More details on Uncharted 3 were officially unveiled at The VGAs last weekend but information is – understandably – scant right now. So I thought I’d do a little digging into previous interviews with Naughty Dog to see what juicy tidbits we could potentially glean from them about the upcoming game. The results were surprising and at Midlife Gamer, we think we can make some educated guesses as to what to expect from the highly anticipated upcoming instalment of this Sony exclusive franchise, including an entire co-op campaign, only minor graphical improvements and why Sullivan could well be the title’s central foil.
Typically, Naughty Dog series – Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter and of course Uncharted – work as follows: a light and frothy, supremely imaginative first title that begins the implementation of the basics of play. A follow up that refines these same elements, improves the visuals significantly and experiments with new mechanics. Followed up by a third that looks marginally better, further extrapolates on features from the second and largely doesn’t alter the already rock solid formula too greatly. We can assume then that there won’t be anything brand spanking new in Drake’s Deception, but the co-op and multiplayer that was introduced in Among Thieves will be much more fleshed out, perhaps even to the extent of having a whole story campaign entirely playable in multiplayer.
We can also theorise that the game will be running on a modified version of the Naughty Dog Game Engine 2.0, which was practically confirmed by Evan Wells in this interview with Joystiq. When asked about lessons taken away from Drake’s Fortune he responded: “Certainly rewriting the engine from scratch and rewriting the tools from scratch was something that I never really want to repeat again”. This means that when we do see a good portion of the game being played, it’s unlikely to be vastly superior visually.
This is further backed up by a claim in another interview with Evan Wells (this time with G4TV), that “we made a very big advancement between the first game and the second game… The first game, [the game engine pipeline] was idle about 70% of the time, which we rectified for the sequel, and now it’s at least busy 100% of the time”. He goes on to hint that the third instalment could be incrementally better however “[Uncharted 3 is] still not fully-optimized code”.
It’s also more than likely – according to this Gamingbolt interview – that there is a “big” chance UC3 won’t be the final game in the seies. The titles have always tended to be discreet, individual stories with thin narrative threads linking each adventure, so while there may be the odd wink and a nod to long-standing fans, it seems that enemies from the previous two outings won’t be making a comeback (we’re looking at you Blue Dudes). Yet official word is that the relationship between Sully and Drake will be explored in more depth than 2009′s release, as they trek onwards to find what T.E. Lawrence called “The Atlantis Of The Sands”: Iram, a semi-mystical city that was fabled to have amassed a large amount of wealth in its heydey.
The PlayStation blog is also very careful in its use of language when describing Drake’s new adventure and the part in which others play: “But when terrible secrets of this lost city are uncovered, their journey becomes a desperate bid for survival that will force Drake to confront his deepest fears”. Notice the difference between the beginning of the sentence and the end. “their journey” and “his deepest fears”. Could Victor Sullivan, a fatherly figure to Drake, be a wolf in sheep’s clothing? And just what was he upto during the events of Uncharted 2 anyway?
This is all speculation of course and we’ll have to wait until next year to find out the truth, but all these predictions have got us excited for November the 1st.