Naughty Dog Loses Lead Designer Lemarchand
With the names of the individual members of the Naughty Dog team not being bandied about nearly as much as some others, the impact of this news isn’t likely to have the impact that it rightly should. It has today come to light that Richard Lemarchand, a designer at the studio has left to take on a teaching role at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of South Carolina. More specifically, he will be teaching in the Interactive Media Division, which has previously trained the core members of thatgamecompany, among other notable students. Despite what one might consider the new job to entail, it has been confirmed that he will not necessarily be leaving the games development scene entirely, with the confirmation that he will work on a number of small, experimental games as part of a research project.
While coy on any real details of what he may be planning for these, he did give the following hints to Gamasutra (which broke this news):
“Some are to do with procedural narrative; some are to do with space and exploration. I’ve always been very interested in the power of environmental narrative.”
“Obviously with the kinds of projects that I’m considering, I have scope considerations, which is familiar to me, because every project I have been on has been constrained in some way in terms of the amount of resources we have available. Of course, this project will be a lot smaller, and I actually find that really stimulating, because I’ve always said… it’s constraint that really gives your creativity something to push against.”
While we may lament his going, it really does seem to be a move designed to be conducive to his happiness, and we should not blame his for this. He spoke of this move in regards to the goals that he has held for years and how it will finally allow him to realise them, but also mentioned that he felt it made sense at this point in his career:
“I think the simplest answer is that it seems like a natural transition point.”
“... If I wanted to go out on a limb and take a chance to see some other opportunities, I always thought that the end of Uncharted 3 would be a good time to do that, and then I was very lucky that this opportunity came along. So I’ll get to do what I’ve been yearning to do for a decade, in that regard — I realize how very lucky I am.“
Previously he had been with Naughty Dog for eight years acting in various designer roles throughout Jak X: Combat Racing and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune before being promoted to one of the lead designers for Uncharted 2 and acting alone in that same role for the third iteration. He takes with him a great deal of experience from the games industry, and hopefully he can lead students down new paths. We here at Velocity Gamer wish him all the best.