Naughty Dog's lead game designer explains why Uncharted 4 will be Nathan Drake's final adventure, and why the developer is excited to move on to something new.
Since Uncharted 4 was announced and the game's subtitle, A Thief's End, etched itself onto the screen, fans have speculated that it would be the last in the series. Then Naughty Dog made it official, confirming that Nathan Drake's fourth adventure would be his swan song.
This weekend at PlayStation Experience, lead game designer, Robert Cogburn spoke to Kotaku about why Uncharted 4 will be the beloved franchise's final entry. The first reason, says Cogburn, is because the game is grounded in the realistic world, and that makes it harder to continue doing new things with the series without pushing it too far into fantasy or making it too unrealistic.
"These games are hard to make. Particularly with a character like Nathan Drake in a world that’s fairly grounded, it’s a challenge to consider how much more we can expand the universe while adhering to those sorts of rules.”
Cogburn also said that being four games in with this universe, Naughty Dog wants to move on and challenge themselves in new ways, outside of the rules of Uncharted.
“You struggle with having to answer the same questions over and over again in any franchise. This is gonna be the fourth time we start answering stuff like, ‘How do we make hand-grabs visible? What do we do to scale the combat experience? What are the interesting puzzles we can be introducing in the moment-to-moment as the player’s experiencing this narrative?’ That’s not to say the questions will be the same in games we make going forward, but as a studio we grow tired of answering those same types of questions in the same fiction. It’s gonna be fun for us to really embark on new ideas and start fleshing those out [in a new series].”
When asked if The Last of Us was a test to see if Naughty Dog could be successful with something other than Uncharted, Cogburn said that may play a part in the developer's willingness to move on, but that wasn't the purpose of the game. He said that the success of The Last of Us definitely showed the studio that they are "doing things right."
As for what's next for Naughty Dog, they haven't announced anything just yet. However, the developer accidentally let slip recently that The Last of Us 2 is likely in the works. Uncharted 4's Creative Director Neil Druckmann has also said in the past that Naughty Dog has brainstormed many AAA projects the size of Uncharted, but the last time the developers mentioned it, those ideas were in the very early stages of pre-production.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will release March 18, 2016 exclusively on PlayStation 4.
How do you feel about Uncharted 4 being the last entry in the series?