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Naughty Dog has been at the forefront of video game developing, making blockbuster games for Sony’s PlayStation platforms, from the Uncharted series to The Last of Us.

But it has an unusual management structure with minimal use of middle management, such as dedicated managers or producers. That’s pretty unusual for a studio with hundreds of employees. One of the company’s former art leaders gave a talk about this subject of how to properly manage game companies, and he shared it on YouTube.

“Honestly I believe it’s one of the most important conversations we can have as an industry,” said Andrew Maximov, former Naughty Dog technical art director and now CEO of Promethean AI, in an email. “Having been around the world a few times talking to tech people – one of the biggest sources of their frustrations and burnout is not the tools or the creative differences, but how their passion for their craft is met by the corporate world. We can do more and do better to make everyone’s voices heard while making better products in the process.”

In his talk, he said that “something fascinating about Naughty Dog is that Naughty Dog does not have dedicated managers.” There were maybe two production coordinators for a team of 300 people, Maximov said. It makes sense that carrot-and-stick management styles don’t work for creative professionals, he said.


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The result might be chaos. But Naughty Dog has been around for 33 years and it has shipped 19 games.

Check out Maximov’s talk, which is meant to provoke conversations among game developers.

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