For a game scheduled to release this year, it doesn't seem like we've seen all that much of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Contrary to the incessant character reveals and month-long open beta tests that other titles use to build hype ahead of their launch, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Nathan Drake's latest adventure is going under the radar somewhat — but the emergence of possible box art would suggest it's still on track for 2015.
The art was part of an innocuous batch of media released earlier this week by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. At first glance, it appeared to be little more than concept art, until the eagle eyes over at Dualshockers noted that its file name read 'U4 Pack Art Final.jpg.' That would seem like fairly definitive evidence that it will grace the game's cover, but things can always change in the run-up to release.
However, at this point it's difficult to know just how long is left until the game hits shelves. While fans had expected to see more of the Uncharted series after its third entry released in 2011, development of The Last of Us meant that little was heard regarding a follow-up until November 2013 — and, even then, the game was only hinted at by a brief teaser trailer.
Then, in 2014, it seemed that the game had hit a further stumbling block. Series writer Amy Hennig left Naughty Dog, and shortly afterwards she was followed by the game's director, Justin Richmond. Rumors and speculation soon began to circulate, but ultimately the departures didn't seem to indicate bigger problems, even if they would inevitably slow progress on the game.
The directors of the hugely successful The Last of Us were brought on board the project, and development resumed. Later that year, the game was given an official unveiling at Sony's E3 conference, with its subtitle begin revealed alongside a release date of 2015. Since then, we've seen a steady flow of gameplay footage and interviews about development, but nowhere near the amount of hype you would expect from such a big title.
However, there may well be a very good reason for this. Next month will see the release of The Order: 1886, a game that has more than a passing resemblance to the third-person action adventure of the Uncharted series. With high hopes for the untested franchise going on to become a big hit, it would be wise to keep a lid on Uncharted until The Order is out in the wild.
If Uncharted 4 is to release this year, expect a major step up in pre-release marketing once The Order is on store shelves. The release of seemingly legitimate box art suggests that the game isn't too far off — stay tuned to Game Rant for all the developments as they happen.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is set to release for the PlayStation 4 in 2015.