Naughty Dog: Amy Hennig was not "forced out"

Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra call out the press for "misreporting" the nature of Hennig's departure

Naughty Dog co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra have dismissed reports that Amy Hennig was forced out of the company.

In a post on the Naughty Dog website, Wells and Balestra were critical about the way the press "unprofessionally misreported" the rumour that Hennig's departure was somehow aided or motivated by the actions of Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, the creative team that led the development of The Last of Us.

"Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann were not involved in what transpired." the post stated. "It was very upsetting to us that dozens of stories were run, linking back to the same hurtful accusations in the original report. As co-presidents of Naughty Dog, we are responsible for all studio affairs.

"Normally, we wouldn't respond to rumours and speculation on matters that are internal to Naughty Dog, but because the personal reputation of two of our employees is being damaged we needed to set the record straight. There is nothing left to be said on this subject. Now we're going back to what we should be focused on - making games."

The rumour started with an IGN report based on the testimony of several "trusted sources." Those sources not only leaked the information that Amy Hennig had left Naughty Dog, but also the idea that she had been "forced out" by the actions of others. When Sony later confirmed the accuracy of the information about Hennig's departure, it lent legitimacy to the report's more controversial claims.

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Latest comments (6)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 5 years ago
And now we're into "He said/She said", just with the "She" being "anonymous trusted sources." Obviously it's unprofessional to report either side as 100% fact, considering it's either anonymous source or it's a press release (depending upon the side), and one of the parties involved hasn't said anything yet (NDA?). But I wouldn't say it's unprofessional to report on such things, so long as they are explicitly stated as such, and not embellished upon or used as the basis for speculation.

As an addendum to this, it's a shame that I'm wary of anything "anonymous trusted sources" in the games industry say, but have no real problem with them in the wider world and journalism generally.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 7th March 2014 11:38am

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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
What people will do to gain headlines... its shameful sometimes.... seriously... I truly doubt she was forced out...
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Bill Young Head of Strategic Partnerships & Sponsorships, esports, Twitch5 years ago
wouldn't asking Amy provide some insight? ...just a suggestion.
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Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online5 years ago
The statement is a bit of a non-statement though, no?

"Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann were NOT involved in what transpired."

That does not exactly tell us anything, i.e. whether she was or was not forced out. Great chance of crisis PR wasted.
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Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike5 years ago
Agreed - I'm a bit confused by this article, and what in fact Neil and Bruce have set straight... I don't think anyone was saying WHO forced Amy out - just that she WAS forced to leave the company. Telling us that Neil and Bruce don't have anything to do with this is a strange deflection by this company, that I really respect a lot.

Long of the short, it seems fairly obvious there was a political fracture between Amy and the company, which made their working relationship no longer viable. That is too bad. We all know how office politics can be. I enjoyed Amy's work a lot, and it's sad to see she won't be involved with Naughty Dog anymore. I hope that this isn't too discouraging for her, and that she lands on her feet somewhere else.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 5 years ago
Telling us that Neil and Bruce don't have anything to do with this is a strange deflection by this company...
I dunno. I'm willing to buy their argument that, while not wanting to give details, they didn't want a heap of blame dumped on those two particular people.
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