Last of Us, Uncharted 4 Director Announces New Studio: Wildflower Interactive

Bruce Straley left Naughty Dog in 2017.

Bruce Straley, who you might know for his work as game director on The Last of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, has announced the founding of Wildflower Interactive, a new studio working on what its website describes as “‘small-ish,’ creatively-charged, uniquely-stylized games.”

The studio’s announcement is accompanied by a video message from Straley in which he says he wants Wildflower to be “inclusive, equitable, and collaborative,” and that its culture needs to be “as iterative as the way [developers] make games.” Straley has been on record as saying his last few years at Naughty Dog before departing was a time of significant burnout, and the studio has been known for its issues with crunch, so it sounds like Straley wants to avoid these issues at the new studio.

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The studio’s website has job listings for several positions in audio, art, character modeling, animation, and programming, all of which are remote. The company also is encouraging those who don’t see a job that fits their skillset to apply anyway under the “additional roles” banner.

As for the team that’s already there, Wildflower lists developer credits on games like The Last of Us, the Call of Duty franchise, and Kena: Bridge of Spirits. So there’s a lot of talent there already. However, for a studio that is calling inclusivity a pillar of its philosophy, the team so far seems to be predominantly made up of white people. The Wildflower website says the studio believes “different backgrounds, histories, cultures and perspectives can only help us tell richer and more relevant stories,” so I’d like to see the studio put its money where its mouth is and hire more people of color for these open roles.

Beyond vague descriptions, Straley doesn’t get too much into the team’s first project, but as one of Fanbyte’s resident Last of Us sickos, I’m eager to see what Wildflower has in the works.