Worked at Naughty Dog for 18 years, then was fired: “it’s like having lost your purpose”

Just in recent days, we have reported a new series of layoffs that have hit the video game industry, involving names such as Electronic Arts, Supermassive Games, Deck Nine and above all PlayStation. The teams of the Japanese giant affected by the approximately 900 farewells are numerous and also involve Naughty Dog.\r\nSince the video games we love so much are only possible because there are people who make them so – people of flesh and blood, not simply the icy name of a company and its logo – we want to share and translate the thoughts shared by Santiago Gutierrez on his LinkedIn profile.\r\nFor eighteen years, Gutierrez worked as an artist at Naughty Dog, before being hit by the recent layoffs .\r\nBetween his lines, he explained the sense of loss he found himself in, considering that with such a long period under Naughty Dog the company had effectively become part of half of his life.\r\n n\r\n«After two days, I find the strength to write a few words. Believe me, I’ve tried at least a hundred times. It’s not easy when you look at your kids and ask yourself ‘did I do something wrong?’.\r\nAlmost eighteen years ago I began my journey at Naughty Dog… until today.\r\nIf I’m honest, I don’t know where to start, but I need to clear my thoughts.\r\nFor me, having dedicated years of my life to the company, the sudden termination of my contract felt like a cruel change of fortunes. Faces that had become familiar between training sessions, lunches, walks around the office, parties, chats, jokes and… long, looooong sessions of working together, of suffering, of the desire to raise the bar with every single game we played , through endless vicissitudes and triumphs, have ended up in pieces, leaving behind a void that no farewell email could adequately express. Yes, my heart is broken. Because I care about the company I work for. My commitment is long-term.\r\nThe office, once a place where magic was performed, is now a point on the road I have to take to take my children to school.\r\nThe walls, inside the study, they are full of my children’s drawings, they are witnesses of when they were little, of when they did their homework, of when they played, of when they had fun. These walls have witnessed half of my life, as I worked on wonderful projects and shared everything I knew with my colleagues, helping them in the worst moments and always making them smile when needed. Because that’s how strong teams are built.\r\nThe once familiar routine of daily walks, good mornings and carrying a smile are now replaced by the onerous task of looking for a job in a market that seems flooded with fantastically talented people , with so many skills, where everyone deserves to have an opportunity.\r\nThe sadness in the two days since I was fired is less about losing a job, and more about losing a purpose. A community, a team that I love with all my heart. A routine that was woven into the fabric of everyday life. It leaves you with a deep sense of disorientation and a pervasive sadness that set in as soon as they cut the connection, because not even at this moment are you allowed to say goodbye in person… after eighteen years, what damage could I have possibly done? \r\nSteve Jobs was fired from Apple, so…»\r\n\r\nThe painful letter shared by Gutierrez, however, ends with a hint of hope, since the artist is now looking for new opportunities and wants to get involved with new realities that will give him the opportunity.\r\n«Being fired has become not only the door to new studies, but also the passage towards a journey of transformation» he wrote, «where the richness of The experience gained finds new canvases on which to paint. The once closed door symbolizes not the end but the beginning of an unpredictable adventure”.\r\nWe can only wish Gutierrez, and with him to all the professionals in the industry who want to continue working with video games , to soon find a new place in the game industry in which to express their talent. Because, as we were saying, video games are signed by companies. But companies are made of people, too often reduced to a mere statistic in a bullet point list.

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