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Naughty Dog co-founders form new casual studio

Jason Rubin and Andrew Gavin return to the videogame industry with social game studio Monkey Gods

Naughty Dog co-founders Jason Rubin and Andrew Gavin have returned to the games industry with a new casual and social-focused development studio called Monkey Gods, which the two co-founded with former HBO media consultant Jason Kay.

According to the Monkey Gods' official website, the studio is focused on the development and distribution of games for online social networks, the iPhone, and the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii consoles.

"Monkey Gods is a new company from an old team," said Rubin on the company's blog. "Andy Gavin and I have been working together for 25 years. We started making games in 1985 with a game for the Apple ][, and our company, Naughty Dog, went on to create the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter series. Jason Kay joined us to start Flektor, a media mashup tool that was bought and merged into MySpace in 2008."

"So we have game experience, web experience, social networking experience, and a love of all of them," he continued. "Monkey Gods was started so we could work on our passions. We think you will see that in the games."

Monkey Gods has announced two titles - MonkWerks, described as "a word game with a twist," and an iPhone and Facebook conversion of popular puzzle game Snood.

Jason Rubin announced that he was leaving Naughty Dog in October of 2004. Other than a brief appearance to host the 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco, Rubin has remained away from the games industry spotlight since that time.