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The co-director/writer of the Last of Us games is being awarded for his 20-year tenure at Naughty Dog and progressing from staff intern to co-president.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

November 16, 2023

2 Min Read
Naughty Dog president Neil Druckmann in a BTS video for The Last of Us Part II.
Image via PlayStation's YouTube channel.

Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann will be the New York Game Awards' recipient of the Andrew Yoon Legend award. The Last of Us director will be recognized for his 20-year tenure in the game industry at this year's award ceremony, set to take place on January 23, 2024.

The Andrew Yoon award is given to those labeled "game changers" in the game industry, and has been previously appointed to Hideo Kojima and Phil Spencer. New York's Video Game Critics Circle deemed Druckmann's work at the studio as having helped "cemented his status as an icon of game development history."

"[His] story is one of self-determinism," wrote NYVGCC president Harold Goldberg. "His brilliant work has been lauded with multiple New York Game Awards over the year, and we are honored to recognize him as this year’s Andrew Yoon Legend Award winner.”

Druckmann joined Naughty Dog as an intern in the early 2000s, and worked on Jak 3 and Jak X: Combat Racing. He contributed to the design of the first two Uncharted games before being tasked with writing and directing 2013's The Last of Us. From there, he wrote and co-directed Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us Part II.

Over the last decade, he's become one of Naughty Dog's most prominent public figures, and is oft associated with its evolution to a prestige, triple-A developer for the PlayStation brand. He was also instrumental in HBO's TV adaptation for The Last of Us, and is the only game developer to be credited in the show's opening titles.

Following the departure of Evan Wells this past summer, Druckmann was appointed as Naughty Dog's creative head for all its projects in production. In recent months, he's indicated the studio is working on another single-player installment of the Last of Us series.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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