Straley joined Naughty Dog in 1999 — noting that he was employee No. 15 in the company’s records. “From day one, I knew I was surrounded by some of the most talented, driven, and passionate people in the industry,” he wrote in a message posted this afternoon to Naughty Dog’s website.
He is one of a few employees whose tenure predates Sony’s acquisition of the studio in 2001. He had worked on the Jak and Daxter series in his earliest assignments and, in his statement, credited Naughty Dog co-founders Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin for giving him his start in video games design.
His next breakthrough came in 2007 as the co-director of art for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, which launched an A-list PlayStation exclusive that carries into current day. Alongside Amy Hennig, he was director for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, then cooperated with Neil Druckmann to direct 2013’s The Last of Us and last year’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, all three critical and commercial successes.
“When you spend as much time as we do together, in the pressure cooker of creative work and deadlines, you really get to know a person,” Straley wrote. “And I’ve had my share of difficult and humbling moments. But having the privilege to see people grow beyond their concept of what’s possible for themselves technically, creatively, and personally has been the most rewarding aspect of my job and continues to motivate me to do the same.”
Straley credited Hennig, who left in 2014 for Electronic Arts’ Visceral Games, as a “great creative partner,” and thanked Christophe Balestra, the Naughty Dog co-president who departed Naughty Dog earlier this year, “for all the support and inspiration.” Straley did not mention his next plans for his games industry career but said “I look forward to the discovery and to sharing it with you all soon.”