Todd Stashwick Let Go from Uncharted 4, Naughty Dog’s Lead Artist Leaves Company
Bad news plagues Naughty Dog studio in the form of yet another major departure while a major actor gets recasted from the lineup of Uncharted 4.
IGN reports that actor/writer Todd Stashwick, whose villainous voice loomed over the Uncharted PS4 teaser (provided below), has been let go by Naughty Dog. Stashwick was working with Naughty Dog on the project for over six months. About his dismissal, he told IGN, "they chose to recast my role."
While we're unsure of why Stashwick was let go, his performance in the Uncharted 4 teaser trailer was haunting and reflected some excellent, villainous voice work. We have a feeling that Stashwick may have been let go for personal reasons, especially considering that he had been associated with the project for so long.
Many sound directors would have chosen to change a voice actor they wanted to recast much earlier in the development process than to continuously record voice-overs for over six months. This hints that some sort of upper level executive decision may have been made that superseded the sound director's judgement. Mind you, the Uncharted 4 teaser trailer was released in early November 2013, which would mean that Stashwick likely recorded in the footage in October at the very latest.
This questionable departure could stem from Stashwick's professional relationship with Amy Hennig, former head writer and creative director for the Uncharted trilogy. Certain industry insiders believe that Hennig was ousted from Naughty Dog by Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann, the directors of The Last of Us. Since Visceral Games (of Dead Space fame) has recently hired Stashwick as a co-writer alongside Amy Hennig for its upcoming, unannounced Star Wars project, it could be that Stashwick's camaraderie with Hennig may have upset someone at Naughty Dog.
Regardless of why Stashwick was recast, this unfortunate news coincides with the departure of Naughty Dog lead artist Nate Wells, who recently announced that he is now working at The Unfinished Swan's developer, Giant Sparrow. Wells' parting and Stashwick's recasting come fresh off the departures of Amy Hennig and game director Justin Richmond from Naughty Dog. We hope that these changes do not delay the development of this highly anticipated next-gen entry of the Nathan Drake story.