Sony lay-offs explained by insider, Hennig left Naughty Dog due to Uncharted 4 creative differences – rumour

Friday, 28 March 2014 08:34 GMT By Dave Cook

Uncharted 4 creative differences led to the departure of series writer Amy Hennig, according to an alleged Sony insider. The tipster has also claimed that Sony Santa Monica’s canned sci-fi IP failed every QA test it had taken.

UPDATE: We have since been informed that some of the source’s claims are untrue by someone close to the matter. As such, the article below has been amended.



It follows a round of lay-offs at Driveclub team Evolution Studios, Sony Santa Monica Studio and Guerrilla Games Cambridge. Seth Killian also left the God of War studio, and Naughty Dog’s Justin Richmond and Amy Hennig have both departed the Uncharted studio.

New claims regarding the lay-offs have come from industry insider Pete Dodd, who often posts Sony related leaks and rumours on NeoGAF. While the site’s moderators do need to see proof to back up rumours before posting, please do treat the following as rumour and nothing more.

On Sony Santa Monica, Dodd wrote, “Stig and his team spent almost 100 million dollars on a game that failed every QA test that took. The game sucked. They shitcanned the game and a lot of the people involved. They offered stig a spot on barlog’s project – he didn’t want to go from game director to something lesser so he quit.

“This makes sense, right? Shitty game, money wasted, people fired, head guy leaves out of ego? I mean that all makes sense.”

Turning to Naughty Dog, he went on, “Amy Hennig has creative differences about the direction that UC4 should go in. Egos swell, she leaves. She’s happy, she will make another studio much better when she gets there. Justin Richmond, an ally of Hennig’s, gets an offer he can’t refuse from Riot. He leaves.

“These things happen. Naughty Dog is going to be fine. UC4 will still be awesome. Riot will be better with the pickup of Richmond and whoever gets Hennig will be better off. The sky isn’t falling.”

Back to Sony Santa Monica, “Wouldn’t you shitcan stig’s project that cost them almost 100 mil and had nothing of value to show for it? In fact they should have done it two years ago. The fact they let it go this far is a testament to how much they believed in him after GoW 3.

“And all of this is happening before the fiscal year ends. Is sony trimming fat? Of course. Sony corporation is not in a great spot. So they are tightening up a bit. But a lot of people are connecting dots that don’t need to be connected. Hennig/Richmond is about creative differences and ego. Stig is about wasted money and time. Taken on their own they all make sense. Combine them together and you get glenn beck with a chalkboard.

“And Jack Tretton was about money and inability to move up. He will make more money and have more power somewhere else – something Sony simply could not offer him. Shit happens.

“It’s the same with the xbox department guys. People move around. People leave for other companies. Shit happens.”

Dodd then offered further clarity on what’s happening at Sony Santa Monica Studio, and Stig Asmussen’s project. “I heard various numbers between 75mil and 90 mil for Stig’s game. I said “almost 100″ because, well, both are almost 100 mil. They restarted the game, from scratch, THREE TIMES! And it sucked every time. The whole “it was too much like destiny” thing is bullshit. It was more horror-ish and like Dead Space than Destiny. That whole thing was sony jumping on the grenade to help Stig save face. And help themselves save face as they wasted a fucking TON of money.

“They started concept on it before GoW 3 shipped. Once GoW 3 shipped the moved to Darkside. They didn’t have online or DLC or shit like that to worry about. They jumped right into the next project.
The game initially was supposed to be out this year. It’s been clear for a couple years now that wasn’t gonna happen… but it does explain the giant hole in their fall lineup.”

On the whole situation at Sony right now, Dodd concluded, “There are reasons why Sony lost a lot of money during the PS3 years. They are trying not to repeat that. People losing jobs sucks. I feel for the SSM guys and everyone else. But Sony needs to run a tighter ship if they want to make money. They can’t allow teams to piss around for years with nothing to show. That’s why they completely restructured Japan Studio. Those guys had dozens of games that were going nowhere. It’s why they shuttered Zipper. MAG, while amazing – imo, was an expensive failure. Socom 4 was an expensive failure. They closed them down.

“Now they are tightening up on teams that aren’t delivering. It sucks – but it makes sense. The playstation division is in strong state right now. The PS3 is finally making money for them, the PS4 is off to best start in console history, and they are correcting the money-wasting mistakes of the prior generation. I’m not saying we should have a party now – there are clearly hurdles to overcome.

“Stig’s game being gone created a giant hole in their lineup. The timing of these things has tinfoil hats flying everywhere. Sony corporate has very big problems it needs to handle. Shit isn’t all rosy at sony – i’m not trying to say that. But it’s not doom and gloom either. These are all separate events that happened for very logical reasons when you look at them individually.”

Via DualShockers.