Even with the huge amounts of success Naughty Dog still receives today, like any studio they have had their highs and lows during the development of their games. Naughty Dog's lead animator Jeremy Yates discussed on a GamesRadar livestream about one of the studio's greatest low points, when over thirty developers left the company during the production of the groundbreaking Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.
Prior to Drake's Fortune, Naughty Dog had hired animators based on their ability to do more cartoony and stylized art and animation. But when plans for Drake's Fortune were released, they needed to hire people who were able to render more photo realistic characters and environments. Unfortunately, many of these new people didn't understand how Naughty Dog operated, making it an awkward time for everyone who worked there.
A year after the release of the first trailer for Drake's Fortune, the studio worked on a vertical slice called "Jungle A2." During this development period, many team members quit, making it a “really dark period” for them. People had rarely ever quit before, but this time around one person per day was leaving.
When Drake's Fortune was into its second year of development, much of the new staff began to lose faith, saying that they were “screwed” and that they had “bit off way more than they could chew.” During that time of lost faith a developer was quitting every day, and over a few months over thirty people had left the studio. Luckily the studio veterans helped to pull the studio through. They knew it was going to be a rough ride going into the PlayStation 3's life, but those who persevered since the beginning helped to shape their company and the seventh generation of consoles.
Thank you for your perseverance and dedication over these thirty years Naughty Dog, and here's hoping for many more years and memories.