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PlayStation® UNCHARTED Series

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The PlayStation® UNCHARTED series gained immense popularity worldwide, and has become a category-defining action adventure game of a new generation. Live the adventure and challenges as you go behind the scenes of the game development and production with developers and actors from the beginning stages to the climatic ending in the fourth episode of the series: UNCHARTED 4: A Thief's End for PlayStation®4.

UNCHARTED is like an epic movie in which you have a starring role.

The "UNCHARTED" game series for PlayStation® is an action-packed shooter that revolves around the intriguing treasure explorer Nathan Drake (Nate) and the many colorful characters he interacts with.

Creative Director Neil Druckmann describes UNCHARTED as a playable summer blockbuster cinematic adventure, in which all of the characters seem real, engaging, and very much a part of the fictional world we have created.

Says Actor Nolan North, who plays Nate: "This was somebody who is vulnerable. I remember the first time we did a punching scene. I said: What if we hit him and it hurt? So he was one of the first characters who would feel pain. When he fell from a height, it knocked the wind out of him… He'd struggle to get up. That's what Nate is at his core. He's just a normal guy trying to do the best he can. And he just keeps falling into these extraordinary circumstances... and has to dig his way out of them."

CREATIVE DIRECTOR NEIL DRUCKMANN

CREATIVE DIRECTOR NEIL DRUCKMANN

Protagonist treasure-hunter NATHAN DRAKE (Nate)

Protagonist treasure-hunter NATHAN DRAKE (Nate)

First adventure and introductory chapter.
UNCHARTED: Drake's Fortune

The first game in the series - UNCHARTED: Drake's Fortune - was released in 2007 and became the first UNCHARTED game for PlayStation®3. It was a new-style property following "Jak and Daxter". Neil Druckmann explains that at the time it was an extremely ambitious project and a great opportunity for Naughty Dog.

Technical Art Director Teagan Morison, however, recalls feeling a little apprehensive at the time. "Drake was kind of like… little 'newer' to the game. He was still figuring himself out, and so was the studio."

Unique challenges were imposed on the actors who played the characters as well. Richard McGonagle who plays Victor Sullivan recalls how motion capture was still relatively new and not commonly adopted, and how he first encountered this camera system during the game.

"All the games that I'd done before were all where you go into a booth by yourself... and you do the lines one by one. And I thought that's what it was going to be. Gordon Hunt, who was the director, came over and instructed, 'This is what we're gonna do. You're gonna start out here and you're gonna go there…' I said 'Whoa, Gordon, what are you talking about? Moving around? This is a game, right?' He said, 'Yeah, it's motion capture.' And I went, 'motion what?'"

Richard McGonagle being shot with the motion capture camera system.

Richard McGonagle being shot with the motion capture camera system.

Laying down the three foundations for the series, and further dramatic development.
UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves
UNCHARTED 3: Drake's Deception

UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves established the foundations for the 3rd installment with a mix of intense battles, adventures and mystery solving. What's more, by revealing Nate's vulnerabilities, weaknesses and psychological fears, the game revealed even more depth to the hero character and added more personality to the overall storytelling.

UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves

UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves

For Technical Art Director Teagan Morrison, the aim was to create an intense and flashy gaming experience. It was as much about the core gameplay mechanics as establishing a large-scale stage.

That meant that it was essential for Nate to realistically interact with moving objects and surroundings. The train sequence is a good example of the studio's ambition to maintain a strong sense of realism, as well as scenes of toppling buildings and other objects.

These principles further evolved and were enhanced in the 3rd installment of the series — UNCHARTED 3: Drake's Deception.

UNCHARTED 3:  Drake's Deception

UNCHARTED 3: Drake's Deception

A new survival action game that raised the bar for the developer team.
"The Last of Us"

Naughty Dog - the same group that developed UNCHARTED - introduced a new type of survival action adventure game titled "The Last of Us". A second team began development while the studio was working on UNCHARTED 3, "The Last of Us" focused more on creating game characters that players could empathize with.

As the drivers behind the concept, Creative Director Neil and Game Director Bruce Straley established a storyline about a catastrophic parasitic fungus outbreak that mysteriously spreads across the United States. "We tried to take those big, over-the-top set pieces and tried to couple them in with pivotal points in the story. So that when a big event happens to our characters or their relationships, we were really able to play those out."

Lead Game Designer Anthony Newman learned from "The Last of Us" the importance of creating a genuine connection between the player and the interactive game world. By allowing players to realistically engage with the protagonist and other characters, players were allowed to delve deeper into the world at unprecedented levels.

The whole team successfully created a genre that for the first time allowed players to experience the near-real emotions of the game characters.

The Last of Us

"The Last of Us"

The final chapter brought together the game creators' passion and sense of loyalty to the fans.

The much-anticipated fourth and final chapter of the series was released this year. Creative Director Neil draws parallels to protagonist Nate embarking on his last adventure, to the team's challenges of coming back to UNCHARTED after completing "The Last of Us": "It's similar in some ways to Nathan Drake being drawn back to the adventure... to go big again with big spectacle, big explosions. We're trying to take on all the lessons we've learned throughout the games and try to tell a more human story within that."

"I think there's a lot of responsibility for us to be true to what has come before with UNCHARTED," says Audio Director Philip Kovats. "The last three games were these amazing adventures and now that we're doing the fourth one, which may be the final chapter. There's a lot of respect that the characters have earned. There's a lot of emotion that we've invested in these guys and gals over the years."

Lead Programmer Christian Gyrling was particularly passionate about the UNCHARTED series. "We feel like there's so much invested from all the people here that have worked on Drake and this whole world for a decade. We wanna do ourselves the service of actually tying this together."

UNCHARTED 4: A Thief's End

UNCHARTED 4: A Thief's End

Neil shares his personal thoughts on the game from the perspective of the creator of the UNCHARTED 4 story: "I think there is some responsibility there to take it seriously - to tell the story of these characters honestly because there are so many people that take such joy in this - that our responsibility is to then make sure they're getting the best possible game we can make. And that's constantly. As a team you're seeing how every department pushes the other one. We strive for nothing less than perfection. Even though we will never achieve it, we're constantly shooting for it. That's the thing that drives us."

Bruce adds to this, "That's the thing that drives us. We want to make something that we can look at and be proud of, and say: 'man, how cool is this? We made this!' Every pixel on the screen... somebody here created it. There was energy that went into every single pixel on that screen. And that's awesome."

The comments by the two directors reflect the shared feelings of enthusiasm and pride that bond the team members together. And those became the driving forces behind UNCHARTED's evolution into the best-selling game.

GAME DIRECTOR BRUCE STRALEY

GAME DIRECTOR BRUCE STRALEY

Overview

  • UNCHARTED is like an epic movie in which you have a starring role.
  • First adventure and introductory chapter.
    UNCHARTED: Drake's Fortune
  • Laying down the three foundations for the series, and further dramatic development.
    UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves
    UNCHARTED 3: Drake's Deception
  • A new survival action game that raised the bar for the developer team.
    "The Last of Us"
  • The final chapter brought together the game creators' passion and sense of loyalty to the fans.

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