Uncharted 4 director Neil Druckmann reveals that the story for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End changed 100% when he and co-director Bruce Straley came onboard.
Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley are no strangers to the Uncharted franchise. The pair had worked on the first two titles of the series, and they returned to the fold in June 2014 to finish things up with the series-concluding Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Evidently there were some creative differences with the writing team that had headed the helm since the original due left to direct The Last Of Us, because Druckmann and Straley ended up scrapping everything that had been done to the title before their arrival.
Uncharted 4 was originally being directed by Justin Richmond and Amy Hennig, who went on to work for Riot and Visceral Games respectively in early 2014, after their careers with Naughty Dog came to an abrupt halt. These career change-ups didn't come without drama, with plenty of reports stating that Hennig was 'forced out' of her post by the new directors, though this was officially denied by Naughty Dog itself.
In any event, Druckmann recently revealed during an interview that the story changed "100%" when he and Straley rejoined the studio to direct the game. This was corroborated by voice actor Nolan North, who provides the voice of Nathan Drake himself. According to Nolan, the development team had completed almost a year's worth of work crafting Amy Hennig's vision, all of which was scrapped with the change of creative leadership in 2014:
[The development team] shot eight months of her story and it was all thrown away. Amy is still a very dear friend of mine and she's brilliant. But the Last of Us guys were the next team there, so they took over and they just wanted their own flavor. They got rid of some of the other people that were involved and just redid their thing.
This would certainly explain why Uncharted 4 was delayed until 2016, as the development team had to scrap the majority of the assets which weren't needed for Drukmann and Straley's vision. While it's clear that Druckmann and Straley are talented directors, one wonders if the original vision from Richmond and Hennig will ever come to light, à la the scrapped Saints Row game from Volition.
Uncharted 4's development cycle has evidently been a bumpy road (even one of the voice actors left shortly after Amy and Justin jumped ship, and was later replaced by Troy Baker), but the game is edging ever closer to completion, and is finally slated to release this April.
Nathan Drake's closing story will reveal a brand new villain to the popular franchise, and we imagine the supposedly final portion of Nathan's storyline will go out with a bang.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is poised to release on April 26th, exclusively for the PlayStation 4.