The Last of Us Part III Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog Quietly Lays Off Contract Staff In Downsizing Effort

No job is secure during economic downturns, even for first-party studios under corporate video game giants. Sony’s first-party studio responsible for masterpieces like The Last of Us Part II, Naughty Dog, has quietly laid off their contract staff in their downsizing efforts.

The layoffs were internally decreed to Naughty Dog’s contract staff from multiple departments including art, production and quality assurance testing. At least 25 developers were involved in the downsizing. No full-time staff were apparently affected.

According to Kotaku, no severance packages were offered and contractors were instructed to work till the end of October. All staff were allegedly ordered to keep the layoffs hush-hush. Sony did not offer comments on the situation.

The layoffs follow the recent announcement of Naughty Dog’s co-president Evan Well’s retirement by the end of 2023 after his 25-year stint. Neil Druckmann will be stepping up to lead the studio as president. With Druckmann still at the helm and the end of the writers’ strike, we can rest assured that the quality of their titular hit TV series will still stay true to the spirit of the source materials.

The news also comes after a recent development pause to the multiplayer spin-off to The Last of Us’ Factions when Sony had diverted resources away from the project following negative internal reviews. Still, there is no empirical evidence that shows the layoffs are related to the halted development of Factions and Well’s retirement.

With 400 staff under their wing, letting go of 25 would probably not hamper future developments of their upcoming titles. Still, employees are people too. With livelihoods at stake, one can only hope for brighter futures and better employment for all who were let go in these challenging times. Although the wave of employment continues to grow, the development train continues chugging.