'The Last of Us' Lead Artist, Leaves Naughty Dog

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By Tanya Diente | April 30, 2014 9:25 AM EST

Lead character artist Michael Knowland has left Naughty Dog. News of his departure was first noticed by Twitter user Superannuation through Knowland's LinkedIn profile.

REUTERS
Gaming enthusiasts play video games at the PAX East convention in Boston, Massachusetts, April 12, 2014. The Boston event along with the original Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle represent the two largest gaming events in North America, according to the organizers, who this week announced the 2015 launch of PAX South. REUTERS

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Knowland is known for his amazing work on award-winning video game "The Last of Us". The game grabbed top honours at the 2014 Game Developers Choice Award. Michael Knowland has worked with the studio Naughty Dog for more than 3 years. Over 2 years was devoted to the production of the Playstation 3-exclusive commercial hit game "The Last of Us." Prior to Naughty Dog, Knowland worked at "Elite: Dangerous" studio Frontier Developments for 1 year and 4 months from August 2009 to November 2010. 

Knowland joins two Naughty Dog directors who also left the company prior to him: "Uncharted 4" game director Justin Richmond and series creative director Amy Hennig. Hennig, who was reportedly forced out by Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley of "Last of Us," left Naughty Dog in March and is now with Visceral Games to help in the progress of the upcoming "Star Wars" game. Richmond, who has worked with the "Uncharted" game series since 2008, followed thereafter on the same month and is now with "League of Legends" studio Riot Games.

Michael Knowland's LinkedIn profile confirms his exit from Sony first-party studio this month. His profile detailed his past employment with Naughty Dog as Character Artist for 10 months from January 2011 to October 2011 and as Lead Character Artist for 2 years and 7 months from October 2011 to April 2014.

Sony is yet to provide details on Michael Knowland's departure from Naughty Dog. Likewise, Knowland's future plans are still unknown.

(Credit: YouTube/IGN)

Followers of Naughty Dog are understandably wondering why there have been a lot of exits lately among its employees in a short span of time. Additionally on April 21, Todd Stashwick, a voice over to video game "Uncharted 4" has revealed that his role has been recast. He now works with Hennig on the production of the upcoming "Star Wars" game in Visceral Games.

Twitter has caught on the news of Michael Knowland's departure from Naughty Dog and followers have mixed reactions.

Apparently Michael Knowlend, (Lead dev at Naughty Dog) left their studio, or will be. Seems to be a trend lately.— Brotatoe (@TwitchBrotatoe) April 29, 2014

Getting sick of the "news" of employee turnover at Naughty Dog, devs jump ship all the time/want to work on new things. It's not news. — Jobye-Kyle Karmaker (@jobyek) April 28, 2014

WTF! #NaughtyDog? Someone is leaving every week now... Soon #TheLastOfUs is going to be a true story about you guys. http://t.co/q44HBjVaPR— 'Otaku' (@Luffy1503) April 28, 2014

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(Photo: REUTERS / Dominick Reuter)
Gaming enthusiasts play video games at the PAX East convention in Boston, Massachusetts, April 12, 2014. The Boston event along with the original Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle represent the two largest gaming events in North America, according to the organizers, who this week announced the 2015 launch of PAX South. REUTERS
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