Evan Wells Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog Co-President Evan Wells Retires After 25 Years In The Kennel

After nearly 25 years at Naughty Dog, Evan Wells has announced he is retiring at the end of this year.

On Naughty Dog’s official blog, Wells revealed his decision to hang up his hat at the studio.

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“This is something that I’ve been discussing with Naughty Dog’s Studio Leadership Team for well over a year, and with Neil for even longer than that. The decision brings with it overwhelming and conflicting emotions, but I’ve come to realize that I’m content with my time at the studio and all that we’ve accomplished together over the last 25 years,”says Wells. “I couldn’t be more confident in Neil’s ability to carry on running the studio. It’s the right time for me to provide the opportunity for him and the others on the Studio Leadership Team to steer the studio into a successful future.”

Evan Wells has been in the games industry for over 30 years and has been at Naughty Dog for most of his career. When he was hired, he was the 14th employee during Crash Bandicoot 3 development in 1998 to now having over 400 employees. Wells mentions many personal milestones are tied to games he worked on, like meeting his wife during Crash Team Racing, taking a honeymoon once Jak 2 shipped and having children during Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and The Last of Us.

“Working here has been awe inspiring and I have nothing but gratitude for everything that I’ve been able to learn and be a part of. And, getting to collaborate with the passionate and driven teams at SIE and the other PlayStation Studios has been a pleasure,” continues Wells. “I’ve never taken for granted the opportunity I’ve had to be surrounded by such impressive creativity and talent and I’m thankful to all – past and present – for teaching me so much.”

Following the news that Even Wells was leaving at the end of the year, current co-President Neil Druckmann posted a roadmap of what was happening at Naughty Dog.

Until the end of the year, Druckman will become co-head of the studio with Wells until he leaves at the end of the year while also assuming the role of creative.

Alison Mori is promoted to Studio Manager and Head of Operations, managing finances and overall operations.

Arne Meyer continues his work in developing the long-term cultural impact and well-being at the studio as the Head of Culture and Communications.

Christian Gyrling continues to serve as Head of Technology with Erick Pangilinan and Jeremy Yates joining the Studio Leadership team where they serve as Co-heads of the Arts Department; Anthony Newman moves in the role of Head of Production and Design.

“Erick Pangilinan has been a tremendous asset for over 25 years with Naughty Dog, and his contributions both to the studio and to our games are without parallel and cannot be overstated, from progression to environment artist to Art Director to building our industry-leading outsourcing pipeline, the dedication and aptitude Erick brings to our studio is invaluable.

“Jeremy Yates has brought expertise and craftsmanship to Naughty Dog for over 20 years, from Lead Animator on the Uncharted franchise to our first Animation Director, his contributions and organizational skills span across a multitude of projects, making him the perfect candidate to make the studio stronger.

Anthony Newman joined us during Uncharted 2 and went on to Co-Game Direct The Last of Us Part II. His high level of attention to detail and quality will undoubtably aid us in bringing more rigor and standards to our processes to ensure we continue to craft our games in an environment that brings out the best in our creative process and in our talent,” says Druckmann.”We wish Evan well in his well-earned retirement! He’s been extremely generous to stay on for much longer than he originally planned, working closely with us to thoroughly craft this new structure. I feel truly honored to have such a passionate, thoughtful, and talented team at Naughty Dog, and this growth reflects the ability to recognize the meaningful contributions from all departments, while setting up our studio to be more accessible, agile, and scalable”