After a brief stint at Ubisoft, David Ballard returns to Naughty Dog to help in charting the adventures of Nathan Drake in Unchartered 4: A Thief's End. Ballard is a veteran of the successful franchise and worked in the development of Unchartered 2, 3 and upcoming 4th installment (plus The Last of Us) before leaving for Ubisoft in September last year.
In his LinkedIn profile, the environment artist has confirmed he was returning to the Santa Monica-based game developer. His return to the project is seen by many to influence the development of Drake's adventures in Unchartered 4: A Thief's End. Ballard is expected to continue his works in developing the multiplayer design as well as the environment art of Unchartered 4, various reports said.
During his nine month stint at Ubisoft, Ballard worked on a "AAA Next-Gen title" as a Senior Environment Artist.
With his return to Naughty Dog, Ballard will resume his tasks as a Multiplayer Level Designer and work on Unchartered 4: A Thief's end.
According to VCPost, Ballard will be reinforced by another Environment Artist Jacob Norris and Character Artist Glauco Longhi. The trio will be joined by other developers to finish Unchartered 4: A Thief's End.
Naughty Dog said it is targeting to launch Uncharted 4: A Thief's End between the holiday of 2015 to spring of 2016. Reports indicated that Naughty Dog wanted to fans of the series a high standard of gaming when it pushed to delay its official launch.
Bruce Straley was quoted as saying, "Giving us a few extra months will make certain that Uncharted 4: A Thief's End not only meets the team's high standards but the high standards that gamers have come to expect from a Naughty Dog title."
Straley and Unchartered game creator, Neil Druckmann, both said that "the more of the game and story have come together...it's become clear to us that this game is much more ambitious than we originally envisioned".
Earlier we reported that Unchartered 4: A Thief's End will be released in 2016 in parallel to the release of an Unchartered movie. The developers of the game also hinted that there would be no more sequel after the Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.
In its official web site, it was said that Unchartered 4: A Thief's End takes place several years after his last adventure, retired fortune hunter, Nathan Drake, is forced back into the world of thieves. With the stakes much more personal, Drake embarks on a globe-trotting journey in pursuit of a historical conspiracy behind a fabled pirate treasure. His greatest adventure will test his physical limits, his resolve, and ultimately what he's willing to sacrifice to save the ones he loves.
You can view Unchartered: A Thief's End official trailer here.