Fans and devs thank Bruce Straley, co-director of The Last of Us, as he departs Naughty Dog

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Bruce Straley started his career at Naughty Dog as a texture artist for Crash Team Racing, way back in 1999. Ten years later, he served as director of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves alongside Amy Hennig. Four years after that, he co-directed The Last of Us with Neil Druckmann. And three years after that, Bruce and Neil teamed up again to direct Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. This week, Straley announced he would be leaving the company.

"It’s impossible to summarize 18 of the most influential years of my career in a blog post, but here we are - today, with the heaviest of hearts, I am announcing my departure from Naughty Dog," Straley wrote on the official Naughty Dog website.

"This has been the hardest decision of my career. Naughty Dog is home. The Kennel is family. I’ve learned and grown so much from working with this incredible team. But after heading up three extremely demanding projects, and taking some extended time away from the office, I found my energy focusing in other directions, and I slowly realized this was the signal that it’s time to move on."

Indeed, Straley has been away from the studio since Uncharted 4 shipped. He was not involved with the recent standalone spin-off Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, nor was he involved with The Last of Us 2 - so the impact of his departure to future projects should be minimal. Straley thanked the many friends he made at Naughty Dog, as well as those responsible for hiring him in the first place, and fans who supported the studio's work. Fans threw that love right back, with many thanking him for the experiences that defined their time playing games:

Former employees, co-workers, and devs Straley helped mentor also chimed in, thanking him for being a positive influence in their lives. Even Naughty Dog president Evan Wells gave Straley kudos and well wishes.

It doesn't appear that Straley is leaving creative works behind altogether. While his post didn't specify if he would continue working in games, he wrote that he was excited to "continue the journey into the creative process," and that he would share more soon.