Award-winning game director Amy Hennig is the reason so many people fell in love with PlayStation's Uncharted franchise. The action spoke to a generation raised on Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones, but it was the writing – which Hennig drove to a large degree – that's made the series so memorable. This is perhaps the biggest reason we were all so shocked when she left her role at Naughty Dog in 2014, in the middle of Uncharted 4's development.
Now she's working on a Star Wars title at EA's Visceral Games and bringing her brand of storytelling to the universe that inspired her to go down this path to begin with. Writer Laura Parker spent a few days with Hennig last month, and she went deep into her past work, the rigors of her current project, and what it's like to hang out with Yoda. Here are some surprising tidbits from the full profile.
1. She hasn't played Uncharted 4
"If you break up with your spouse and they get remarried you don't want to see photos of the happy couple on Facebook, do you?" she says. Hennig famously left midstream during the development of Uncharted 4, to the bafflement of those outside Naughty Dog's circle of trust. "When you're pulling these characters out of yourself, it's kind of twisted, in a way, to see them in the hands of someone else."
2. Helen Hunt's dad taught Hennig about character dialogue
American director Gordon Hunt, the father of actress Helen Hunt, worked with Hennig on Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver at Crystal Dynamics back in the late Nineties. "Amy probably heard me doing my job in the only way I've learned how – taking the role of guide to the actors rather than that of 'the boss'," Hunt says. Hunt collaborated with Amy again on Uncharted and Uncharted 2.
3. She encouraged the Uncharted actors to improvise
Drake and Elena's friendly, realistic sounding bickering at the end of Uncharted 2 gets its heart from Hennig's approach to script writing and improvisation, she only wrote three lines of that scene. Actors Nolan North and Emily Rose did the rest. "North's humor is really Drake's humor," Hennig says.
4. She's a huge Star Wars fan, but nearly said no to working on the game
"Imagine how heartbreaking it would be to work on something I love so much only to be crushed under the combined wheels of EA, Lucasfilm and Disney," she says. She relented, though, and now spends time writing at Skywalker Ranch and visiting Yoda. "There's this giant warehouse full of Home Depot shelves stacked with precious things from your childhood: Luke's Storm Trooper costume, the original Yoda, just kind of saggy and slumped over on this dusty shelf... it's almost silly, seeing all this precious stuff just sitting there so unceremoniously."
5. If she swears at you, it means you're friends
Her favorites are jerk and asshole. "Amy's whole attitude is 'I don't give a shit' – in the best possible rockstar, take-it-or-leave-it way," says Jade Raymond, lead at EA's Visceral and Motive studios.
You can read the full profile on Amy Hennig here.