Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog is an American video game company founded by Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin in 1986, and based in Santa Monica, California. It was acquired by Sony in 2001.

Gavin and Rubin produced a sequence of progressively more successful games, including Rings of Power for the Sega Genesis and Way of the Warrior for the 3DO. The latter was created with low-budget but still plausible offering prompted Universal Interactive Studios to sign the duo to a three-title deal and fund the expansion of the company. Mark Cerny, who had produced Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Sega, convinced Naughty Dog to focus its new resources on creating a character-based platform game that would fully exploit the 3D capabilities of the new systems.

Ultimately, this led to the release of Crash Bandicoot for the PlayStation on August 31, 1996. Naughty Dog developed three Crash Bandicoot sequels over the next several years. In January 2001, it was announced Sony would acquire Naughty Dog.

After developing the fourth Crash Bandicoot game (Crash Team Racing), the company began working on Jak and Daxter for PlayStation 2.

In 2004, Naughty Dog's studio president and co-founder, Jason Rubin, left the company to work on a new project named Iron and the Maiden.

In addition to their inhouse game team, Naughty Dog is home to the ICE Team, one of Sony's World Wide Studios central technology groups.

Early history

Naughty Dog's origins go back to 1986, when the company was named "JAM". Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, who were 16 years old at the time, had their first commercial game published: Ski Crazed for the 8-bit Apple II series. Two years later they moved up to writing software for the then next-generation Apple IIGS with the game Dream Zone, which was popular enough to be ported to several other platforms. By 1989, they wrote Keef the Thief for the Apple IIGS and with that title, officially changed the company's name to Naughty Dog.

Moving away from the Apple II series, in the early 1990s, Naughty Dog began writing software for game consoles such as the Sega Genesis and 3DO, and by the mid 90s, migrated to the PlayStation, which is where the company gained its widest recognition and fame.

Associates

Insomniac

Since working together in the same building on the Universal Interactive Studios backlot, Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games have had a close relationship. Producer Mark Cerny has worked extensively with (and influenced) both companies. They have historically made similar types of games. For example, in the late 1990s, Naughty Dog's Crash Bandicoot series and Insomniac's Spyro the Dragon series both competed on the PlayStation as character-heavy platforming games with imaginative environments. With the release of the PlayStation 2, the two series were left in Universal's (now Vivendi) hands, and both developers continued in friendly competition after the creation of their new flagship franchises (Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank, respectively).

Both series have strikingly similar details in common with one another: they each focus on two main protagonists (one more athletically-able with the other acting as a sidekick), they each have a generous sense of humor as well as adventurous story and they each take place in large and lively fantasy worlds. The similarities even run on a technical level, as Insomniac's Ratchet and Clank series even uses some pieces of code used in Naughty Dog's Jak and Daxter games (the engines though, are different, and written in different programming languages). The close relationship between the developers has led them both to add in-jokes and references to each other in many of their games.

With the release of the PlayStation 3, both developers seemed to be changing focus aesthetically from character-based platformers to more realistic, mature-themed action games with Naughty Dog's action game Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Insomniac's sci-fi first-person shooter Resistance: Fall of Man.

Both Naughty Dog and Insomniac have stated that they don't have plans for making a game together, even though, with Vivendi Games holding the publishing rights to both the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon characters, there have been a pair of crossover games released between the two. Neither Naughty Dog nor Insomniac had any creative input or involvement whatsoever with these games.

Ready at Dawn

In 2003, one of the members (Didier Malenfant) of Naughty Dog left to form a new development company, Ready at Dawn, with various former members of Blizzard Entertainment. Their first project was Daxter for the PlayStation Portable.

A new God of War title, which is set before the events of the first God of War, and was named God of War: Chains of Olympus was released at March 2008.

Other companies

The credits for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune lists Sony Santa Monica, Guerilla Games, Sucker Punch Productions, Media Molecule, Zipper Interactive, and Incognito Games under "Thanks" in addition to the above. Insomniac has also stated that Sony's first and second-party developers are coming together and sharing technology and ideas.

Games

Crash Bandicoot || August 31, 1996

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back || October 31, 1997

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped || October 31, 1998

Crash Team Racing || October 10, 1999

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy || December 4, 2001

Jak II (Renegade) || October 13, 2003

Jak 3 || November 9, 2004

Jak X: Combat Racing || October 18, 2005

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune || November 19, 2007

Uncharted 2 || TBA

Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier || TBA

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