Naughty Dog President Evan Wells Retires at the End of 2023

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Naughty Dog President Evan Wells Retires at the End of 2023

Naughty Dog President Evan Wells is set to retire from the company by the end of 2023. Here is everything you need to know.

Earlier today, Naughty Dog President Evan Wells announced that he'll retire from his Co-Presidency at the Santa Monica-based prestige game studio at the end of 2023.

Wells has been with the iconic developer of Crash Bandicoot, Uncharted, and The Last of Us since 1998 being one of the 14th employees to join the company which now counts over 400. He has been with the company through it all, from the release of Crash Team Racing all the way to the TV debut of The Last of Us.

This leaves the leadership of Naughty Dog in the hands of Neil Druckmann who has been named Co-President in 2023. Evan Wells himself has been part of the leadership of Naughty Dog since the departure of its founders Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin in 2004.

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Naughty Dog President Evan Wells' Legacy

Wells can leave Naughty Dog with his head held high, not only was he at the helm when Naughty Dog shot to the top as the Western prestige video game developer with the Uncharted series with industry icon Amy Henning. They also changed the perception of what a prestige video game can be with the release of The Last of Us.

It can not be understood how much influence Naughty Dog had on our industry under his leadership, and while there are no exact details, we can be pretty sure that Wells had a hand or two in that rise to prominence.

He leaves Naughty Dog as Sony Interactive Entertainment's number-one first-party developer who has changed games forever with the advent of the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. And with the The Last of Us TV adaptation reaching critical acclaim, Naughty Dog is in a great spot, even if The Last of Us Factions will take a little longer. And who knows what they're working on besides that?

Not bad for the lead designer of Gex: Enter the Gecko.

He left his colleagues with the following message as he continues his duties until the end of the year:

I couldn’t be more excited about our current projects and not getting to see those games to completion is going to be hard. But we’ve never had a stronger team in place to ensure that we will deliver them in a way that will set industry standards and exceed all expectations.

Finally, to all the Dogs in the Kennel – I am humbled to see what you all have accomplished, and I am thrilled to have the honor to watch from the sidelines as you all continue to uphold the well-established development culture that has led to our good fortune and string of successful games. I have no doubt Naughty Dog will reach new heights and continue to raise the bar for the state of the art.

Thank you for what has truly been a tremendous adventure, I’m thrilled to see what the future holds for this inspiring team and I’m so proud of you all!

– Evan Wells

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So What's Next for Naughty Dog?

The short answer is, we don't really know what is happening in Santa Monica. Now 3 years after the release of The Last of Us: Part 2 its Multiplayer spin-off which is supposed to be a standalone title called The Last of Us Factions is still MIA.

Naughty Dog's latest release was The Last of Us: Part 1 a full-on remaster of the 2013 PlayStation 3. Most recently The Last of Us: Part 1 also saw a release on PC via Steam with a potential release of The Last of Us: Part 2 still out.

We also hear occasionally of new projects being in the work, but all of this remains in the rumor category. The developer is known to stick with one IP throughout a console generation, with a little overlay here or there.


Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation 1, Jak and Dexter on the PlayStation 2, Uncharted on the PlayStation 3 with a little overlay onto the PlayStation 4, and The Last of Us, with only two games (one with 3 versions) on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

Should Naughty Dog decide to go for The Last of Us: Part 3, they face the difficult decision of undoing the poignant ending of The Last of Us: Part 2 or leaving behind fans of the franchise by introducing a new cast of characters.

Or maybe they're already working on something completely different? We for one are very excited for the future of Naughty Dog and thank Even Wells for being awesome.

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Naughty Dog President Evan Wells Retires at the End of 2023
Timo Reinecke
Has once claimed that FSH is the only job in FFXIV worth playing and stands by that firmly. Top Guy, Smart Guy, Educated Speaker. (sometimes) Writer of all things FFXIV, FGC, News, Reviews and More