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:
You and Neil Druckmann are my idols in the industry of videogames ! You're awesome Bruce ! Very excited to see yours next projects ! <3September 14, 2017
Good luck to your future endeavors, I'll always be there to play everything you makeSeptember 14, 2017
@Neil_Druckmann sad to hear @bruce_straley is leaving @Naughty_Dog maybe he should help direct #TheLastOfUs movie @SonyPictures 😉 https://t.co/ilgNPmp4dqSeptember 14, 2017
Thank you Bruce for the wonderful memories and good luck in the futureSeptember 14, 2017
Me and a friend of mine talk about you two as the "number 1 dream team". Praise be to both of you. And good luck for the future, Bruce!September 14, 2017
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.
Working with you on U4 was one of the highlights of my career man. Like watching a #Gamedev Jordan in his prime. Cant wait to see whats nextSeptember 13, 2017
Lots of love! Will never forget how much I learned and grew as a designer under your direction. Thanks for everything.September 13, 2017
Working with you was an honor. Hope our paths cross again but I wish you the best!!September 13, 2017
It was a pleasure working with you Bruce, I learned so much about making great games under your direction. Thanks for everything.September 13, 2017
I'm sad that 20+ years of working w/ one of the industry greats has come to an end Thx for everything @bruce_straley https://t.co/zgNNlOrcPCSeptember 13, 2017
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.