The well-loved Uncharted franchise is set to take on new territory in its upcoming installment, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Not only does the title venture in a different narrative direction — placing fan-favorite hero Nathan Drake on the shelf to pluck down treasure hunter Chloe Frazer and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End antagonist Nadine Ross — the game also features new areas to adventure through.
Speaking with DualShockers, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Creative Director Shaun Escayg spoke about the title’s main environment, revealing that the map is much larger than the Madagascar area in the last Uncharted game.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy takes place in the Western Ghats, a real-life mountain range in India that runs parallel to the western coast of the country’s peninsula, beginning at in the north of Mumbai. Though the Ghats aren’t as tall as, say, the Himalayas, they are vast.
Escayg stated that this expansiveness carries over into the game. When asked to compare the size of the Western Ghats to Uncharted 4‘s Madagascar, Escayg revealed that the Lost Legacy map is “significantly bigger than Madagascar.”
When contrasted against the Madagascar area from the most recent Uncharted game, the Western Ghats also seem more open, offering players a ton of freedom to roam. Escayg explained that exploration is an extremely important factor in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and the mega-sized Western Ghats map provides an opportunity to do so, as it comes packed with puzzles, shrines, intriguing cities, and more.
“Exploration and trying to bring that sense of and wonder in the game are super-important for me. We also brought back scale from Uncharted 2 and 3, and we have giant set-pieces to create this feel that around every corner you can find something new, discover new cities, shrines,” Escayg said. “It was a big deal for me to bring that back to the franchise, since I feel that the earlier games of the series did that really successfully. Also with the puzzles, we have integrated those to open new access points and create different spaces for you to find new stuff. Discovery and exploration are a huge part of this game.”
Escayg’s comments about the massive size and scope of the Western Ghats echo previous remarks made by the game’s designer. Earlier this year, designer James Cooper revealed that the Ghats area would be larger than Uncharted 4’s Madagascar — and the largest level in Uncharted history. Game director Kurt Margenau added: “The rural Western Ghats [area] allows us to get a true sense of exploration, unlike anything we’ve done before where the level design isn’t directing you exactly where to go.”
A wider, more open map is a bit of a departure from Uncharted games in the past, which often pigeon-holed players into linear missions without many chances to explore the world around them. Those games in question, however, were still critically revered for their overall gameplay experience, but a slight deviation from the norm should be nice for most Uncharted fans.
Beyond the ultra-large Western Ghats map, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy also features two new central protagonists in Chloe and Nadine. With Nathan Drake bookmarked for now, and with a newfound emphasis on exploration, the latest Uncharted title seems to have the trappings to make it feel fresh, despite being the fifth Naughty Dog-developed installment in the series.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is slated to release for PlayStation 4 on August 22, and on August 23 for European players.