Shaun Escayg rejoins Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog

Shaun Escayg has left Marvel’s Avengers developer Crystal Dynamics, where he worked as the game’s creative director, to rejoin Naughty Dog.

GamesRadar reports more on his background:

Before leaving Naughty Dog, Escayg worked as a cinematic animator on The Last of Us and Uncharted 4, and as game director for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. It’s not known what project he’s returned to the studio to work on, or in what capacity, but there have been recent reports mentioning Naughty Dog’s involvement in a new Uncharted project, as well as a The Last of Us remake and a multiplayer project thought to be linked to The Last of Us 2. It’s also understood that Naughty Dog’s next major projects are still in pre-production, making this a good time for the studio to bring on a new creative director to help shape the title.

Escayg joined Crystal Dynamics as writer and creative director of Marvel’s Avengers in January 2018, ahead of the game’s eventual release in August 2020. That launch was marred by disappointing sales, but Square Enix has already outlined plenty of changes on their way to the game – as well as the recent additions of Hawkeye and Kate Bishop, more characters and a Black Panther-themed expansion have been detailed – and Escayg told one fan on Twitter that “Marvel’s Avengers is in good hands” following his departure.

Multiple talents

Not mentioned in the GamesRadar article is that prior to his work in the gaming industry, Escayg worked as an animator for film and television. He was an animator on Outlander and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In addition, he was the director of the short films Noka: Keeper of Worlds and Fish.

Yesterday, Escayg tweeted that he was “happy to be back with the Dogs.” Meanwhile, the official Naughty Dog Twitter account responded: “Welcome back @ShaunEscayg! Excited [to] have you back at the studio and looking forward to doing awesome stuff together.”

Naughty Dog is a powerhouse

Of course, Naughty Dog is one of the top developers in the video game industry. They are best known for developing Uncharted and The Last of Us franchises. The Last of Us sold over 20 million copies. In addition, the studio created the classic Crash Bandicoot on the original PlayStation and Jak and Daxter on PS2.

Most recently, Naughty Dog released The Last of Us Part II on PS4. In addition to being nominated for Game of the Year, it won ‘Excellence in Narrative’ at the SXSW Gaming Awards.

My Take

This is a significant re-hire for Naughty Dog. Escayg has a long history with the company, so he has a strong foundation.

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