It’s no secret how much I love the Uncharted series and ever since the PS4’s announcement, my eyes and ears turned in the hopes of hearing only one unveiling. Uncharted 4.
Despite the project loosing some major personnel along the way, most notably Amy Hennig, the series has been picked up by Neil Druckman, and other key figures, who worked on the critically acclaimed The Last of Us. With a new creative team in place, new ideas were sure to follow.
The only real criticism I really had about Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series was just how linear the games were. Beautiful, action packed and down right brilliant to play, but linear. Something Square Enix’s reboot of Tomb Raider (although I feel isn’t as good as Uncharted) managed to address. Lara Croft pretty much had free reign of an entire island, and whilst the plot itself encouraged you to follow a certain path, players still had the option of how to approach each section of the island and could freely explore all the nooks and crannies. Uncharted’s exploration, by comparison, was minimal and besides the odd hidden collectible, Uncharted rarely encouraged you to explore. Not that you really could.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End intends to address that problem by allowing players to freely explore and approach most areas of the game. Co-lead designer Ricky Cambier goes on to explain, to Game Informer, some of the major changes to Nathan Drake’s environment
“I think our goal with the layouts in some of these spaces is that there’s not that golden path. You turn this corner, you’re going to find something surprising. Or maybe this way you’re going to use your potions; the mixup of your different tools. There might be a shimmy ledge this way, there might be things that break this way; so every path has that action, that tempo that you want.”
“Because you want to go bigger in this jungle layout that we have,” he said. “You can see just all the avenues that Drake has; these new tools. You give the player a tool like the grappling hook. Then you realise how much space you need to fulfil that and how far you can go. How you design a space that has that size and that epicness, but is still understandable, digestible.”
The latest gameplay footage showcases what Cambier means, but also shows off the new and vastly improved enemy A.I as well as the new grapple hook tool, which can be used to climb, swing and take out enemies. Naughty Dog spoke to GameInformer talking through the latest gameplay trailer and reminisce about the triumphs of the Last of Us.