But she’s now glad it didn’t work out.
Everybody knows Amy Hennig for the extraordinary work she’s down with Naughty Dog on the Uncharted franchise. In fact, it’s safe to say that without Ms. Hennig, Uncharted would probably not be what it’s come to be: a standard bearer as to what gaming can accomplish. But things weren’t always this way, as the leading lady wasn’t always at Naughty Dog. In fact she used to be at Crystal Dynamics, the studio now rebooting Eidos’ Tomb Raider.
Speaking in an interview in the latest Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine, Hennig shed some light on how she arrived at Naughty Dog, and some of the things that lead her there, including not being given a chance with Tomb Raider.
“It was during that time that there was a transition with Crystal Dynamics, where it was clear they were taking the Tomb Raider licence away from Core,” she said. “That was part of my decision process to say, “what’s happening with that? Is this something I can be involved in?
“The thing is, of course, that Eidos was very protective of the franchise and very concerned that they needed to revive it, and they felt that they needed to bring in somebody new from outside – in this case, it was [System Shock and Deus Ex developer] Doug Church – to head up the project of taking on Tomb Raider.
“And so, I kind of felt like, “Well, maybe this is a timely offer from Evan, then.” (Even Wells had met Amy back at Crystal Dynamics when he was 21 and she was 31). We’re not doing Kain. I’m obviously not going to direct Tomb Raider.” So there’s little irony that I ended up making Uncharted.”
“I wasn’t quite sure what my role was going to be anyway, so I thought, “Well, this is obviously the universe telling me something,” so I took Evan’s offer and came to Naughty Dog.”
The magazine asked Hennig how did she feel that even after the success of Soul Reaver, she still wasn’t given a chance with Tomb Raider, and if she even wanted it at all. Hennig said she wanted the challenge, but at the end of the day was glad she didn’t get it.
“Sure I did, yeah. It was just such an awkward time,” she recalled. “There was this ongoing problem, potentially, with Core and with Eidos, having them do yearly sequels, and I think everybody perceived the fact that the Tomb Raider franchise had been worn down a little bit because of that.”
Hennig then admitted plainly, making known that she was rather disappointed that she wouldn’t get a chance with Lara.
“To answer your question, I was disappointed. It was a twist to the question, because that occurred after Evan said, “Please come join us,” right? I was pretty much at the “yes” state, and then this happened, and I thought, “Yes, unless, because this could be an interesting opportunity, too, and I need to know what’s going to happen.”
Hennig continued, adding that she might have stayed if she was given the opportunity with Tomb Raider, but is now glad that didn’t happen, saying making clear that she don’t mean to sound negative, but Uncharted would probably have never been if she’d stayed with Crystal Dynamics.
You know, I might have [stayed to work on Tomb Raider], so I’m glad I didn’t, which is a strange answer – I don’t want to sound critical. It’s just that I’m so happy that I joined Naughty Dog, and what I’ve been able to do here and the people I’ve been able to work with.
Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider reboot sees a release March 5th on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Naughty Dog and Amy Hennig have released three Uncharted games since PS3’s launch in 2006. The franchise has become PS3’s most lauded and respected. It’s all the console’s bestselling game, with a fourth entry believed to be under development for PS4 at Naughty Dog.