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.

Top 5 Games That Will Make 2016 Sublime

A new year brings a new set of hotly anticipated games to look forward to. 2016 is already shaping up to be an exciting one with Sony and Microsoft continuing their fight for dominance as they pursuit to outdo one another. This along side Nintendo who will start to lift the lid on their latest console; The mysterious NX. All this with a heap of third-party and indie titles plus VR finally becoming a reality. So I think its fair to say its going to be one hell of a year.

Below I have brought together the five games I am most excited about for various reasons which I will go into. All you need to know is I realise there are many more games than whats on show however it’s impossible to talk about them all. The games need to at least look likely to release this year so sorry Last Guardian. Lastly its my own opinion so if you disagree that’s fine. Enjoy

 

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Playstation 4)

Is this the end for Nathan Drake? Everyone’s favorite treasure hunter is coming out of retirement for one last adventure and oh boy does it look good. Destined to be the largest project undertaken by the much respected Naughty Dog, The winner of 25 E3 awards is easily Sony’s biggest release of the year. Can it match its predecessors though? Most importantly how will Nathan Drake’s story end? All I know is tears will flow.

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Cuphead (Xbox One)

This is the reason I play video games. Every once in a while something brilliant is shown from absolutely nowhere. Two Canadian brothers part of Studio MDHR have come together to make a platformer in the style of a 1930’s cartoon. Straight from announcement Cuphead stood out. It’s beautiful, It’s interesting, It’s new. What this industry demands more for is freshness and that is exactly what Cuphead is. Last year proved that indies can compete with triple A games, Cuphead looks to continue this trend.  A must for any Xbox One owners.

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Telltale Games: Batman (PC/MAC)

Now that Rocksteady have completed their take on the Dark Knight, Telltale are taking over the mantle to give their own take. Recently announced but promised for this year Telltale storytelling mechanic is one that may be wearing for some yet throw Batman in the mix and people perk up. Are we going to see more time spent with Bruce Wayne and detective work becoming a key part? Unlike Rocksteady’s version of the Bat it is more likely you will have to use your brains over brawn.

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Legend of Zelda Wii U (Nintendo Wii U)

Will we finally get a real open world experience set in the majestic world of Hyrule? With Nintendo in a period of transition, there’s reason for concern that their hottest property will enter a ‘Twilight Princess’ state being released on both the Wii U and NX. Whatever the outcome the newest Zelda looks to marvel surely set to take the gaming world by storm. That is if we can trust early footage.

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No Man’s Sky (Playstation 4)

Imagine having the opportunity to explore the entirety of the universe, well that’s what studio Hello Games are promising. Understandable if currently you are a bit pessimistic,  nevertheless if this is executed right it could become one of the greatest exploration video games ever. No pressure.

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So there you have five sublime games to look forward to this year. What video games are you most looking forward to? Leave us a comment below to tell us why.

Five Unbelievable Uncharted Moments

With the recent release of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and the approaching fourth entry, what better time then to bring together the finest moments from Naughty Dogs biggest franchise. From 2007 to 2011 we were treated to some outrageously outstanding set pieces that puts the series in a league of its own. Following in the foot steps of Marco Polo, Lawrence of Arabia and Sir Francis Drake, Nathan’s adventures are both extraordinary and surreal.

After all this is done and dusted though, what are the main points that really stick with you. The parts that you love to revisit time after time. Here I try to diagnose the five strongest moments that define the Uncharted series. Warning spoilers for the entirety of the series:

 

Train-Wrecked (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

If you know the series you will have seen this one coming. So fun you experience it twice. Debatably one of the greatest video game opening levels see’s Drake covered in his own blood hanging for dear life to a wrecked train off the side of a mountain. You ponder how have things got this bad? What has he done to get into this situation? The next essential hours are spent building up to this astronomical cliff-hanger.

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Second-Story Work (Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception)

Who would have thought playing as Drake when he was a mere teenager could be so much fun? Fleeing on foot from a number of mysterious agents, Drake’s escapades see him leaping over rooftops. In great movie style the chase is fast and unforgiving. You need a perfect run to make sure your not caught. Jumping from building to building before a detour through a residents flat in the shadow of Mexican Vihuela strings compliment the level perfectly. All leading up to the final stance of Drake having to make a choice whether or not he actually shoots one of Marlowe’s agents. Thankfully its a choice he never has to make with a timely save from Sully

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The Yeti Shadow (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

Somewhere in Nepal you scour icy cliffs following a villager for some unknown reason to yourself. The snowy perches are a stunning sight to behold as they shimmer in the light. From nowhere the camera zooms outs ever so calmly. The shadows suddenly start to move thus revealing pale white eyes and snarling teeth. The dark figure disappears leaving me in disarray. What the hell was that? Every next step, you take lightly.


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Supernatural Twist (Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune)

The original supernatural twist is a moment I will never forget. After spending hours upon hours searching for El Dorado you discover that that the treasure is cursed. Transforming humans into mutated beings with super speed and strength, you realise for the first time that Drake might be out of his depths. Fighting alongside rival Eddy you begin an all out onslaught on the dozens of enemies coming your way. Tension mounts as Elena scrambles to find some way of helping you escape. Shooting the last of the beasts Eddy smugly taunts their dead corpses off the side of a ledge before suddenly being grabbed and pulled to his death. Now your all on your own to defend. Overlooked too much for my liking, Drakes Fortune has tremendous moments like this that are unappreciated too often.

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Plane Crash (Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception)

Like the train-wreck its impossible to leave this sequence out. Serving as the antepenultimate After becoming a stowaway you are suddenly caught by enemies which results with a fist fight on the open ramp of the plane. Very similar to the final showdown in Air Force One except here Nate ends up hanging onto loose cargo off the edge. Gun fight ensues whilst you scramble back up to safety. Things then go from bad to worse as an engine fire rapidly destroys the airplane before sucking everyone (including Drake) out into the air. Falling out of the sky you somehow manage to grab hold of a crate before pulling the safety cord to release the parachute. As improbable as it is, the level is still incredible.

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So there you have five unbelievable Uncharted moments that have made the series a phenomenon. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is fast approaching with expectations high lets hope they will bring us some more surreal moments. What moments stand out for you? Leave us a comment below to tell us why.

Why the Uncharted Collection is Smart

Naughty Dog have come a long way from their days of sporting a Bandicoot of as their Mascot. Today they are one of the most popular gaming studios in the world. Not only this but are considered among many as PlayStation’s Flagship Developers and their flagship series is the Indiana Jones esque series Uncharted.

Having played through the epic adventure of Nathan Drake in Uncharted 2: Amongst Thieves. I have always wanted to visit the original before eventually moving onto the third entry. Now with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on the horizon I feel I have no time to get into the series. I like 20 million others are lucky enough to own a Playstation 4 console. Now that I have this, I only seem to want previous released titles updated to the most current graphics.  So you can imagine my delight when the Uncharted Collection was announced.

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Video Games that perform like movies are becoming more and more common. The action-adventure, third person shooter that is now synonymous with the Uncharted may not have been one of the first to attempt this but it is certainly one of the first to perfect it. Having the chance to own the complete trilogy on the newest generation of console in preparation for the newest release is simply great. It’s Sony listening to its fans. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is ideal for anyone trying to break into the series.

Generally for anybody lagging from the delayed release of the fourth entry (Due for release around the first or second quarter of 2016) this is a great way to revisit the gigantic adventure Nathan takes on before possibly taking on his last.  The HD collection has been promised that it will be available in a gorgeous 1080p resolution with 60 frames per second which according to Sony, “makes a huge difference”. One thing to not forget is that this bundle only contains Drake’s solo efforts so unfortunately Multiplayer is exempt. I however don’t think this is a necessity as the main draw is obviously the story. That said the multiplayer is quite underrated yet as long as it returns in A Thief’s End i’m more than happy.

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The price is worthy of appraisal too. Most video games released today are around the £40-£50 mark so I was honestly expecting the trilogy to cost about £60. To my delight the price was revealed at £54.99 (Amazon.co.uk) and at the time of writing this has dropped down to £46.85, basically the same as one game. I realise this is a re-release but there’s no doubt that you are getting bang for your buck especially if you are yet to touch the franchise.

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Sony are no doubt winning the console race. Decisions like this are only going to contribute to their lead. Never before has there been more Xbox owners that have swapped sides to Playstation. All of these players have never had chance to experience Uncharted and until this was announced were unable to (unless they bought a Playstation 3 as well). So to give these new Playstation owners the chance to play through the entirety of their biggest franchise just in time for the release of the latest title is a really smart move. Genius too. It may seem obvious to some to create this trilogy but what you need to take into consideration is that there are always obvious choices for a company. Most of these obvious choices never come to fruition so when they do I think they need applauding. In terms of pleasing the fans and a business decision this hits the nail right on the head.

I have my pre-order. Do you have yours? What’s your view on the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection?

Leave us a comment below to tell us why.

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 4: A Thief’s End – Who is Sam?

Sam

The upcoming addition to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series has left it very open for what’s to come for fans of the franchise when they revealed their gameplay presentation at Sony’s Playstation Experience event back in December. Fans continue speculating the various possibilities and obstacles that Nathan Drake will have to endure and overcome on what is potentially his final journey.

One thing that we do know from watching the preview is that Drake is re-united with older and previously thought to be dead brother, Sam. This has led to a series of speculations and theories questioning just who Sam really is and what his roll is here in Uncharted 4: A Thief‘s End?

Although originally cast as Todd Stashwick, the role of Sam was later addressed to the very talented Troy Baker, who is no stranger to the Naughty Dog kennel after his outstanding performance in The Last Of Us. Baker has claimed that re-casts happen on projects all the time, the choice to alter this isn’t a reflection on another actor but the character and story have been said to go in a different direction than initially planned, thus leading the developers to reconsider the character’s performer.

So what do we know about Sam? In all honestly, not a lot. We know he is roughly five years older than Nate, it has also been mentioned that his disappearance on Nate’s abandonment as a child is the crux of Nathan Drake’s motivation to pursue a life as a treasure hunter. The gameplay preview establishes that the reunited brothers travel to Libertalia, a mythic colony of Madagascar, founded and claimed by pirates. This is only one of the showcased locations of the game but its certainly a great place to kick-start their journey.

Both actors Nolan North (Nathan Drake) and Troy Baker (Sam) discuss the relationship of the brothers here. Sam is said to be slightly jealous of his brother’s accomplishments which is sure to cause a bit of a sibling rivalry as they re-familiarise themselves through the course of their journey. Troy Baker discusses and briefly touches on their time spent away from each other and how that has impacted them throughout their lives, “The younger has become the elder and the elder has become the younger.”

One popular theory suggests that Sam is potentially the antagonist of the story due to Stashwick’s initial narrative coverage over the teaser trailer:
“Some chains can never be broken. I lost fifteen years, buried alive, erased. You left me, rotting in that hell-hole and never looked back. But you can’t outrun the past. And when it catches up, when all your lies collapse around you, I’ll be there, sifting through the wreckage. You owe me.”

Could this dialogue be referring to Nate himself? We will never really know the truth until the release of Uncharted 4. We must keep in mind that there is also the possibility that due to the supposed change in character and story elements, this early tease of dialogue may no longer play a part in the final product. Only time will tell as we wait to hear more about the Drake brother’s relationship in the highly anticipated Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Why Developers Should Follow in the Paw Prints of Naughty Dog

Naughty Dog

There are times when a writer chooses not to enter the realms of commenting on the video game industry, but I guess it is those subjects they feel ever so strongly about that give them the strength to send it out into the shady abyss of the internet world. After, and let’s be honest, an overall pretty disappointing year in gaming for 2014, I feel there is no better time than the present to highlight the inspirational and positive attitude that particular studios such as ‘Naughty Dog‘ possess when creating their games and to not only say these things, but also deliver them time and time again.

Don’t get me wrong, this article isn’t out there to slate the many developers/publishers that have gone ahead with devious marketing schemes such as day one DLC packages and in-game micro-transactions (not pointing any fingers, but then again, I don’t have to). I simply want to express what I as a consumer have observed over the years and highlight a standard that filled me with so much faith in the future of the industry and made me see that light at the end of the tunnel. It felt great to see this in comparison to the sheer laziness of the ‘that will do‘ attitude many companies have taken on board when releasing what is sometimes considered a mediocre sequel or overall unfinished product for what is expected.

Game Informer interviewed game director Bruce Straley and creative director Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog last month regarding a comparison to making their multi-award winning IP The Last Of Us and moving on from that to the highly anticipated Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

In regards to the motivation and drive for creating Uncharted 4, an interesting comment from game director Bruce Straley states:

When you have that feeling inside that makes you feel like, ‘I wanna play that’, that’s it. Just try to hang onto that, what was it that resonated with you? And then have faith that there’s other gamers out there that are going to want to do the same thing. Sometimes that feeling is driven by the fact that you haven’t played it in another game. It’s not like I’m trying to say, ‘what isn’t in other games that we can put in or create that’s different’. It’s as simple as, ‘Oh that sounds cool, I’ve never done that before.

This statement as a whole sums up the overall attitude that all creators in the gaming industry should go forward with, I mean really, it should be on a plaque somewhere, because not only does it illustrate his passion as a game developer, but it shows that his mind set is focused on creating new and innovate concepts that have never been done before.

After saying this he refers back to the famous Uncharted 2: Among Thieves ‘Train Sequence’ where the programmers accomplished a sequence in which a train travels through an environment as opposed to a giving the illusion of this through repeated background elements. Bruce continues to discuss that when the programmers told him they could achieve this, he says, “Oh my God, they said they could do it, and my little gamer heart swelled up and was like, ‘I wanna play that game.”

The real moment that I love throughout this interview and is the inspiration for me writing this right now is when they are questioned if Uncharted 2 is the blueprint for moving ahead with Uncharted 4, to which they both respond, “no.”

Bruce answers with,

We’re constantly questioning how to do this better. We want to create an experience that resonates with the player. We’re trying to create amazingly rich characters and an adventure that these characters can go on with pressure applied and all these things have to make sense and really click with the controller in your hand. I want to feel engaged and I don’t want to just play the same games that I’ve always played before.” He then says, “We as players, we wanna play a game that is the ultimate Uncharted that we think this thing can be, it has so much potential.

Creative director Neil Druckmann then adds to this,

That would have been the blueprint for Uncharted 2. If we were to make Uncharted 2 now it would be a different game because we’ve changed, we’ve learned so much, we’ve evolved as developers and now this is the Uncharted we feel we wanna make and the culmination of everything we’ve learned on Uncharted and The Last Of Us.

The way Druckmann highlights the concept of them as developers, evolving and developing themselves from their past experiences really spoke out to me and made me really appreciate how lucky I am as a gamer to have someone like this behind the creation of the games I know and love. When a new game is created, I want somebody behind it who is striving to top whatever it was that they previously made, but throughout 2014 I felt disappointed and let down with most of the releases. There was no spark, nothing that made me feel like I was playing the most innovative game that defined the future of video games or even just a game that spoke out to me on a personal level. I think the closest thing that came even close to that in terms of the next generation’s visual capabilities was ‘Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes‘ and that was only a prologue.

Sometimes it isn’t always down to the developers though, I understand that there are the pressures and time constraints that publishers or marketing departments maybe don’t consider. They might not look at the heart and soul of a game or its improvements and would rather cash in when a popular IP is at its highest peak, focusing on what it will turn over if they release it at a specific advantageous time in the year. This leaves those developer’s who have a vision and drive to better themselves from their previous work with no real time to radically improve their game from past developing experiences which ultimately, slows down the overall process for the future of discovering that true meaning and potential of ‘next generation gaming’.

Another Game Informer interview with one of Naughty Dog’s lead designers, Ricky Cambier, demonstrated something that felt very captivating and genuine. There is a moment where Cambier really illustrates his enthusiasm when describing what it felt like to sit in the audience and hear people’s reactions to Uncharted 4 at the ‘Playstation Experience Gameplay Reveal‘ (2014). To me it almost felt as though the developers gain their motivation from that and also feed off of their own desire as gamers to produce something that they themselves want to play in order to produce a remarkable final product that they are satisfied with right up to completion.

My point is, you could have the most talented game developer in the world and produce something that is visually and mechanically appealing but without that time and inner flame, your product may lack any real spirit; without the mindset to approach the production process from a consumer’s point of view and the ability to look at what you are making and ask yourself, ‘How can I truly better that from last time and make something that I really want to play?’

Games that have got into the habit of annual release windows may not realise it at the time, but they are slowly losing that excitement from consumers they once had. To some extent they work to the advantage of both the consumers and companies, more entertaining games for us, and more money for the companies. Unfortunately those titles run the risk of becoming bland overtime with no real improvement or contrasting definition from its predecessor, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series and Activision’s Call of Duty are just a few examples of this. I just don’t think that games that are on an annual release window give the developer’s enough time to vastly expand on their product. Even games that aren’t are slowly getting into the habit of it and the results have a lot to show for it. Take Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4 for example. In the past there has been a four year gap between the releases of previous Far Cry titles and they all have enormous improvements to show for it.

• Far Cry (2004)
• Far Cry 2 (2008)
• Far Cry 3 (2012)
• Far Cry 4 (2014 )

Far Cry 4 was released just two years after Far Cry 3 and it just doesn’t leave us with much to say about it. Don’t get me wrong, it is by all means a fantastic game and probably one of 2014’s best but it shares so many similarities with Far Cry 3 that we as the player, are left far from ‘blown away’ and because of that, I have still yet to complete it myself. It didn’t give us enough time to ‘miss it’ as a franchise. I’m not ruling Naughty Dog out completely, as there were times when I felt Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception shared a few of these similar elements that I have just mentioned. However, when I play a Naughty Dog game, I feel like I am playing a complete product. A product that feels new, that feels like a fresh experience and that isn’t dangling DLC season passes like a carrot in front of my face on the menu before I’ve even started the game and that is what separates them from recent affairs.

Developers need time. The demands of the consumer should not pressure the desires of the developer. The people buying the games are still going to be there waiting for you one or two years later and in that time they sat fidgeting and waiting, a studio can deliver them something that is ten times better than it was two years ago. If the time is still constrained that shouldn’t give developers and excuse to make anything close to the endless copy/pastes we’ve seen over the last few years. We as consumers enjoy expressing our own excitement because we are genuinely very excited to play up and coming blockbuster triple A games, but the term ‘cannot wait‘ should never be taken too literally.

It is that attitude and little touch of passion and drive to go that extra mile that makes such an impacting difference. That is what separates a franchise that stands the test of time to those that shoot themselves in the foot far too early in the race to survive the long run.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Coming 2015

Uncharted

To end Sony’s press conference tonight, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has been said to release in 2015. With the announcement comes the first official trailer featuring both Drake in all his glory, and in-game graphics that are bound to make even the coldest of men weep openly.

While we still know little on the title, it is reassuring to see Naughty Dog hard at work yet again, with another mindbogglingly beautiful project.

Check out the trailer below if you’re prepared to be amazed!

I fear that this may be the last we see of Uncharted if this trailer is to be taken literally, but we’ll have to wait for 2015 to see what mysteries await.