It's a safe bet that a lot of gamers are currently trekking through the Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception campaign - at least if our November ’11 Game Rant Game Guide is any indication. However, when all the (Rub 'al Khali) dust has settled - many Nathan Drake fans will already be looking forward to the next installment in the series.
Of course nothing has been announced at this point but, considering the series' big sales numbers and system-selling power, it's obvious that we'll see another Uncharted console title in the future... but when?
Multiple Naughty Dog employees have asserted that there was virtually no break between the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves golden master and pre-production on Uncharted 3 - a sentiment echoed by lead effects artist, Keith Guerrette, who spoke with IGN:
"At this point, because we took off sprinting the moment we finished Uncharted 2 onto Uncharted 3, the studio’s giving us some time to relax and take a breather, so everyone’s off on vacation now."
"We absolutely killed ourselves on this project. I think this was the hardest thing any of us have ever done."
With a worn-out Naughty Dog team that has released back-to-back game of the year contenders (albeit with one year in between), it's unlikely that we'll have our hands on Uncharted 4: (Insert Provacative Subtitle Here) in Holiday 2013.
While that news might be disappointing to some fans, Game director, Justin Richmond touched on the pressure the team felt with Uncharted 3, "I’ve worked on two ‘third' games and they’re always harder… people expect a certain level of sophistication" - and, no doubt, pressure will be even higher for the inevitable "fourquel." As a result, and with positive reviews rolling in for the series' third installment, it's easy to understand why Naughty Dog might not be ready to jump right back into the Uncharted world yet.
Guerrette asserts that the team knows they've raised expectations (as Richmond also indicated) - and that letting Uncharted sit for a bit may be the only way to deliver a worthy follow-up:
“I think the bar is high, I think the bar is really high. I think that's gonna make us a little bit reluctant, actually, if we do sit back and decide to continue with the Uncharted world, because we don't wanna ruin it. I mean, we're all big fans of our work and the last thing we wanna do is go in and screw it up [...] When we do go back we’re gonna have to sit down and talk and figure out what it is we want to spend time on and that’s part of the freedom Sony gives us. I mean, we’ve shipped 11 games now and we’ve never missed a single deadline, which I don’t think that there’s any other development studio in the world that can say that.”
Whether or not we'll have to wait until the PS4 is announced to get wind of another Uncharted title is still only rumor and speculation. However, it's clear that the Naughty Dog heads are interested in exploring other options - if for no other reason than to make sure they have enough time to ensure that the next console Uncharted title is just as breathtaking as the latest installment.
Of course, it's not like the Uncharted faithful are entirely in the dark, since Sony Bend is hard at work on the PS Vita tie-in Uncharted: Golden Abyss - set for release when the hand-held launches on February 22, 2012.
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Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is available now exclusively on the PS3.