And they’re off to Infinity Ward of all places. Some people are worried that Naughty Dog is haemorrhaging talent. It all started when Uncharted’s creator, Amy Hennig seemingly acrimoniously left the company, followed by a spate of other key staff, including Uncharted 4’s director Nate Wells. And now two more leads have jumped ship.
Jacob Minkoff, who served as lead designer on on both Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and The Last of Us, has confirmed that he’s joined Infinity Ward as its new design director. He’s responsible for, amongst many other things, designing what is easily the most stand-out level in the entire Uncharted series of games, Uncharted 2’s train level.
Joining him as a defector is Taylor Kurosakr, who previously served as narrative design lead at Naughty Dog. He has also confirmed that he’s moved to Infinity Ward, where he joins as narrative lead at the Call of Duty studio.
New job! Design Director at Infinity Ward. Love ND; can’t wait to play Uncharted 4 as a fan. Excited to work with the talented team at IW!
— Jacob Minkoff (@JacobMinkoff) August 1, 2014
Very psyched to share that I’ve joined the phenomenal team at @InfinityWard as the studio’s narrative director. To infinity and beyond!
— Taylor Kurosaki (@taylorkurosaki) August 1, 2014
Since March 2014, Naughty Dog has lost Uncharted writer Amy Hennig, Uncharted 4 director Justin Richmond, lead artist Nate Wells, and The Last of Us lead character artist Michael Knowland. That’s a lot of high profile staff leaving in a short time, but Naughty Dog insists it’s all standard industry practise and that development of Uncharted 4 is going swimmingly.
It is also now within the realms of possibility that Infinity Ward’s next Call of Duty won’t have a terrible, terrible single player campaign.
Last Updated: August 4, 2014