Let's just get it out of the way right now: According to Uncharted 3 director, Justin Richmond, Mark Wahlberg is not locked in to play the hero of the Uncharted franchise, Nathan Drake.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception has a lot to live up to from Among Thieves, but Naughty Dog is up to the task and are taking steps to ensure that the third title in the franchise will exceed fan expectations. Earlier, we had some new video detailing combat and engine changes, which is highly recommended viewing.
Richmond noted the lighting engine used in Uncharted 2 will return, being one less thing the team has to deal with when crafting the new game.
The changes don't stop there, animations will be receiving a lot of attention. Richmond says:
"We're doing some crazy stuff where we're actually going to stream some animations in, so Drake will actually change animation state based on what's happening. We don't want to let you walk through fire without reacting, but most of these animation changes are just like he's doing the right thing based on what's around him, rather than taking away player control. It's about making him seem more realistic."
Realism does convey a sense of relation between player and character. Nathan Drake is easier to relate to, when compared to most game characters, because he's a regular guy who just happens to get into situations with very bad people.
What's a good way to deal with bad people (if you're a game character, that is)? Beating them up. Uncharted 3 will be improving the franchise's hand-to-hand combat by including multiple opponents to fight against at once, rather than just one or two.
"The fact that you can fight multiple guys at the same time, hand-to-hand, makes a big difference."
Richmond hinted at a potential bar fight scenario where Drake would have to go up against maybe ten guys and could use items from the environment to his advantage. Again, check out those new videos to have a peek at what the hand-to-hand combat will be like.
The traversal puzzles have also been improved as the in-game physics will now affect how Drake is able to bypass certain obstacles. Richmond gives an example of swinging on a chandelier, which gets caught on something. Drake must then free it - in order to swing forward and on to the next area.
In a surprising bit of information, PlayStation Move controls will not be included in Uncharted 3:
"We feel like if you're going to build a Move game, you should build a Move game. You shouldn't take a game that already exists with all of these control mechanics, and then build over the top of it. We haven't really found a cool way to use it, if we did, we would."
Moving on to the story, Richmond confirmed that obviously Nathan and Sully will be returning, but was a bit vague regarding who else might make an appearance, "more characters [are] coming back than you've seen." Though it would be fair to guess that Drake's (SPOILER ALERT) love interest, Elena will show up somewhere along the line.
Richmond also had something to say about Drake's opposition this time around - which will be a cult of some kind.
"It's more of a manipulative enemy than a full-on bad guy. Obviously you're still going to be shooting guys, but the idea is that they can mess with your mind, as well."
Richmond did talk a little about the potential for story-related DLC and the short answer is that there are no plans to include it as of now, he cites interfering with the story's pace and financial concerns. Multiplayer shouldn't have a problem keeping Uncharted 3 in your disc tray though - as it will be making a return and Naughty Dog is ensuring the experience will be even better.
"Next game we're going to blow it out. We're going to really take it to the next level, listen to what the fans said, do all of the things we wanted to do last game but didn't have time to, because we really did the whole thing in just a year."
Non-story co-op mode will return to the game as well. For those wondering why the lack of a story-mode co-op, Richmond said:
"When you put a second player in the game with you, it changes your feel of the game -- it's not you experiencing it, it's you with somebody else."
A good point. Uncharted was always about telling Drake's story and co-op could definitely take away from that.
Finally, Richmond confirmed that Naughty Dog is on-target to meet the November 1 release date - and attributes any future delay to Sony's end.
Not much else to say about Uncharted 3 other than it's going to be one of the best games of 2011.
Uncharted 3 will be releasing exclusively on the PlayStation 3 on November 1, 2011.