Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End game director Neil Druckmann reveals how one of the game’s focus testers was asked to leave due to expressing sexist opinions.
With Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End releasing to critical acclaim and unprecedented sales success for the franchise, game director Neil Druckmann is probably feeling pretty accomplished. However, despite the success of Uncharted 4, the game’s development wasn’t always smooth sailing, with Druckmann recalling sexist focus testers that were upset about some creative decisions Naughty Dog made with the game.
To reveal what Druckmann had to say about the sexist focus testers, we must discuss Uncharted 4‘s ending, and a couple of other key scenes from the game. So, anyone that hasn’t had the opportunity to play through Uncharted 4 yet should turn away, as this article will contain spoilers, but those that have already finished Nathan Drake’s last adventure can read on.
“When I’m introducing and describing a new character to our lead character concept artist, constantly she will ask, ‘What if it was a girl?’ And I’m like, Oh, I didn’t think about that. Let me think, does that affect or change anything? No? Cool, that’s different. Yeah, let’s do it.”
This type of creative decision making resulted in some characters that were originally written as males to be changed to females during the game’s development. For example, during the part of the game where Nate and his brother Sam Drake break into a mansion, the old woman they meet there used to be an old man.
Another character that was gender-swapped before the game was finished was the offspring of Nathan and Elena that players control in Uncharted 4‘s epilogue. Originally, this character was Nate and Elena’s son instead of their daughter.
These decisions upset some focus testers, as did a scene from the game where antagonist Nadine is able to defeat the Drake brothers in a fight. It’s worth noting that while Nathan is a capable fighter, Nadine is presented as being in a class of her own, and so it makes sense for her to be able to defeat Nathan and Sam in hand-to-hand combat.
Apparently, one focus tester was especially upset at Uncharted 4 having strong female characters, to the point where Naughty Dog had to ask him to leave. According to Druckmann, this particular focus tester said, “Not you, too, Naughty Dog! Goddammit. I guess I’m done with Uncharted if you guys ever make another one, with his daughter. This f***ing bulls***.”
While it’s unfortunate that some of Uncharted 4‘s focus testers were sexist, it seems like, in general, people are fine with Naughty Dog’s decisions. Characters are tweaked during the creative process all the time, and Naughty Dog is allowed to make the game it wants. Overall, fans are probably happy that Naughty Dog didn’t allow its vision to be altered by the complaints of sexist focus testers.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is available now, exclusively for PlayStation 4.