Nathan Drake: Hunk Of Hero VS Cunning Villain

The typical moral-based fight between good and evil is one that sneaks it’s way into most genres throughout a mass of differing medias. Usually righteousness will prevail, leaving the good guy/ girl triumphant, with their foot on the defeated villain, fist held high and proud. Now, with this stereotypical timeline of events that is used quite commonly, you’d consider it easy to predict a story line in most circumstances and find it much easier to identify good and bad characters, right? Wrong. In Naughty Dog’s widely acclaimed action-adventure series Uncharted, it has become apparent that the ability to distinguish between good and evil isn’t always as easy as it seems and we have Uncharted’s protagonist, Nathan Drake to thank for this.

The Makings Of A Bad Guy 

Although Nate partakes in a great deal of saving and other heroics throughout the Uncharted series, he is actually a renowned thief that snatches up historic artifacts and treasures using his seemingly bottomless knowledge of the past. In most cases, the purpose of stealing such objects are for the means of pride or to sell on for money, usually to pay of his companion, Victor Sullivan’s debts. However, it is apparent that right from the start, Nathan had the typical beginning and makings of a bad guy.

Nathan Drake was deprived of his parents from a young age. After his mother committed suicide, his father turned young Nate into an orphanage where he was raised there for a while. Nate eventually ran away from the orphanage and made his way to Columbia where at the age of 14, he managed to acquire Sir Francis Drake’s ring from which point, the story of Uncharted, meeting Sully and all his thieving antics transpires.

Nathan Drake undertook an awful lot of stress during his upbringing; quite rightfully to be fair to the guy and in doing so, had what we can nowadays consider the makings of a villain,  hellbent on getting his own back on the world. However, is he truly a fully-fledged villain?

 

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Naughty Dog’s Naughty Boy

It is evident that throughout the proceedings of the three, soon to be four part video game series of Uncharted, our dear Nathan Drake has stacked up a credible list of bad deeds to have him placed quite firmly on Santa’s Naughty List. During the series we see him break into several museums and then proceed to steal numerous historic artifacts from them, steal various vehicles, break into historic sites, steal historic documents, cause unimaginable amounts of damage, not to mention the countless henchmen and mindless mad-men he murders. Fact is, Nathan Drake has done his fair share…well, quite a few people’s fair share of bad things that could easily have him considered a villain. So why given this, is it still relatively difficult to class him solely as a villain within the Uncharted series? Does Nate’s good deeds really outweigh and rectify the many terrible ones he has committed throughout the series?

 

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You’ll Get No Sympathy From Me…Oh Wait. 

Granted, Nathan Drake has committed many dark deeds throughout the duration of his adventures however it is difficult to pin him as a distinct villain purely because among all his dark doings, his adventures have entailed a fair share of heroics on his part. He’s saved the damsel in distress on numerous occasions, whether it be Elena Fisher suffering a bullet wound or Chloe Frazer needing an unnecessary rescue from a madman (both having important roles in the series). Regardless of circumstance, the fact remains that nowadays doing such a thing is considered something a good guy would do as opposed to cunning villain. He has overcome his own greed and pride for the better of mankind and in all respect the people he has killed, have been at least somewhat more villainous than him. So is it at all possible to suggest that perhaps Nathan Drake is a hero after all? Furthermore, there is the matter of villains usually being disliked whereas Drake, you can’t help but love. This love for him is unquestionably enhanced during the third installment to the series, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception in which we experience a small snippet of Drake’s unruly childhood. Although his childhood may have been the beginning of his stealing and wrong doings, it is also what makes him so lovable through means of sympathy. On a final note, as we learn throughout the events of the Uncharted Series, a lot of the time Nate is purely after his own heritage. Yes, he doesn’t go about getting it the right way but regardless, it is his to take surely?

 

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The Better Of Two Evils

So, seeing as Nathan Drake is hard to distinguish as either a hero or a villain maybe it’d be best to consider him as the better of two evils? I mean yeah, he steals, lies and cheats all for his own greed but at least all he is looking for is riches and pride whereas, the more easily identifiable baddies throughout the Uncharted series are after something more sinister and truly evil, world domination. Furthermore, Nathan proceeds to take down these power-hungry lunatics. So yeah, he may be a bit of a bad guy, but he isn’t really the baddest-bad guy or a real villain if you think about it.

 

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We Love You Nate

Good or bad, fans have taken to Nathan Drake over the years, a fact very evident in the sales of the Uncharted series. In the upcoming finale to the series Uncharted: A Thief’s End, i’m sure Naughty Dog will throw in plenty of new red herrings to prevent us fans from distinguishing Nate as either a hero or a villain but regardless, the millions of fans of this series we’ll be eager to have him back, as a hero or a as villain.

Nathan Drake’s Delayed Return

Nathan

The return of one of our favourite protagonists is prolonged as Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4 is pushed back to Spring of 2016. Since the team has put all other projects on hold, such as an addition to The Last Of Us series and the revival of fan favourite classic, Jak And Daxter, Neil Druckmann (Director) has discovered more potential in Uncharted 4 than initially anticipated . The team now plan now to push the game to it’s very limits to make  Nathan Drakes return somewhat of a milestone for the game series.

No Nate!

Primarily we hear millions of Uncharted fans squeal in agony, as the delay stabs their desire to see our sarcastically savvy treasure hunter, Nathan Drake make his comeback. However, if we bypass our immediate disappointment, we can see that this decision is in fact in the best interest of the game.

”…it’s become clear to us that this game is much more ambitious than we originally envisioned.” – Neil Druckmann

Neil Druckmann states ”After spending so many years with Nathan Drake, he means a lot to the team, and telling the climactic chapter of his adventures is a task we don’t take lightly — this game deserves every bit of the attention to detail, precise pacing, and nuanced storytelling Naughty Dog is known for. So we’ve made the difficult choice of pushing the game’s release date. Giving us a few extra months will make certain that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End not only meets the team’s high standards, but the high standards that gamers have come to expect from a Naughty Dog title.”

The team made the difficult decision after the gameplay trailer was released, seeing that A Thief’s End is more ambitious than they originally foresaw.

Uncharted 4 the better

Although they have pushed back one of the most anticipated games of 2015, we cannot just strap them to an anchor and throw it overboard just yet. The Last Of Us – Naughty Dog’s most recent gaming miracle, dumbfounded millions of gamers, earning itself quite rightly well over 200 Game Of The Year awards. In case you’ve forgotten, The Last Of Us was also delayed and it’s success among the gaming industry is evidence enough that their decision to delay was wise and in the better interest of the game. This being the case, should we trust Naughty Dog to make Uncharted 4 just as triumphant? It would be irrational not to.

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There has also been considerable focus on Naughty Dog knocking back the frames per second (jargon for how smooth the games imaging is) in which Uncharted 4 is supposed to run at. Initially Naughty Dog announced 60 fps however, they later stated that if it were to compromise the player experience, they would keep it locked at somewhere over 30 fps instead. This matter subsequently became the roots for controversy.

With A Thief’s End  now being delayed for the best part of a year, can we expect Neil Druckmann and his team to try and tackle such issues and work to ensure that we can enjoy the beauty of  handsome Nate in 60 fps, without the chance of it spoiling our experience throughout the game? At least now the team have the time on their hands to perfect things like this, to ensure the game is stable and ready for it’s hungry fans upon it’s new release. We can see from recent releases such as Assassins Creed: Unity, that was immensely unstable and consequently criticized upon initial release for being almost unplayable, that ensuring a satisfactory release is important for a game.

See you in 2016 where an adventure awaits

With the new Uncharted title now set to be released next year it’s fair to say we can expect so much more than the gameplay trailer initially taunted us with. However, despite the daunting wait ahead, at the very end of the tunnel is the light of a perfected game, that fans will mindlessly lose themselves in like they have done with the predecessors in this remarkable series. With the outcome of Naughty Dogs tough decision not entirely certain but with some perspective looking promising (purely because it is Naughty Dog!), I think fans will have to fasten their seat belts and endure the rest of the ride.

Here is the Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End gameplay trailer from Playstation Experience if you are crazy enough not to have watched it yet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow2cL-pp6p8&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOw2cL-pp6p8&has_verified=1

Uncharted The Movie: Will We Ever Need It?

Uncharted

I love Nathan Drake. He’s the wise cracking drinking buddy I always wanted; the one who’s always got a story to tell. A story that’s often cut short as the local authorities, or a band of Egyptian pirates, burst into your quaint drinking hole and chase you through the streets. Boxes scattered, pool cues broken, QTEs failed- you know, just an average Friday night on the town with friends.

My love of Naughty Dog’s universe has me, like many others, very ready for anything with the characteristically sand-covered Uncharted name attached to it, yet recent developments have given me doubts about the franchise’ foray into film.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about the scheduled 2016 Uncharted movie. The last update announcing a change of director from David O’Russell (Anchorman, American Hustle, Three Kings) to comic director Seth Gordon (Identity Thief, Horrible Bosses). Despite the mixed reactions to the presence of a comic director on a film which is, essentially, an action/adventure title, I think the question of who directs the film should come second to ‘do we need the film?’

Let’s face it, so far the Uncharted games are exemplary works of storytelling matching that of any feature length movie, and the interactivity of the video game format is in many ways the key to the narrative experience. There’s also the story to consider. If an Uncharted film recreated the narrative of one of the games, there’d be questions as to whether the attempt could do the source material justice. On the other hand, if the film put the characters in a new scenario fans of the series could disregard the narrative as non-canon.

A recent article from gamepur.com reported one of Naughty Dog’s lead character designers stating in an interview that Uncharted 4’s game quality is “really close to film right now.” This was pretty evident on the trailers that have been released, but to have an update that months down the line saying quality is still up to such a visual standard is great news for series fans, but bad news for the film, considering that its main benefit is realism.

Despite the graphical competence of the next generation, there’s another critical reason why a movie adaptation of an Uncharted game is an exercise in redundancy. With most video game tie-ins the promise of a live action film is the promise of turning fantasy elements that are easily capable in a game and interpreting them in a live setting with real people. This interpretation is part of the fun. Much like with the Harry Potter films, the excitement comes from the mystery of how they are going to recreate the scenes we know and love. Aside from Uncharted’s subtle and eerie supernatural twists, most of the games present real people in (semi)real locations, meaning that people don’t really have to use their imagination, it’s already there for them on screen in full HD.

With the graphical update of the PS4, a movie version of this beloved series becomes even less appealing. Uncharted gives us more than enough character development, fantastic set pieces and emotionally charged scenes to enjoy without needing to watch a Hollywood re-master. Just ask yourself a question, would you want Victor (God damn!) Sullivan any other way?

Thoughts on the Uncharted film or Uncharted 4? Which video game movie tie ins are you waiting for? Comment below.