That Naughty Dog and Double Fine Employee Story is Rather Strange and Likely Fake

In the last several days, a number of outlets have shared news of a supposed former Naughty Dog developer, Edgar Newman, exiting his role on The Last of Us Part II and taking up a new position at Double Fine. Such reports seemingly spawn from Reddit posts, which picked up on the story via Newman’s updated LinkedIn profile. There’s a bit of weirdness with regards to some of these details, however. Most jarring is that Newman’s LinkedIn account appears relatively barebones and features a few notable inaccuracies, and it’s entirely possible this person doesn’t even exist.

Supposedly, Edgar Newman has worked on prominent games for the last 20 years. According to his LinkedIn, he spent nearly a decade with Rockstar, before shifting to a senior role at the now-defunct Lionhead Studios. Newman allegedly went on to work as a Lead Game Designer for Massive Entertainment’s The Division. In the summer of 2017, he found himself at another big studio, Naughty Dog, working as a Senior Game Designer. Now he’s supposedly a design lead for Double Fine, a studio purchased by Microsoft just last summer.

It’s all wildly impressive, particularly given his humble beginnings at the University of Oxford. As mentioned above, though, this all seems rather fabricated, too. According to the title’s game credits, Mathias Karlson served as Massive’s Lead Game Designer on The Division. Meanwhile, Sylvain Jusselme and James Arthur assumed similar roles for support studios Ubisoft Annecy and Reflections, respectively. An Edgar Newman isn’t mentioned among the project’s lengthy credits. In fact, a Google search for Newman fails to yield results beyond the Naughty Dog/Double Fine claims.

What does this mean exactly? Did some internet troll go out of their way to craft a blatantly fake LinkedIn profile, which doesn’t even bother to include a photo or bio, merely to further stoke the fire surrounding Naughty Dog drama? It’s possible. And it seems the most likely answer to this very strange bit of hoopla. Either way, this serves as proof positive that not everything we read is based in fact.

This all comes on the heels of a difficult few months for the Uncharted studio. A report made the rounds in March, sharing claims of poor working conditions at Naughty Dog. Soon thereafter, additional allegations claimed the developer had a high turnover rate, compounded by a bad reputation regarding crunch culture. Of course, Naughty Dog and fans are now reeling from a recent TLoU Part II leak.

The Last of Us Part II launches this summer on June 19th.

[Source: LinkedIn, Reddit via Push Square]