Nate Wells left Naughty Dog for an art director position at The Unfinished Swan developer Giant Sparrow, the developer announced in a tweet late yesterday.
Wells joined Naughty Dog in August 2012 following his departure from Irrational Games, where he spent 13 years and most recently served as art director on BioShock Infinite. Wells took up as lead artist on PlayStation 3 exclusive The Last of Us and, according to his tweet, left for Santa Monica-based indie developer Giant Sparrow in early April — shortly before the announcement of The Last of Us Remastered for PlayStation 4. Wells' Twitter profile notes the Giant Sparrow affiliation, but his LinkedIn remains unchanged, stating that he is "currently between careers" at the time of writing.
Hmmm....seem to be some threads here. Yes, I joined the wild, wacky, and ultimately brilliant folks at #GiantSparrow on April 3rd.— Nate Wells (@PrettyLarceny) April 21, 2014
Wells marks the third high-profile departure from Naughty Dog in the past two months. Uncharted series creative director Amy Hennig left the studio in early March, with Naughty Dog stating the timeline for the in-development PS4 Uncharted title would not be impacted. Hennig has since joined EA's Visceral Games to work on the studio's upcoming Star Wars project. Uncharted 4 game director Justin Richmond left later that month for League of Legends developer Riot Games.
Giant Sparrow is currently under a three-game contract with Sony, the first being The Unfinished Swan, which launched through PlayStation Network in fall 2012. The studio's second game was announced in March last year as Edith Finch, a game that would not be a sequel to The Unfinished Swan but not "a million miles away either." The studio has since retracted the game title, instead referring to it as "Unannounced Giant Sparrow Project."