Following a four-year break from the Uncharted series and coming off the success of The Last of Us, Naughty Dog is returning to the adventures of thrill-seeking treasure hunter Nathan Drake, who is now a little older and wearier and ready to embark on one last mission with the help of his long-lost brother, Sam Drake (voiced by Troy Baker). Releasing exclusively on PS4, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is Naughty Dog's first real opportunity to show off what the studio can be when developing games for a new-gen console.
We've already gotten unhealthily close to Nathan Drake in a rather fascinating hour-long panel that details exactly how every wrinkle and fold in the character's older persona was painstakingly created for Uncharted 4, so now it's time to pull back a little and take a look at the environments that the new-and-improved Nate will be exploring.
New details about Uncharted 4's traversal mechanics - and how they factor into the game's combat - have been unearthed in a Game Informer interview with co-lead designer Ricky Cambier. The full interview is definitely worth a watch as it marries Cambier's description of the game mechanics with footage from the gameplay demo that shows them off, but the biggest takeaway may be that Uncharted 4 will apparently avoid corridors and linear pathways in favor of more open level design with multiple avenues of approach.
"I think our goal with the layouts in some of these spaces is that there's not that golden path.You turn this corner, you're going to find something surprising. Or maybe this way you're going to use your pitons; the mixup of your different tools. There might be a shimmy ledge this way, there might be things that break this way; so every path has that action, that tempo that you want.
"Because you want to go bigger in this jungle layout that we have. You can see just all the avenues that Drake has; these new tools. You give the player a tool like the grappling hook. Then you realize how much space you need to fulfill that and how far you can go. How you design a space that has that size and that epicness, but is still understandable, digestible."
Grappling hooks have been used many times in video games before, most recently in Ubisoft's open world game Far Cry 4, but it looks like Naughty Dog has put considerable effort into expanding the series' climbing mechanics in Uncharted 4. For example, not many games that feature grappling hooks also feature the pitons that Nate is shown using to conquer a tricky wall.
Uncharted 4 directors Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann have both talked in the past about how the experience of making The Last of Us has had a significant impact on the way that they've tackled Uncharted 4, and it will be interesting to keep an eye out for signs of cross-pollination in the game mechanics and level design of Nathan Drake's next outing.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End releases in 2015 exclusively for PS4.
Source: Game Informer