Skip to main content

Naughty Dog co-president Christophe Balestra to depart after 15 years

Balestra will leave next month as famed studio looks toward life after Uncharted

Naughty Dog's Christophe Balestra will leave the acclaimed studio in April, after 15 years at the company and more than 10 as its joint president.

Balestra explained his decision in a blog post, in which he talked about the "personal ambitions and projects" he wished to fulfill and pursue. That period of Balestra's life will begin on April 3, his final day at Naughty Dog,

"The time has come for me to now spend more time with my family and create a void to see what I can fill it with," he wrote, before adding the bracketed aside, "which will obviously involve programming."

Balestra started at Naughty Dog as a senior programmer in 2002, a period when the Santa Monica-based studio was largely known for the Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises - games that "looked stunning and were technically ahead of their time," Balestra noted, a big factor in his decision to join the company.

"The time has come for me to now spend more time with my family and create a void to see what I can fill it with"

Balestra become co-president, alongside Evan Wells, in January 2007, the same year as the launch of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and the start of a period that would see Naughty Dog become one of the most admired developers in the world. According to Balestra, the company faced "a challenging future with the transition to a new platform, while developing a new engine and an entirely new franchise simultaneously.

"Looking back and seeing where we managed to take the studio in just over a decade is undoubtedly my biggest professional achievement. Evan has been the perfect partner and I couldn't imagine achieving the success we've had without him."

Evan Wells will continue as sole president of Naughty Dog, which is currently working on The Last of Us II and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Indeed, in a new interview with Game Informer, Wells suggested that The Lost Legacy may be the last Uncharted game from Naughty Dog.

"I would say that Naughty Dog doing an Uncharted after this is unlikely," he said. "I would never say never, but we've got The Last of Us Part II on our plates and there's so much other stuff that [we want to explore]. It'd be hard.

"If we magically had that two-team, three-team studio, sure - it'd be great to keep doing it. We really love the franchise, but the studio has limited resources and lots of other ideas. I'd say the likelihood is low."

Read this next

Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
Related topics