Naughty Dog, Inc (originally JAM Software until 1989) is a game studio based in Santa Monica, CA. The studio was founded in 1984 by Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin as whose first game was Math Jam for the Apple II. However, the studio have since become famous for their work on Sony's PlayStation hardware, with their series; Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted. Due to their success on the systems in 2001 Naughty Dog was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment.
Naughty Dog has released a total of 21 games. The game list, in chronological order, is as follows:
- Math Jam (1985)
- Ski Crazed (1986)
- Dream Zone (1987)
- Keef the Thief (1989)
- Rings of Power (1991)
- Way of the Warrior (1994)
- Crash Bandicoot (1996)
- Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (1997)
- Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (1998)
- Crash Team Racing (1999)
- Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001)
- Jak II (2003)
- Jak 3 (2004)
- Jak X: Combat Racing (2005)
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (2007)
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (2011)
- The Last of Us (2013)
- Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (2016)
- Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (2017)
- The Last of Us Part II (2020)
Origins and PS1
Naughty Dog is an American video game development company founded in 1984 by Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin. When the company was first established they were known as JAM and their first official game was Ski Crazed for the Apple II which was made when Andy and Jason were only 16. By the Nineties the company had changed their name to Naughty Dog and progressed to creating Way of the Warrior for the 3DO. Arguably their most renowned property, the Crash Bandicoot series, came about when Sonic The Hedgehog 2 producer Mark Cerny suggested the company focus on a character based platform game for the newly revealed Playstation console. The Crash series, consisting of 4 games went on to sell over 22 million copies combined on the Playstation, making Naughty Dog the most successful developer in the US for that generation.
The PS2 Generation
With the next Playstation console Naughty Dog decided to start afresh with a new series, Jak & Daxter, and to use the increased power of the console to give the game a larger, open world scope and a greater degree of fidelity and detail. Almost a year before completion of the first Jak & Daxter game, in January 2001 it was announced that Naughty Dog was becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony. As with the Crash series Naughty Dog released 4 games in the main series on the PS2 (as well as a Daxter only spin off on the PSP) and each sold well and were generally received positively by gamers. Unlike Crash however, it has been strongly hinted that we will see Jak & Daxter return on the current generation of consoles, namely the PS3. In 2004, co-founder Jason Rubin left the company to focus on a comic book project.
The PS3 Generation
With the bump up in technology again afforded by the new generation of consoles Naughty Dog decided to take another step forward graphically, this time creating a series based in the real world. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune debuted at E3 2006 and was initially criticized for looking similar to the Tomb Raider series. When the game was released it was received positively by critics and eventually sold over 2 million copies. The sequel Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was released in 2009 and received universal praise. The development team at Naughty Dog quickly went into working off their success from Uncharted 2 and refine it with more polish and technology. In the fall of 2011, they released Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception.
The Last of Us
After the release of the third in the Uncharted series, Naughty Dog had put the story of Nathan Drake on hold to begin a game called The Last of Us. The trailer was debuted at the 2011 SPIKE TV Video Game Awards. The game features the characters Joel and Ellie travelling across a post-apocalyptic United States. The game was released in June 2013 to universal acclaim. A movie adaptation is currently in the works.
Relationship With Insomniac
Naughty Dog has a strong working relationship with developer Insomniac Games, originating from their history of working in the same building on the Universal Studios backlot. Even their output shares a close resemblance, Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter, even the move to realism taken with Resistance and Uncharted. Indeed the developers have stated that they are able to share technology and development knowledge to mutually improve the user experience. One important distinction is that while Naughty Dog is owned by Sony, Insomniac Games are fully independent but choose to develop only on the Sony platforms.
Naughty Dog is home to a Sony World Wide Studios central technology group called the ICE Team. Created by Mark Cerny, the ICE team assists developers of PlayStation 3 titles who are experiencing difficulties with developing for the PS3's hardware. Developers can send pieces of their game to the ICE Team, who will diagnose their problems and propose recommendations and solutions to implement in their games.