[UPDATE: Naughty Dog has issued an apology and updated the latest Uncharted 4 trailer. Head here to watch the new version.]
This morning, a new story trailer for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was released revealing more characters and locales that will be in the upcoming closing chapter of Nathan Drake’s story. It’s an amazing trailer that has garnered high praise from fans. Even Neil Druckmann, Uncharted 4‘s creative director called it “the best trailer in Naughty Dog’s history.” But now there’s a bit of controversy surrounding it.
Although the footage has only been live for a few hours, it didn’t take long for developers over at Ubisoft to spot a familiar looking piece of art in the trailer. They claim that Naughty Dog stole a piece of concept art from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and used it in their game.
The shot in question is at the 1:36 mar in the trailer, when Drake looks up on his mantle and sees this photo of a beach and cove, a very Uncharted-esque location.
But is it this piece of concept art from Black Flag sans the assassin on the beach?
The shots are strikingly similar.
Some of the Ubisoft developers working on the Assassin’s Creed franchise took to Twitter to call out Naughty Dog. Azaïzia Aymar is one of them; he’s the Head of Content for Assassin’s Creed.
Woooow Uncharted 4 using one of ACIV artwork in their trailer... I get the "thief" title now! https://t.co/rholpuvw9I lol at 1:36— Azaïzia Aymar (@AymarMtl) February 24, 2016
It’s hard to tell his tone in this tweet, as he did put a “lol” at the end, which could be him joking around with Naughty Dog more in jest than an actual serious accusation. The same goes for Alex Hutchinson, the creative director behind Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 4, although his response appears a bit more barbed.
Hutchinson specifically called out former Ubisoft developer Jonathan Cooper, the former Animation Director at Ubisoft who worked with him on Assassin’s Creed 3. Cooper is now an animator at Naughty Dog working on Uncharted 4.
@GameAnim Doing your own concept art is twice the work? 😉 pic.twitter.com/sO7ZAQ6sQ1— Alex Hutchinson (@BangBangClick) February 24, 2016
Cooper responded on Twitter, and judging by his reaction, it appears that this “controversy” might be more about friends poking fun at each other than any thing else.
To clarify, @BangBangClick is one of my best buddies back up in Montreal. This is not the first time we've been on Kotaku together ;-)— Jonathan Cooper (@GameAnim) February 24, 2016
But who knows? Could that have been placeholder art that Naughty Dog somehow forgot to take out? It’s not the first time Naughty Dog has forgotten about something in an Uncharted game—Uncharted 3 included a nod to The Last of Us, which was originally supposed to be announced before Uncharted 3 came out, but instead was held off until the VGAs that year.
Neither Ubisoft nor Sony have commented on the story.
Do you think Naughty Dog used art from Black Flag in Uncharted 4?
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is set to release April 26th, exclusively on PlayStation 4.