Shaun Escayg, writer and creative director of Crystal Dynamics’ Marvel’s Avengers, has announced he has left the studio and returned to work for former employer Naughty Dog. Prior to his departure from “the kennel” back in 2018, Escayg worked as a cinematic animator for The Last of Us and Uncharted 4 as well as game director and writer for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. While he has yet to announce what project he’ll be working on, from the looks of his Twitter bio Escayg is back to writing and directing. Naughty Dog later shared the news, tweeting it’s “looking forward to doing awesome stuff together.”
The news of Escayg’s departure from Crystal Dynamics comes less than a year after Marvel’s Avengers’ release and subsequent lackluster sales. Despite praise towards the game’s single-player campaign and protagonist Kamala Khan, the game suffered from a plethora of technical difficulties that “rendered the game unplayable at times,” according to our review. However, Escayg has assured fans not to be worried about the future of the game, tweeting “Marvel’s Avengers is in good hands.”
As for what kind of “awesome stuff” Escayg and the rest of the Naughty Dog staff will be working on together, the options seem endless as more and more projects are teased over at the studio. Earlier this year, studio co-president and game director Neil Druckmann retweeted a post from the official Naughty Dog Jobs account listing off dozens of new positions the studio was looking to fill. According to Druckmann, the new hires would join the team to work on an (at the time) unannounced project, and get the chance to “make something very cool.”
Since these jobs were listed, a handful of titles have been either rumored or confirmed, including an unnamed online, multiplayer game, The Last of Us 3, and a remake of The Last of Us. The only option off the table, according to Druckmann, is a new Uncharted game. Back in 2016, Druckmann said Naughty Dog would no longer work on the Uncharted series, but was not opposed to handing the IP to a new studio. However, there’s always the chance that time and the return of Escayg could lead to a change of heart.