When Bruce Straley—the director for The Last of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End—left Naughty Dog last year, fans were understandably shocked. After being a part of two of the most successful and well-received games that the gaming studio had put out, it was a surprise to see him leave. While it was a bit of a mystery as to why he left, Straley recently joined Kotaku’s Jason Schreier and Kirk Hamilton on the SplitScreen podcast to discuss his break and subsequent departure from the company.
Speaking about his break from Naughty Dog after the release of Uncharted 4 and how it felt creating the game, Straley talked about how stressful the development of the last Uncharted game was.
“Because we needed to get the game out the door, and we needed it to be something good so that it didn’t put a mark on the Naughty Dog name. I felt like, I guess in hindsight I took on that role more for the team than for me personally.”
Once the game—which Straley said he and Neil Druckmann finished in two years—was completed, Straley intended to take some time off, but that those months of time off turned into even more months.
“It was really hard to imagine getting back into the job and feeling as energized as I was back in The Last of Us or Uncharted 2,” he said. “And so I just felt there was a shift in me—something else was building up in me that was like all right, let’s see what else is out there.”
The entire interview is definitely worth listening to, as Straley talks about his career, his thoughts on the video game industry, and how it feels to not be involved with the upcoming The Last of Us Part 2.