While sales of the PS4 are doing just fine as they are, Naughty Dog's upcoming exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief's End was going to be a huge reason for consumers to buy Sony's console this year. Not just because Uncharted's protagonist Nathan Drake is one of the most well-known faces in gaming but in pre-release gameplay footage, A Thief's End has done a good job of showing off what the PS4 is capable of.
But despite Uncharted 4 being one of the most high profile exclusives to come to the console, development on the title has been anything but smooth. In the past 12 months, the Uncharted 4 development team lost some of its key, creative talent. First, Lead Designer Richard Lemarchand left to become a professor at USC, then Creative Director Amy Hennig left to work on a Star Wars game at Visceral and then Game Director Justin Richmond left for Riot (the developer of League of Legends) shortly after. And then on top of this, Todd Stashwick (who was going to play Nathan's brother Sam in the game) left and and Art Director Nate Wells followed him out the door.
While there has been speculation that Naughty Dog has become a hostile place to work (there were rumors at the time that Hennig was pushed out; which Sony and Naughty Dog refuted) this is unconfirmed. It does come as little surprise, however, that Uncharted 4 has now been delayed into spring 2016 and will not make its initial 'late 2015' release date.
Naughty Dog's directors Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann explained the delay on the PlayStation Blog, saying that "it’s become clear to us that this game is much more ambitious than we originally envisioned":
"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.
Thank you for your patience – we know the extra wait will be excruciating, but you’ll see it will be worth it as we reveal more about Uncharted 4 over the next year. The team at Naughty Dog will be heads down working through 2015 making sure that Nathan Drake’s story gets the closure it deserves. Come Spring 2016, you and Nate are in for one thrilling, emotional ride."
While the delay is certainly disappointing for PlayStation fans, it does make sense. Beyond just solid visuals - the developer is pushing for 60FPS and 1080p - Naughty Dog has said Uncharted 4 will have bigger environments, gameplay will be less linear and far more open-ended and the game will feature multiplayer and an AI companion in the form of Sam Drake.
There's a lot of weight on Naughty Dog's shoulders then to make sure the game is high quality – even more so as Nathan Drake actor Nolan North reckons Uncharted 4 will be the last game – but the delay doesn't appear to be something they're taking lightly. Hopefully the wait will be worth it once the game is released in spring 2016.
Are you disappointed that Uncharted 4 has been delayed? Do you think the extra time in the oven will pay off?
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End releases in spring 2016 exclusively for PS4.
Source: PlayStation Blog