Jason Rubin began making games in 1984. His first title, Ski Crazed
(Apple][) was developed with the man he found the JAM software
studio with in 1986: Andy Gavin
, and published a year later after his 15th birthday. JAM software would eventually evolve into Naughty Dog
by 1989. Ski Crazed
was followed by DreamZone
(Apple][GS, AtariST, Amiga), and was also published Baudville
just like the first title. They approached Electronic Arts
and secured a contract to make the game that would eventually be called Keef the Thief: A Boy and His Lockpick
(Apple][GS, Amiga, Atari ST, PC). Published in 1989, Keef The Thief
would be Naughty Dog's last computer title.
1991 saw the release of Rings of Power
(Genesis), Naughty Dogs first foray into the console world. Though it sold out within 3 months, EA did not reprint the game, and Rings of Power
ended up becoming somewhat of a cult RPG.
Graduating from the University of Michigan, Rubin moved to California while Gavin moved to Boston to pursue a graduate degree from MIT. The break did not last long. Soon after Rubin and Gavin were collaborating on their first CD-ROM based title, Way of the Warrior
(3DO), in 1994. Although done under an extremely tight budget, Way of the Warrior
showed that the Naughty Dog’s had talent, and secured them a three project deal with fledgling publisher Universal Interactive Studios
Moving to LA, Rubin and Naughty Dog began their first “large budget” title, hired their first employees, and began making games as a full time occupation rather than a school age hobby. The first title produced by Naughty Dog with this new focus was the groundbreaking Crash Bandicoot
(PlayStation) in 1996. Crash Bandicoot
had cutting edge graphics and a character that appealed to a new, older audience. With an in your face add campaign that had the hero shouting through a bullhorn at Nintendo headquarters, a lovable “mascot like” character, and of course great graphics, Crash Bandicoot
would eventually sell more than 6 million units worldwide. The sequels which would come out in rapid succession, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
(PlayStation), Crash Bandicoot: Warped
(Playstation), and CTR: Crash Team Racing
(PlayStation) were all smash hits, selling a combined 25 million units worldwide before Naughty Dog abandoned the little orange marsupial with attitude. Crash Bandicoot: Warped
also has the distinction of being the only title created and developed by a non-Japanese developer to sell over 1 million units in that country. It did this in just two weeks after its 1998 launch.
Although Naughty Dog left Crash Bandicoot to Universal Interactive Studios, which owned the copyright to the character that Naughty Dog had created, successive Crash titles have done fabulously well, despite what must fairly be called diminished quality, and the legacy of the games and character that Naughty Dog made famous lives on.
In 2001 Naughty Dog became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment America
, and released the Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
(PlayStation2) based on new IP. Jak and Daxter was a big departure for the team, and the culmination of a journey that took them from follower to leader. The title has gone on to be more successful week on week than the first Crash
2003 saw the release of Jak II
(PlayStation2). It had the strongest first 4 weeks of any Naughty Dog title in the United States, and has sold extremely well in Europe as well.
In March 2004, Jason Rubin gave a speech at the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas where he criticized the gaming industry and the publishers in particular for not appreciating and promoting the talent of the developers who actually make the games. He encouraged game developers to promote and position themselves better and to claim the attention and the respect they deserved. This would also allow them to make better deals with publishers, namely receive higher funding and benefit more from the games they make. The speech was apparently well received by the audience and did create a lot of media attention afterwards.
About two months later Rubin announced his departure from Naughty Dog, the studio he had co-founded. According to him, the decision to leave the company had nothing to do with the speech he held or Sony Computer Entertainment America in particular. He said: "I now want to take on new challenges and create something new. I want to refuel my passion for the business of gaming."
According to his own "MySpace" website, following his departure and restart with a new project, Jason Rubin began working on a new game called Iron and the maiden
which he claimed isn't Crash Bandicoot
, and it isn't Jak and Daxter
. The game is supposed to be developed by Rubin and a new team of indie designers and supposed to be "something new. Raw, Uncensored, Uncut", he said. He authored two comic book mini-series: Iron and the Maiden
in 2007, and Mysterious Ways
In May 2009 he returned to the industry when it was announced he had co-founded a new game development studio Monkey Gods
with his long-time friend Andy Gavin, along with former HBO media consultant Jason Kay
In May 2012 THQ
announced that Rubin had been appointed president of the company.
- Metro: Last Light (2013), Deep Silver, Inc.
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (2007), Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
- Daxter (2006), Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
- Jak X: Combat Racing (2005), Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
- Jak 3 (2004), Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
- Jak II (2003), Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
- Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001), Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd.
- CTR: Crash Team Racing (1999), Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
- Syphon Filter (1999), 989 Studios
- Crash Bandicoot: Warped (1998), Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd.
- Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (1997), Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
- Crash Bandicoot (1996), Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
- Way of the Warrior (1994), Universal Interactive Inc.
- Rings of Power (1991), Electronic Arts, Inc.
- Keef the Thief: A Boy and His Lockpick (1989), Electronic Arts, Inc.
- Dream Zone (1988), Baudville