We recently learned that, besides developing the first PS4 installment of the Uncharted series, Naughty Dog is working on a new game of the same scope and putting the finishing touches on The Last of Us: Remastered.
In the same interview on Game Informer co-founder Christophe Balestra mentioned that the studio is always hiring and bringing in new blood:
We always hire people! We were joking the other day, [saying] “Yeah, maybe before we hire someone we should just put it on the Internet so people can tell us if it’s the right hire.” Of course, we hired how many people in the last six months, twelve months?
That question remained without a precise answer, so we set out to find one for ourselves, thanks to Linkedin. The studio has about 250 employees, and Linkedin indeed lists 253, so it provides a pretty precise view of the staff.
Thanks to the portal we discovered that Naughty Dog hired at least seven new developers in 2014 alone (I say “at least” in case someone didn’t update his listing or doesn’t have a Linkedin account, but in today’s video game industry that’s pretty rare).
Here are the new “dogs” that joined the “kennel” (as the folks at Naughty Dog themselves like to call it) in 2014.
- Paul Fox – Dialog Supervisor, previously worked at Warner Bros. and SCEA.
- Jonathan Cooper – Animator, previously worked at Ubisoft Montreal, Bioware and Eidos Montreal.
- Nicolas Collings – Senior Character Artist, previously worked at Blur, Ubisoft Montreal and Larian Studios.
- Richard Lyons – Concept Artist, previously worked at Crytek, Vigil Games and Krome Studios.
- Andres Ortiz – UI Scripter, previously worked at Kin Valley.
- Ramy El-Garawany – Graphics Programmer, previously worked at EA Canada.
- Ming-Lun “Allen” Chou – Game Developer, previously worked at Uber Entertainment.
There’s quite a lot of talent right there, but let us take a closer look at who the new folks that joined one of the most talented studios in the industry are.
Paul Fox is not new to Naughty Dog’s games. Before a brief foray at Warner Bros. he worked at Sony Computer Entertainment America as Audio Development Manager, Lead Sound Designer and other capacities across all the major first party studios. He’s credited for the whole God of War series, Uncharted and Uncharted 2. There’s no doubt that his talent and experience will be precious for Naughty Dog.
Jonathan Cooper is also a veteran, having worked on Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Assassin’s Creed III, always in a lead or direction role from Mass Effect onward.
Nicolas Collings worked on Assassin’s Creed II, Brotherhood and III. Even more interestingly, he’s one of the main hands (as Senior and Lead Character Artist) behind the beautiful protagonists of Blur Studio’s incredible trailers. You can see his work on Halo 4‘s launch trailer, League of Legends’ cinematic trailer and in the CG trailers for many more games like The Elder Scrolls Online, Dead Rising 3, Injustice: Gods Among Us, FarCry 3, Dishonored and more.
Richard Lyons worked as Art Director at Crytek on Ryse: Son of Rome, and Concept Artist at Vigil on Darksiders II and at Krome on games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Andres Ortiz previously worked on the social game Kin Valley and on quite a few indie games. You can find his portfolio and demo reel here.
Ramy El-Garawany used to work at EA Canada on FIFA Street, NHL 11 and as part of the EATech Core team, handling the low-level aspects of EA’s multi-platform engines.
Ming-Lun “Allen” Chou is the first recent college graduate to be offered a job at Naughty Dog. After a random encounter with a recruiter from the studio at GDC 2013, he turned down an enticing offer as a Software Engineer at Microsoft to pursue his dream of working for the house of Uncharted, and he actually managed to get the job. I’d definitely advise to read his blog post telling the tale, because it’s great, and because it could prove encouraging for those harboring similar dreams. It can be done.
In addition to those mentioned above, Naughty Dog also hired multiple QA professionals and administrative staff, and went through another round of intensive hiring last year between October and November.
It’s worth mentioning that the Studio doesn’t seem to rush hiring. It’s career opportunities page had the same offers for three months, meaning that they definitely take their time to find the right candidate for each position.
So there you have it: as explained by Sony Marketing Manager Naito Arata a while ago, in this industry talent goes and talent comes. Veterans move on with their careers and the void is filled by other veterans, and by fresh blood like Allen Chou.
While reporting on people leaving or losing their job may bring in the controversy-driven hits, the sky isn’t falling at Naughty Dog, and personally I find talking about those that actually found a new place to call home much more interesting.