Naughty Dog Co-Founder: “Sony Has Been Incredibly Good to Naughty Dog”
Jason Rubin, who co-founded Naughty Dog with Andy Gavin and is now the Head of Content at Oculus, sat down with IGN recently for a wide-ranging interview. Discussing the relationship between Sony and Naughty Dog, Rubin said:
Sony has been incredible to Naughty Dog, always giving them the assets that they need to compete. Most people don’t realize but quite often a game is won because a game got more budget. It’s bigger, it’s badder, it’s cooler because it got more budget… So, had it not been for that happening at any given time, Naughty Dog could have cratered, but Sony has been incredibly good to Naughty Dog.
In 2001, Rubin and Gavin decided to sell the studio to Sony following the success of Crash Bandicoot. After admitting that they “definitely agonized” over the decision, Rubin recalled a moment where former Sony executive Kelly Flock said Naughty Dog was at the top of the world before the sale and Crash was the #1 franchise out there – ahead of Tomb Raider and Gran Turismo in terms of dollar amount and units sold – and the company would never be bigger than the biggest in the world, so they “should think about safe harbor.”
He later added:
So Andy and I started talking… and it made sense. Our relationship with Sony was already so intertwined and magical and amazing that certainty for both parties made a lot of sense, and I think – my personal life story aside – it was the right decision for Naughty Dog. Look where Naughty Dog is today. As an independent, I don’t think Naughty Dog could have done that. I don’t think you’d have these games.