Naughty Dog's co-presidents have denied Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig was "forced out" of the company.
Earlier this week Hennig, who had been with Naughty Dog working on the Uncharted series for over 10 years, left the celebrated developer. It was a shock move - first reported by IGN, which claimed she was "forced out" by The Last of Us creative directors Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, and that the next Uncharted game for PlayStation 4 would now come under their control.
Overnight Naughty Dog co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra issued a statement in defence of Druckmann and Straley. It is reproduced in full below:
"Earlier this week we had to confirm the regrettable news that Amy Hennig has left Naughty Dog. She will be missed and, as we stated before, we appreciate the significant contributions that she has made to Naughty Dog and the industry in general. We wish her the best.
"However, we feel it necessary to clear up a very important point that was unprofessionally misreported when the story broke. Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann were NOT involved in what transpired. It was very upsetting to us that dozens of stories were run, linking back to the same hurtful accusations in the original report. As co-presidents of Naughty Dog, we are responsible for all studio affairs.
"Normally, we wouldn't respond to rumours and speculation on matters that are internal to Naughty Dog, but because the personal reputation of two of our employees is being damaged we needed to set the record straight. There is nothing left to be said on this subject. Now we're going back to what we should be focused on - making games."
Both Straley and Druckmann have yet to comment directly on the accusation this week, but Straley tweeted last night: "It's super reassuring to know our bosses, @evan_wells & @cbalestra have our backs. Thanks guys!"
And Druckmann tweeted: "My bosses @evan_wells & @cbalestra clarify recent events at Naughty Dog (thanks, guys)"
Hennig, too, has so far remained quiet on her departure. On 5th March she tweeted: "Well, now I know how to get my follower count to shoot up! Thanks, everyone, for the kind words - it's very appreciated. More than you know."
Well, now I know how to get my follower count to shoot up! Thanks, everyone, for the kind words - it's very appreciated. More than you know.— Amy Hennig (@amy_hennig) March 5, 2014
In confirming Hennig's departure Naughty Dog parent company Sony insisted development of Uncharted for PlayStation 4 would remain unaffected. More is expected at E3 in June.