Christophe Balestra has announced that he is leaving Uncharted developer Naughty Dog at the start of next month.
The studio’s co-president has been with the company for 15 years, having joined when it was in the midst of the Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter era. Fellow long-term co-president Evan Wells will step up to president when Balestra departs on April 3rd.
“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,” he 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).
“I had the luxury and the honor to work with the most determined, talented and perfectionist people in our industry during my time at Naughty Dog. The collective high ambitions of everyone on the team have led us to ship some of the most awarded and critically acclaimed games of all time. I always smile when we’re asked what our secret is. We don’t have any — we dedicate ourselves to assembling the best and most determined group of programmers, designers and artists we can find.
“Twelve years ago, when Evan and I became Co-Presidents, Naughty Dog was facing a challenging future with the transition to a new platform while developing a new engine and an entirely new franchise simultaneously. Looking back and seeing where we managed to take the studio in just over a decade is undoubtedly my biggest professional achievement. Evan has been the perfect partner and I couldn’t imagine achieving the success we’ve had without him. It’s been a privilege to work with you, my friend.
“Thanks from the bottom of my heart to everyone I worked with during the last fifteen years, it’s just been incredible. And to all the fans… I know what’s in store and, with Evan leading the best team on the planet as President, I know that Naughty Dog will continue to blow you away.”