A look at Amy Hennig, one of the most influential women in the gaming industry


Video game development is a joint project, but there are several figures who stand out for being pioneers or changing the rules of the game. One such person is Amy Hennig, who has been part of the industry for decades and has credits in franchises such as Uncharted, Legacy of Kain and Jak and Daxter. Despite the long list of achievements, her career is not going to slow down.

Although Hennig didn’t always intend to enter the world of gaming, once she did, she managed to make a lasting impact. Her story is a constant adaptation while remaining faithful to the core values, and gamers will see it again in the upcoming open—world game Forspoken from Luminous Production. Her focus on character development and her ability to create cinematic experiences have changed the game landscape, so fans continue to look forward to the projects she is involved in.

Amy Hennig enters the world of games

While most of the big players in the gaming scene have a technical background, Amy instead has an impressive artistic history, and this may explain her approach to games. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in English literature, and then in 1989 enrolled at San Francisco State University to enroll in film school. Unsurprisingly, the games Hennig has worked on are known for their first-class storytelling, screenwriting, and character development.

Her breakthrough into the gaming world came when she got a freelance job at Atari, working as an artist on a game called Electrocoop. It was an important experience for Hennig, as it made her believe that games are “a more interesting and innovative medium than cinema.” Consequently, she dropped out of film school and devoted herself to games. In 1991, she started working at Electronic Arts, eventually working as an artist in the game “Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City”. Although it was an important moment in her journey, her first career defining moment didn’t come until she left Electronic Arts and joined Crystal Dynamics.

The “Legacy of Cain” series takes place in the Gothic kingdom of Nosgoth, and its focus is on Cain, who seeks to restore balance in the world. The first part of the series, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, was released in 1996, and Hennig helped develop the game. It was met with great success, and in the sequel Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Hennig took on more leadership, acting as producer, screenwriter and designer. Like its predecessor, the game was highly praised, which led to the release of Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance, of which Hennig was the director. According to Hennig, Legacy of Kain is her greatest achievement, but she did not stay at Crystal Dynamics forever, and her transition to Naughty Dog marked the beginning of her career to a new height.

The Age of Naughty Dogs by Amy Hennig

Hennig joined Naughty Dog in 2003, and the studio has already achieved success with franchises such as Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter. In 2007, the studio will release Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, the game that launched the cult adventure series and changed the gaming landscape. Nathan Drake and his treasure-hunting adventures would not have been possible without Naughty Dog’s perfectionism, but the game also had a special touch of Hennig, which was recognized and appreciated by critics.

Hennig was responsible for creating Nathan Drake as a resourceful character with human qualities rather than a tough superhero, and she also insisted on putting a lot of emphasis on storytelling and storytelling. As Hennig explained in an interview; when it comes to creating a good cinematic story, “it has to come from the script, it has to come from the casting and the actors. And that should be your focus from day one.”

Hennig worked as a director on Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and both were successful from the point of view of critics and financially: more than 6.6 million copies of Drake’s Deception were sold. Her achievements with Naughty Dog and the Uncharted series have led to her being called an example of women succeeding in a gaming industry that is usually dominated by men. Her point of view as a woman helped in the Uncharted series because, as she explained, her participation ensured that famous female characters were not created to be ticklish. However, Hennig does not stay in one place for too long, and in 2014 she left Naughty Dog.

What’s next for Amy Hennig?

After leaving Naughty Dog, Hennig joined Visceral Games and worked on a Star Wars game codenamed Project Ragtag. Unfortunately, the game never saw the light of day, and Hennig left Visceral Games in 2018. Soon after, she opened her own division in Skydance Media called Skydance New Media.


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