Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann, co-director of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, touches on the emotions surrounding the studio’s end to the long-running franchise.
When speaking with Official PlayStation Magazine about Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, the action title’s co-director Neil Druckmann made it clear that the Nathan Drake games are a hallmark for Naughty Dog, and that ending the series is bittersweet, saying, “We get more and more that feeling of this definitely [being] the end of an era for us as a studio.” Druckmann went on to reminisce about the early stages of development for Uncharted 4, saying:
“We’ve been with this franchise for almost ten years now from inception all the way to this point. Luckily, we don’t get too much time to dwell on that feeling because we’re so busy, but every once in a while…you know? I remember when Bruce [Straley] and I came onto the project. A few weeks later we pitched a pretty new story to the team, kind of like a new direction for the project. A lot of things were pretty rough and just slotted in, so there was an ending but it wasn’t as well defined, and at some point we defined more of the [plot] thread and a more definitive ending, and we did a second pitch for the team.”
The mere mention of ideas for ending Nathan Drake and company’s tale was a tough conversation for Naughty Dog’s developers to have. As a matter of fact, in order to do the story justice and make it more satisfying for creators and fans alike, the studio delayed the release date to nail the ending. Furthermore, not only were folks wistful during the planning phases, but they also got misty-eyed during motion capture sessions, as Druckmann says:
“You could tell people in the room were just getting emotional as we were discussing the specifics of how this series is going to end. That was one of those moments where you felt the excitement and anticipation for our fans to experience this, but a little bit of sadness because it’s ending. The other day we finished motion capture with Emily Rose (Elena) and Richard McGonagle (Sully), and some people got teary-eyed in the room because they’ve been part of this project for many, many years now and it’s wrapping up.”
While the end of the Uncharted series is understandably a tearful affair for all who worked on building the franchise into the cultural phenomenon it is today, those who contributed to its creation can at least walk away knowing that they made something special with one another. Moreover, it should be noted that the team and talent attached to the games have proved their mettle, and their future in the gaming industry will surely thrive, as the thrill of another exciting project certainly looms on the horizon for each individual involved.
Considering Mr. Druckmann’s next move, there’s no telling what enterprise the co-director will tackle after Uncharted 4‘s release. However, it’s highly likely that he’ll give The Last of Us 2 a go, especially since the BAFTA-winning writer has previously confirmed that he has preliminary concepts in mind for a sequel to survival-horror title. Nevertheless, there’s always the possibility—albeit a tremendously slim one—that Valve could give up the ghost on ever producing Half Life 3 and sell the Half Life license to Naughty Dog so that Druckmann can make it, as he joked a while back.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is set to release on March 18, 2016, exclusively for PlayStation 4.