan has been a tremendous asset for over 25 years with Naughty Dog, and his contributions both to the studio and to our games are without parallel and cannot be overstated, from progression to environment artist to Art Director to building our industry-leading outsourcing pipeline, the dedication and aptitude Erick brings to our studio is invaluable.
Jeremy Yates has brought expertise and craftsmanship to Naughty Dog for over 20 years, from Lead Animator on the UNCHARTED franchise to our first Animation Director, his contributions and organizational skills span across a multitude of projects, making him the perfect candidate to make the studio stronger.
Anthony Newman joined us during UNCHARTED 2 and went on to Co-Game Direct The Last of Us Part II. His high level of attention to detail and quality will undoubtably aid us in bringing more rigor and standards to our processes to ensure we continue to craft our games in an environment that brings out the best in our creative process and in our talent.
While Evan will be terribly missed, I am confident that our evolved Studio Leadership Team will allow us to thrive and grow in new areas.
We wish Evan well in his well-earned retirement! He’s been extremely generous to stay on for much longer than he originally planned, working closely with us to thoroughly craft this new structure. I feel truly honored to have such a passionate, thoughtful, and talented team at Naughty Dog, and this growth reflects the ability to recognize the meaningful contributions from all departments, while setting up our studio to be more accessible, agile, and scalable.
I know I speak for everyone at Naughty Dog when I say, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Evan; for your knowledge, your love of this studio and the industry, and for the great care you took to ensure that our studio was always moving in the right direction, your inspiring leadership will forever be part of our DNA.