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Bruce Straley

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Bruce Straley
A man with short brown hair, smiling and looking at something to the right of the camera.
Straley at PAX Prime 2014
Residence Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation
  • Game director
  • artist
  • designer
Employer Naughty Dog

Bruce Straley is an American game director, artist and designer for the video game developer Naughty Dog, known for his work in the video games The Last of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Straley's first video game work was as an artist at Western Technologies Inc, where he worked on two titles. Following this, he worked as a designer on titles for different companies, prior to his employment at Crystal Dynamics, where he worked as a designer on Gex: Enter the Gecko and Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko.

Straley was employed at Naughty Dog in 1999. He worked as an artist on Crash Team Racing and the Jak and Daxter series. Following this, he became co-art director on Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and was appointed to game director of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. He was later chosen to lead development on The Last of Us as game director, a role he continued during the development of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Straley has received praise for his work. In particular, his work on The Last of Us was highly praised, and the game received several awards and nominations.

Career[edit]

Straley worked in the art and design department on two games at Western Technologies Inc: the Menacer 6-game cartridge in 1992,[a] and X-Men in 1993.[1] Following this, he worked as designer on Pacific Softscape's Generations Lost in 1994,[2] and on Zono Incorporated's Mr. Bones in 1996.[3] He was later employed at Crystal Dynamics, where he worked alongside Amy Hennig, who later became creative director of the Uncharted series,[4] and Evan Wells, who later became co-president of Naughty Dog,[5] as well as other future Naughty Dog employees.[4] At Crystal Dynamics, Straley worked as designer on Gex: Enter the Gecko (1998),[6] and provided additional art for Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko (1999).[7] Following the release of Gex 3 in March 1999, Straley was employed at Naughty Dog.[8]

At Naughty Dog, Straley worked as an artist on Crash Team Racing in 1999.[9] Although he was employed as a texture artist, the small size of the team resulted in Straley performing various jobs, including design, background modeling and foreground animating, among others. As the size of the studio grew, the tasks became more specific.[10] Straley acted as artist on Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001),[11] Jak II (2003)[12] and Jak 3 (2004).[13] Straley is credited with creating the technology that managed the appearance of the Jak and Daxter series, and having the knowledge to understand the technical and artistic features, bridging the communication gap between the two departments.[5] For Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (2007), Straley was appointed the role of co-art director, alongside Bob Rafei, which involved advancing the team's technology from the PlayStation 2 to the PlayStation 3. He was then given the role of game director for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which was released in 2009.[10]

A man with short brown hair, sitting next to a man with curly black hair hugging a plush giraffe, both smiling at something to the right of the camera.
Straley (left) with creative director Neil Druckmann (right) at PAX Prime 2014. The two worked closely throughout the development of The Last of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, forming a friendship that they jokingly describe as a "marriage".[14]

Following the development of Uncharted 2, Naughty Dog split into two teams to work on projects concurrently. With one team working on Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (2011), co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra chose Straley and Neil Druckmann to lead development on a new game; Straley was selected to lead the project, as game director, based on his experience and his work on previous projects.[5] Though they were originally set to develop a new game in the Jak and Daxter series, the team felt that they "weren't doing service to the fans of [the] franchise", and decided to create a new game, titled The Last of Us.[15]

Straley and Druckmann had previously worked together on Uncharted 2, and found that they shared similar interests. During the development of The Last of Us, Straley and Druckmann often joked that their relationship was "like a marriage", in which they have many differing ideas, but ultimately wish to achieve the same goal.[14] Straley's role in developing The Last of Us was to handle gameplay.[14] However, in the final weeks of development, Straley undertook roles from different departments that were busy with other tasks; for example, he was seen hand-arranging the texts on the game's training screens, a task that lead artist Nate Wells found unusual. "I have never even heard of a game director doing that! That's like... an intern task," Wells said.[16] At the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012, Straley showcased a gameplay demonstration of The Last of Us at Sony's press conference; his stance on the stage became an Internet meme, and was referred to as "The Bruce".[17] The game was released on June 14, 2013 to critical acclaim.[18] For his work on the game, Straley and Druckmann were nominated for Best Director from The Daily Telegraph; it was ultimately awarded to Davey Wreden for his work on The Stanley Parable (2013).[19] Straley later continued his role as game director for the downloadable expansion pack The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014).[20]

Following Hennig's departure from Naughty Dog in March 2014, it was announced that Straley and Druckmann were working on Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (2016) as game director and creative director, respectively.[21] Initial reports claimed that Hennig was "forced out" of Naughty Dog by Straley and Druckmann, though co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra later denied this.[22] Straley presented gameplay demonstrations of Uncharted 4 at the PlayStation Experience in December 2014,[23] and at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June 2015.[24] The game was released on May 10, 2016 to critical acclaim.[25] For his work on the game, Straley won Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project at the 15th Visual Effects Society Awards, alongside visual effects artists Eben Cook and Iki Ikram.[26] After the release of Uncharted 4, Straley took a break from development; he will not return to direct The Last of Us Part II.[27]

Works[edit]

Video games[edit]

Year Game title Role
1992 Menacer 6-game cartridge[a] Artist
1993 X-Men Art, design[1]
1994 Generations Lost Designer[2]
1996 Mr. Bones Additional animation[3]
1998 Gex: Enter the Gecko Designer[6]
1999 Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko Additional art[7]
1999 Crash Team Racing Artist[9]
2001 Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy Artist[11]
2003 Jak II Artist[12]
2004 Jak 3 Artist[13]
2007 Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Co-art director[10]
2009 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Game director[10]
2013 The Last of Us Game director[5]
2014 The Last of Us: Left Behind Game director[20]
2016 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Game director[21]

Literature[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013 The Art of The Last of Us Writer (introduction)[30] with Neil Druckmann
2014 The Art of Naughty Dog Writer (sections) with Neil Druckmann,[31] Evan Wells, and Christophe Balestra[32]

Film and television[edit]

Year Title Notes
2013 Grounded: Making The Last of Us Documentary[33]
2015 Conversations with Creators Web series; Episode 2[34]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Date Award Category Recipient(s) and Nominee(s) Result Ref.
December 31, 2013 The Daily Telegraph Video Game Awards 2013 Best Director Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann Nominated [19]
February 7, 2017 15th Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project Bruce Straley, Eben Cook, and Iki Ikram Won [26]
2017 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Direction in a Game Cinema Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann Won [35]
Game, Franchise Adventure Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann Won

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b The Menacer 6-game cartridge consisted of: Ready, Aim, Tomatoes!, Rockman's Zone, Space Station Defender, Whack Ball, Front Line and Pest Control.[28][29]

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Western Technologies Inc (March 1993). X-Men. Sega Genesis. Sega. Scene: Credits. 
  2. ^ a b Pacific Softscape (1994). Generations Lost. Sega Genesis. Time Warner Interactive. Scene: Credits. 
  3. ^ a b Zono Incorporated (October 18, 1996). Mr. Bones. Sega Saturn. Sega. Scene: Credits. 
  4. ^ a b Helgeson, Matt (February 25, 2013). "Something In The Water: Crystal Dynamics In The '90s". Game Informer. GameStop. p. 7. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d Hansen, Ben (February 22, 2012). "New Tricks: An Interview With Naughty Dog's Co-Presidents". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on January 7, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Crystal Dynamics (January 31, 1998). Gex: Enter the Gecko. PlayStation. BMG Interactive, Midway Games. Scene: Credits. 
  7. ^ a b Crystal Dynamics (March 1, 1999). Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko. PlayStation. Eidos Interactive. Scene: Credits. 
  8. ^ "Crash Bandicoot – Time Line". Naughty Dog. Sony Computer Entertainment. Archived from the original on July 29, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Bruce Straley". Naughty Dog. Sony Computer Entertainment. Archived from the original on May 20, 2004. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c d Turi, Tim (February 24, 2012). "Expanding The House: Naughty Dog's Second Team". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on January 7, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Naughty Dog (December 3, 2001). Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Credits. 
  12. ^ a b Naughty Dog (October 14, 2003). Jak II. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Credits. 
  13. ^ a b Naughty Dog (November 9, 2004). Jak 3. PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment. Scene: Credits. 
  14. ^ a b c "The Last of Us – The Best Film Of The Year (That Wasn't Actually A Film)". Empire. Bauer Media Group. December 18, 2013. Archived from the original on January 14, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  15. ^ Gaston, Martin (October 4, 2013). "Naughty Dog reveals how axed Jack and Daxter reboot led to The Last of Us". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  16. ^ Ligman, Kris (July 16, 2013). "The Last of Us art director talks ego-less game development". Gamasutra. UBM plc. Archived from the original on January 17, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  17. ^ Paul, Jason (June 12, 2012). "The Last of Us presents The Bruce". Naughty Dog. Sony Computer Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2015-07-06. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  18. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (June 5, 2013). "The Last of Us review round-up: 'Easily Naughty Dog's finest moment'". Computer and Video Games. Future plc. Archived from the original on June 8, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b Hoggins, Tom (December 31, 2013). "Telegraph Video Game Awards 2013". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. Archived from the original on May 2, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b Jayne, Jeremy (February 17, 2014). "The Last of Us Developers Talk Left Behind DLC [SPOILERS]". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 10, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Moriarty, Colin (June 2, 2014). "The Last of Us' Directors Are Officially Heading Up Uncharted 4". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  22. ^ Dyer, Mitch (March 4, 2014). "Uncharted PS4 Writer Amy Hennig Leaves Naughty Dog". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  23. ^ LeBoeuf, Sarah (December 7, 2014). "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End PlayStation Experience Demo". The Escapist. Defy Media. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  24. ^ Good, Owen S. (June 20, 2015). "Why Uncharted 4's action-packed demo began with 30 seconds of standing around". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  25. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (May 5, 2016). "Uncharted 4 Review Roundup". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 7, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  26. ^ a b Grobar, Matt; Pedersen, Erik (February 7, 2017). "VES Awards Live Blog & Winners List: 'Jungle Book' & 'Deepwater Horizon' Have Two Apiece". Deadline.com. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017. 
  27. ^ Makuch, Eddie (December 4, 2016). "The Last of Us 2: Bruce Straley Not Returning to Direct". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on December 11, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  28. ^ Reynolds, Matthew (March 16, 2013). "Menacer retrospective: The Mega Drive's light-gun flop". Digital Spy. Hearst Corporation. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Menacer: 6-Game Cartridge". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  30. ^ Druckmann, Neil; Straley, Bruce (June 2013). The Art of The Last of Us. United States of America: Dark Horse Comics. p. 7. 
  31. ^ Druckmann, Neil; Straley, Bruce (October 2014). "The Last of Us". In Wright, Brendan. The Art of Naughty Dog. United States of America: Dark Horse Comics. pp. 126–145. 
  32. ^ Wells, Evan; Straley, Bruce; Balestra, Christophe (October 2014). "Undeveloped Projects". In Wright, Brendan. The Art of Naughty Dog. United States of America: Dark Horse Comics. pp. 146–159. 
  33. ^ Naughty Dog and Area 5 (2013). Grounded: Making The Last of Us. Sony Computer Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  34. ^ Wheaton, Wil (June 22, 2015). "Conversations with Creators with Wil Wheaton Premieres July 7th". PlayStation Blog. Sony Computer Entertainment. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  35. ^ "NAVGTR Awards (2016)". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers.