Richard Lemarchand, the lead game designer at Naughty Dog is officially stepping down from his role at the studio to start teaching at the University of Southern California.
The designer will be more specifically teaching at the university’s School of Cinematic Arts at its Interactive Media Division. Interestingly enough, this is the same program that educated Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago, the co-founders of thatgamecompany.
Speaking to Gamasutra about his departure, Lemarchand expressed his excitement in taking on this new role, saying:
I’ve always been a very hands-on game designer. And I’m a big believer that no matter what level you’re working at on a project, it’s a very great thing to be able to stay connected to the practical processes of building out a game.
While this may serve as exciting news for Lemarchand – and the students of USC – there’s no doubt that his departure will leave a gaping hole in the Naughty Dog staff. He worked closely with writer Amy Hennig to deliver the epic story-driven blockbuster experiences we’ve come to expect from the Uncharted franchise, as the series’ lead designer.
Fortunately there’s always a silver lining, and while he may no longer be working at Naughty Dog, that doesn’t mean he’ll stop designing games. In fact, before he takes up his role at USC, Lemarchand plans to take a three month backpacking trip around the world where he’ll come up with new game ideas as part of a research project.