The co-president of Naughty Dog is retiring

Evan Wells, co-president of Naughty Dog

After 25 years at Naughty Dog, makers of The Last of Us and Uncharted, co-president Evan Wells is taking a well-deserved rest.


Evan Wells, co-president of Californian studio Naughty Dog, has announced his retirement after 25 years at the studio. Neil Druckmann, who co-created of The Last of Us and became the studio’s co-president in 2020, will be taking over as the sole president of Naughty Dog.

“This is something that I’ve been discussing with Naughty Dog’s Studio Leadership Team for well over a year, and with Neil for even longer than that,” said Wells in a statement. “The decision brings with it overwhelming and conflicting emotions, but I’ve come to realize that I’m content with my time at the studio and all that we’ve accomplished together over the last 25 years. I couldn’t be more confident in Neil’s ability to carry on running the studio. It’s the right time for me to provide the opportunity for him and the others on the Studio Leadership Team to steer the studio into a successful future.”

Wells has been making games for 30 years, and has spent the majority of his career at Naughty Dog, where he became employee number 14 when he joined in 1998. Before that, he was a designer on Gex and Gex: Enter the Gecko – and in a remarkable coincidence, a rerelease of those games was announced at almost the same time that Wells announced his retirement.

Early in his career at Naughty Dog, Wells worked on games like Crash Bandicoot: Warped, Crash Team Racing, Jak & Daxter and Jak II, before becoming co-president in 2005. “I met my wife during Crash Team Racing, we took our honeymoon after shipping Jak 2, had our first child E3 week when we announced Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and our second child was born right in the thick of development on The Last of Us,” said Wells.

Naughty Dog was purchased by Sony in 2001, and Wells made a point of thanking the “the passionate and driven teams” at Sony Interactive Entertainment and PlayStation Studios. He adds that there’s “never a perfect time to step away”, but he is confident in the studio’s future success.

“I couldn’t be more excited about our current projects and not getting to see those games to completion is going to be hard. But we’ve never had a stronger team in place to ensure that we will deliver them in a way that will set industry standards and exceed all expectations.”

Read more: The Last of Us almost got a spin-off featuring Ellie’s mum

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