Co-president Christophe Balestra will step away from Naughty Dog on April 3, 2017, to focus on his family and other endeavors.
It’s very challenging to come to the realization that it’s time to step away from a career to pursue fulfilling personal ambitions and projects. I am doing it now out of utmost respect for the team and their unwavering dedication to Naughty Dog and our projects. 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 (which will obviously involve programming).
In a post on the official Naughty Dog website, Balestra spoke about his professional achievements and the state the studio started in and the condition the studio is in with his departure. In 2002, he joined the studio as a programmer – excited by the opportunity to work with the teams that helped develop the Crash Bandicoot series and Jak and Daxter. He reminisced, “For me, the biggest appeal was working with the team responsible for games I love to play, ones that also looked stunning and were technically ahead of their time. I would have never guessed what my future at Naughty Dog would look like when I joined the studio as a programmer.”
On leaving Naughty Dog in its current state, “I always smile when we’re asked what our secret is. We don’t have any — we dedicate ourselves to assembling the best and most determined group of programmers, designers, and artists we can find. Our “secret” is and, always will be, the talent and drive of the whole team at Naughty Dog. That’s why I can step away feeling confident about the future of Naughty Dog — because the team is only losing only one of its many members.”
As it stands, Evan Wells will continue to lead the studio, and we still have Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and The Last of Us Part II coming up.
Good luck Christophe!