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Naughty Dog co-president departs after 15 years

Christophe Balestra moves on to pursue “personal ambitions and projects”

Christophe Balestra, Jimmy Fallon, Evan Wells on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon 
Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Naughty Dog co-president Christophe Balestra announced today that he’s leaving the Uncharted and The Last of Us studio after 15 years with the company. In a goodbye letter posted to Naughty Dog’s website, Balestra said he’s leaving his role to spend time with his family and pursue personal projects.

“It’s very challenging to come to the realization that it’s time to step away from a career to pursue fulfilling personal ambitions and projects,” Balestra said. “I am doing it now out of utmost respect for the team and their unwavering dedication to Naughty Dog and our projects. The time has come for me to now spend more time with my family and create a void to see what I can fill it with (which will obviously involve programming).”

Balestra joined Naughty Dog in 2002, back when the developer was better known for its work on Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.

“I always smile when we’re asked what our secret is,” Balestra said of the studio’s work. “We don’t have any — we dedicate ourselves to assembling the best and most determined group of programmers, designers and artists we can find. Our ‘secret’ is and, always will be, the talent and drive of the whole team at Naughty Dog. That’s why I can step away feeling confident about the future of Naughty Dog — because the team is only losing only one of its many members.”

Balestra’s longtime co-president, Evan Wells, will assume the role of president of Naughty Dog as of April 3.

Naughty Dog is currently working on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and The Last of Us Part 2 for PlayStation 4.

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