Neil Druckmann Alone at the Top as Naughty Dog Co-President Retires After 25 Years

Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells is retiring at the end of the year, leaving Neil Druckmann to fully take the reins of one of the PlayStation’s best-known studios.

In a message published on Naughty Dog’s officiate site, Wells talked about his 30 year career in games and praised Druckmann, saying that he’s “incredibly confident” that he’s leaving the studio in “the best hands.”

Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells is retiring after 25 years with the company. Photo source: Naughty Dog.
Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells is retiring after 25 years with the company. Photo source: Naughty Dog.

“This is something that I’ve been discussing with Naughty Dog’s Studio Leadership Team for well over a year, and with Neil for even longer than that,” Wells wrote.

“The decision brings with it overwhelming and conflicting emotions, but I’ve come to realize that I’m content with my time at the studio and all that we’ve accomplished together over the last 25 years. I couldn’t be more confident in Neil’s ability to carry on running the studio. It’s the right time for me to provide the opportunity for him and the others on the Studio Leadership Team to steer the studio into a successful future.”

Druckmann praised Evan in a tweet, calling his legacy “unmatched.”

“Sad to see my boss, mentor, partner, friend leave… but happy for him to enjoy a well earned retirement! Evan, your unmatched legacy will forever be part of Naughty Dog!” Druckmann wrote.

Evan Wells has been at Naughty Dog since 1998, with credits including Crash Team Racing and Jak and Daxter. Wells became co-president of Naughty Dog following the departure of founders Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin in 2004. Druckmann was promoted to co-president alongside wells in 2020.

Wells departs in the midst of a challenging year for Naughty Dog. While The Last of Us has found great success on television, the multiplayer version has faced setbacks and delays. The PC port, which launched back in March, has similarly been met with mixed reviews.

Nevertheless, Naughty Dog remains one of PlayStation’s crown jewels as Wells prepares to depart.

“I have no doubt Naughty Dog will reach new heights and continue to raise the bar for the state of the art,” Wells wrote. “I have no doubt Naughty Dog will reach new heights and continue to raise the bar for the state of the art.”

Blogroll photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO

Kat Bailey is IGN’s News Director as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.



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