Codex Gamicus

Naughty Dog, Inc. is an American video game developer based in Santa Monica, California.[1] Founded by Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin in 1986 as an independent developer, the studio was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment 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 - a very 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 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[2] to work on a new project named Iron and the Maiden.[3]

In addition to their inhouse game team, Naughty Dog is also home to the ICE Team, one of Sony's World Wide Studios central technology groups.[4]

The company's first PlayStation 3 title, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, was released in 2007, and its sequel, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, in 2009.



As high school students, Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin, having experimented with Lisp and C++, teamed up to create video games and founded "Jam Software" in 1986. Rubin and Gavin chose to create software for the Apple II and decided to create a skiing title. During production of the game, Gavin accidentally copied bootleg games over the only copy of the skiing game they had. Rubin then created a new skiing game called Ski Crazed (originally titled Ski Stud) within the weekend. Because the game played slowly, Gavin reprogrammed the game to play quicker. The game was later picked up and published by Baudville, who bought the game from Jam Software for $250. Rubin and Gavin then created an Apple IIGS graphic adventure game titled Dream Zone, which was released in 1988 and ported to the Atari ST, Amiga and personal computer.[5]

As Naughty Dog[]

File:Naughty Dog Software Logo.jpg

The original logo used for Naughty Dog

In 1989, Rubin and Gavin released another game titled Keef the Thief, which was published by Electronic Arts for the Apple IIGS, Amiga and personal computer. To make a fresh start and to dissolve their relationship with Baudville, Rubin and Gavin renamed Jam Software as Naughty Dog. In the early 90's, Naughty Dog created Rings of Power, which was published by Electronic Arts for the Mega Drive in 1991. By that time, Rubin and Gavin were in college and Naughty Dog was bankrupt. However, Rubin and Gavin (along with friends) then produced the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer title Way of the Warrior and presented it to Mark Cerny of Universal Interactive Studios (now the defunct Vivendi Games). Cerny was pleased with Way of the Warrior and signed Naughty Dog on to Universal Interactive Studios for three additional games. Rubin and Gavin devised a plan to create a three-dimensional action-platform game. Because the player would be forced to constantly look at the character's rear, the game was jokingly codenamed "Sonic's Ass Game". Production of the game began in 1994, during which Naughty Dog expanded its number of employees and invented a development tool called "Goal Oriented Object LISP", to create the characters and gameplay. Cartoonists Charles Zembillas and Joe Pearson were recruited to create the characters of the game, which resulted in the titular character Crash Bandicoot. After 14 months of development, the game was shown to Sony Computer Entertainment, who then signed on to publish the game. Crash Bandicoot was shown to the public for the first time at E3 and went on to become one of the highest-selling titles for the PlayStation console.[5]


Pre-Naughty Dog

Game Title Release Platform
Math Jam 1985 Apple II
Ski Crazed 1986 Apple II
Dream Zone 1988 Apple IIGS

As Naughty Dog

Game Title Release Platform Metacritic Rating Notes
Keef the Thief 1989 Apple IIGS
Rings of Power 1991 Sega Genesis
Way of the Warrior 1994 3DO
Crash Bandicoot 1996 PlayStation
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back 1997 PlayStation
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped 1998 PlayStation
Crash Team Racing 1999 PlayStation
Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy 2001 PlayStation 2 90[6] First game released after being acquired by Sony
Jak II 2003 PlayStation 2 87[7]
Jak 3 2004 PlayStation 2 84[8]
Jak X: Combat Racing 2005 PlayStation 2 76[9]
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune 2007 PlayStation 3 88[10] Won IGN's Best Action Game and Best PS3 game
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 2009 PlayStation 3 96[11] Won various Game of the Year Awards
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception 2011 PlayStation 3
The Last of Us Part I 2013 PlayStation 3
The Last of Us: Left Behind 2014 PlayStation 3
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection 2015 PlayStation 4
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End 2016 PlayStation 4
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy 2017 PlayStation 4
The Last of Us Part II 2020 PlayStation 4
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection 2021 PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5



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 both companies. They have 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 Activision) hands, and both developers continued in friendly competition after the creation of their new flagship franchises (Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank, respectively).

With the release of the PlayStation 3, both developers changed focus, with Naughty Dog's action series Uncharted and Insomniac's sci-fi first-person shooter series Resistance, although Insomniac continued to work on the Ratchet and Clank series.

Both Naughty Dog and Insomniac have stated that they don't have plans for making a game together, even though, with Activision 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, while Sony announced Heroes on the Move, a PS3 game which featured both Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank characters in the same game as well as characters from Sucker Punch's Sly Cooper series. Neither Naughty Dog nor Insomniac had any creative input or involvement with these games.

Ready at Dawn[]

In 2003, 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.

Other companies[]

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


External links[]