Naughty Dog Drops Uncharted PS4 Voice Actor, Loses Art Director

Naughty Dog Drops Uncharted PS4 Voice Actor, Loses Art Director

Todd Stashwick

Actor Todd Stashwick says Naughty Dog has opted to go with someone else for Uncharted PS4, while Art Director Nate Wells has moved on to Giant Sparrow.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it's starting to look a bit like things aren't going too well at Naughty Dog, the studio behind games including The Last of Us and Uncharted. In March, Uncharted Creative Director Amy Hennig left the studio, eventually joining with EA's Visceral Games to work on its unannounced Star Wars project. Just a couple of weeks later Uncharted Game Director Justin Richmond departed for League of Legends developer Riot Games.

Today, two more high-profile departures have come to light: Nate Wells, the lead artist on The Last of Us, who has moved to Unfinished Swan studio Giant Sparrow, and Todd Stashwick, who very effectively voiced the January Uncharted PS4 teaser trailer.

Wells announced his move yesterday on Twitter, writing, "Hmmm... seem to be some threads here. Yes, I joined the wild, wacky, and ultimately brilliant folks at #GiantSparrow on April 3rd." Stashwick, meanwhile, a classic "that guy" actor who's immediately recognizable from at least two shows you've seen that you can't quite put your finger on, confirmed with IGN that Naughty Dog "chose to recast my role." Stashwick had previously tweeted that he'd been involved with the new Uncharted project for six months.

The change may have something to do with Hennig's announcement earlier this month that Stashwick, apparently a man of many talents, has joined her as a co-writer on Visceral's Star Wars project. Stashwick confirmed his participation the same day, saying that he is "beyond humbled and excited" to take part in it.

Source: IGN

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Druckman strikes again!

Seriously though, I agree that it doesn't look like everything is going brilliantly at Naughty Dog.

I'm not feeling so good about Naughty Dog anymore. High-profile people are jumping ship, hurt feelings from critical former personnel...I'm not sure I care what happens from here on out. I'm willing to bet U4 will be indefinitely shelved, though. Expect more dating sims in the near future.

The hell is going on over there?

While I'm not sure if something completely nefarious is going on behind the scenes, but the way people are just leaving sure makes it pretty suspicious. Kinda makes me think Uncharted 4 is gonna suffer greatly for it. :/

I think there a lot of things that could cause this. One could be simply contract disputes. Developers are not on the forefront of western gaming countries like they are in Japan for instance. Everyone who knows Final Fantasy knows Tetsuya Nomura, but even to know someone as outspoken as Cliff Blezinski you need to be pretty familiar and interested in the industry. I mean there are a few exceptions, but it's a small group and even within that group it's not the same rock-star status.

So when these games get really popular and they start really turning a profit these big names become too expensive for what they are worth. Lets take the recent firing of Bungie's in house composer, Martin O'Donnell, which was said to be without reason, but from a corporate perspective the reason is very clear. While he is a talented composer, no one is buying games just to hear his music. Nobuo Uematsu people will buy into because Final Fantasy Music has a cult following within itself, but Halo? So he makes tones of money because every game he has worked on has gone gold, but the company could pay someone a quarter of the money and get what amounts to the same result. Blizzard outsources their music at times to the trans-Siberian orchestra which sounds expensive but as a one off, they don't have to give them stock options and benefits and keep that person on staff.

Similarly with Naughty Dog, their talent is quite experienced, but who knows who these people are except really dedicated game news followers. And that is not to diminish them and their talent because they are all great and made great games, but there is a lot of talent waiting in the wings who would work for half the price and without star power could draw the same results so when we hear of these departures it is probably because of this kind dispute.

I don't see nothing wrong with Naughty Dog. If anything, they are trimming the fat. I'm so glad that Amy Henning left as she's just a bad writer. Uncharted 3 was a bad game because of the story and writing. Nate and Sully's whole arc was horribly done and even contradicted Uncharted 2. The boat sections of Uncharted 3 were nonsensical, and most of the other set-pieces were just ripped from Uncharted 2 but done worse (like horses chasing cars instead of cars chasing cars). The 1st Uncharted game was a bad game all around. Uncharted 2 seems have turned out good just due to luck more than anything.

It's not just Naughty Dog. Many of Sony's studios are hemorrhaging talent. And let's not forget that Tretton is leaving too, or left too? I'm not sure which. The design lead on Drive Club is gone, Jaime Griesemer left Sucker Punch. Stig Amundsen left Sony Santa Monica. And all the shake ups at Naughty Dog too.

Let's not forget also that Playstation is just about the only thing Sony has that's making money these days. So I'd bet salary reductions play a role in at least a couple of these moves, though I have nothing but speculation and supposition to back it up.

Calling it now, future analysis: after refining their skills at cinematic gaming via Uncharted, Naughty reached their zenith with The Last of Us. Shortly after that (something we don't know yet but will probably know eventually happened); creative pillar Amy Hennig departed the studio, followed by several other personnel shake-ups. This marked the beginning of the end for the quality of the studio's output. It was all downhill from there.

We saw it with Squaresoft when they lost Hironobu Sakaguchi, and those that followed him, which closely coincided with Square-Enix's move to break their creative tradition of "no direct sequels" and make Final Fantasy X-2. Naughty Dog had a strong policy of developing a new IP for each generation, now they've broken that trend with Uncharted 4. Coincidence? Maybe.

But I say the writing is on the wall for Naughty Dog.

I understand that this post may come off as trollish, but let me be clear: this is JUST a personal prediction; nothing more, nothing less. I could be wrong. I HOPE I'm wrong. But I've been following industry trends long enough that I fully expect Naughty Dog's creative output to go downhill going forward.

Phoenixmgs:
I don't see nothing wrong with Naughty Dog. If anything, they are trimming the fat. I'm so glad that Amy Henning left as she's just a bad writer. Uncharted 3 was a bad game because of the story and writing. Nate and Sully's whole arc was horribly done and even contradicted Uncharted 2. The boat sections of Uncharted 3 were nonsensical, and most of the other set-pieces were just ripped from Uncharted 2 but done worse (like horses chasing cars instead of cars chasing cars). The 1st Uncharted game was a bad game all around. Uncharted 2 seems have turned out good just due to luck more than anything.

Why would they be trimming the fat when they're working on two games simultaneously? Whether you thought the Uncharted games were any good, this was going to be their (and Sony's) next big title for the PS4. When the creative director leaves during production, that's not a very good sign. They're likely already working on The Last of Us 2 at the same time, and if we now hear that the art director on that series is packing up, I can't see this as anything other than a loss.

And then to think Druckman is working on TLoU movie. Ugh... This is going to be biblical.

Phoenixmgs:
I don't see nothing wrong with Naughty Dog. If anything, they are trimming the fat. I'm so glad that Amy Henning left as she's just a bad writer. Uncharted 3 was a bad game because of the story and writing. Nate and Sully's whole arc was horribly done and even contradicted Uncharted 2. The boat sections of Uncharted 3 were nonsensical, and most of the other set-pieces were just ripped from Uncharted 2 but done worse (like horses chasing cars instead of cars chasing cars). The 1st Uncharted game was a bad game all around. Uncharted 2 seems have turned out good just due to luck more than anything.

You blasphemous heathen, bite your tongue!
Amy hennig wrote the legacy of kain series, the benchmark for storytelling in video games that had 2012 quality voice acting in 1996 and plays like a darker legend of zelda. Even today, you'd be hard pressed to find such an excellent saga.

I've always liked Stashwick in his various TV roles. Most notably his semi recent appearance on Criminal Minds. I have never played Uncharted.

Casual Shinji:
Why would they be trimming the fat when they're working on two games simultaneously? Whether you thought the Uncharted games were any good, this was going to be their (and Sony's) next big title for the PS4. When the creative director leaves during production, that's not a very good sign. They're likely already working on The Last of Us 2 at the same time, and if we now hear that the art director on that series is packing up, I can't see this as anything other than a loss.

And then to think Druckman is working on TLoU movie. Ugh... This is going to be biblical.

Isn't the TLoU creative director doing Uncharted 4?

Efrit_:

Phoenixmgs:
I don't see nothing wrong with Naughty Dog. If anything, they are trimming the fat. I'm so glad that Amy Henning left as she's just a bad writer. Uncharted 3 was a bad game because of the story and writing. Nate and Sully's whole arc was horribly done and even contradicted Uncharted 2. The boat sections of Uncharted 3 were nonsensical, and most of the other set-pieces were just ripped from Uncharted 2 but done worse (like horses chasing cars instead of cars chasing cars). The 1st Uncharted game was a bad game all around. Uncharted 2 seems have turned out good just due to luck more than anything.

You blasphemous heathen, bite your tongue!
Amy hennig wrote the legacy of kain series, the benchmark for storytelling in video games that had 2012 quality voice acting in 1996 and plays like a darker legend of zelda. Even today, you'd be hard pressed to find such an excellent saga.

I haven't played Legacy of Kain but her writing in Uncharted is pretty bad, none of the games have had a good villain.

 

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