|Uncharted: Drake's Fortune|
The North American cover.
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Designer(s)||Amy Hennig (director)|
|Engine||Naughty Dog Game Engine|
|Release date(s)||NA November 19, 2007|
JP December 6, 2007
AUS December 6, 2007
EU December 7, 2007
PSN June 27, 2012
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, third-person shooter|
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is an action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation 3. Combining platforming and third-person shooter elements, the game charts the journey of protagonist Nathan Drake, supposed descendant of the explorer Francis Drake, as he seeks the lost treasure of El Dorado, with the help of journalist Elena Fisher and friend and mentor Victor "Sully" Sullivan.
Originally announced at E3 2006, the title was developed for about two years before being released at the end of 2007. Seen as a key title for the PlayStation 3 during the holiday season of 2007, the game was well received by critics, many of whom cited its technical achievements and its high production values, similar to that of summer blockbuster films. The game went on to sell more than one million copies in ten weeks and was republished as a SCEE Platinum version on August 1, 2008 (about 9 months post release) and as a US Greatest Hits on August 17, 2009 (just over 1 year, 9 months post-release). On October 13, 2009, a sequel to the game was released, titled Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. A second sequel was released in November 2011 entitled Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.
Gameplay in Uncharted is a combination of three-dimensional platforming and third-person shooter gameplay elements. Platforming elements allow Drake to jump, swim, grab and move along ledges, climb and swing from ropes, and perform other acrobatic actions that allow players to traverse along the ruins in the various areas of the island that Drake explores.
The game also features reward points, which can be gained by collecting 60 hidden treasures in the game that glimmer momentarily and by completing certain accomplishments, such as achieving a number of kills using a specific weapon, performing a number of headshots, or using specific methods of killing enemies. In subsequent playthroughs of the game, the player can use these rewards points to unlock special options; these include in-game bonuses such as alternate costumes and unlimited ammunition but also non-game extras, such as making-of videos and concept art.
Regardless of which regional version is purchased, the game is censored when playing on a Japanese console to remove blood, which normally appears when shooting enemies.
For a more detailed plot outline, see the "Plot synopsis" sections in each individual chapter article, listed here.
Finding the coffinEdit
The game opens with Nathan "Nate" Drake (Nolan North) recovering Francis Drake's Coffin, which was buried at sea. He is assisted by journalist Elena Fisher (Emily Rose), there to record the events for a documentary. The coffin is empty, except for a diary written by Sir Francis Drake, whom Nate believes to be his ancestor. Proving that Drake had faked his death, the diary points to the location of El Dorado, the fabled city of gold. Nate and Elena are then ambushed by a band of pirates and their boat is destroyed. They are rescued by Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Richard McGonagle), Nate's best friend and one-time mentor, in his seaplane.
The Search for El DoradoEdit
At shore, Nate details Sully on his findings, and they decide upon leaving Elena behind after fearing that her publishing the documentary would attract rivals. They travel to a region in the Amazon Rainforest, where they find ruins of an ancient South American civilization, and clues that suggest El Dorado is a large gold statue, that was removed long ago. Angered, Sully reveals to Nate that he is in debt, and was particularly relying on this job. Searching further, Nate and Sully discover a long-abandoned German U-Boat stuck in the Amazon River. Nate gives Sully the diary to hold on to while he investigates. Nate discovers its dead crew, a missing page from Sir Francis Drake's diary and a map that points to a southern tropic island, where the statue was likely taken.
Before they can leave, Nate and Sully are accosted by Gabriel Roman (Simon Templeman), a competitive treasure hunter who has hired the services of mercenaries led by Atoq Navarro (Robin Atkin Downes), Roman's lieutenant and an archaeologist with extensive knowledge of the region and the statue itself. It's revealed that Sully's debt is with Roman, and he had promised Roman to pay him off with the fortune from El Dorado. However, Roman chose to follow up on Sully's information and find the treasure himself. They take the map from Nate and prepare to kill him, but Sully tries to intervene and is shot instead. Suddenly, the U-Boat explodes, the result of a torpedo Nate accidentally triggered. He uses the distraction to flee, and runs into Elena, who had followed them from the dock. They manage to escape in Sully's plane to the island where the statue is believed to be.
Having been shot down near the island and separated, Nate travels to the wreckage of the plane, while combating the pirates that had ambushed him earlier. He retrieves a map and spots Elena's parachute hanging from a nearby fort. At the fort, Nate is captured by the pirates, revealed to be led by Eddy Raja (James Sie), one of his old rivals. Elena rescues Nate, and they escape the fort to a flooded city. The two find out through a log book in the customs house, that the statue was moved further inland. Elena records the supposedly dead Sully working with Roman and Navarro, causing her to believe he is a traitor. Nate is unconvinced and, heading north, they decide to follow him to the monastery. After confronting him, Sully explains that the diary Nate had given him blocked the bullet, and convinced Roman to let him help. In fact, Sully had been feeding them useless information to buy himself time.
Nate and Elena find a series of maze-like tunnels below the monastery. In these tunnels, Nate overhears an argument between Roman, Navarro, and Eddy. Roman hired Eddy to capture Nate and keep the island the secure, with the reward of a share of the gold of El Dorado. After Nate's escape, Roman doubts Eddy's abilities to do his job further and ignores his superstitious claim that something cursed on the island is killing his men; Roman dismisses Eddy and his crew.
Nate and Elena find a passage leading to a large treasure vault, in which they find the body of Drake, assuming that he died on the island searching for the treasure. Before they move on, they encounter Eddy running for his life, chased by mutated humans possessing incredible speed and strength. The creatures are the Spanish "Descendants", and Eddy is killed when one drags him into a pit. Nathan and Elena escape and find themselves in an abandoned German Bunker. Nate ventures out into the base to restore power to the bunker. Along the way, he discovers that the Germans had sought the statue during World War II but that, like the Spaniards before them, learned that the statue was cursed, which mutated them. Sir Francis, knowing of the statue's power, was actually trying to keep it on the island, by destroying the ships and flooding the city, before he too was killed by the mutants.
Nate attempts to return to Elena, but finds her captured by Roman and Navarro. He reunites with Sully outside of the monastery and tells him about the curse. Under the monastery, Nate and Sully are held at gunpoint and find that Roman has secured the statue. Navarro urges Roman to open it; inside is the Mummy of El Dorado. Roman inhales the dust from the rotting corpse and begins to mutate. Navarro shoots the mutating Roman, as he had planned all along to steal the statue and sell the mutagen as a biological weapon. The statue is lifted out by helicopter as the mercenaries are attacked by the Descendants.
Nate jumps onto the net the statue is suspended in, and is taken to a tanker ship nearby. They crash land after Elena kicks a mercenary out of the helicopter, whose M4 discharges killing the pilot. Nathan fights his way to the deck, killing numerous mercenaries. On the deck, Navarro and Nate fist fight until Nate knocks Navarro unconscious. As Nate pulls an injured Elena from the helicopter, Navarro regains consciousness and raises his gun, but Nate pushes the helicopter off the ship; the rope connecting the helicopter to the statue becoming tangled around his leg, plunging Navarro and the statue into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Elena returns Francis Drake's Ring that he had previously left at the corpse of Francis Drake, and she and Nate lean in to kiss when they are interrupted by Sully on a small speedboat, having escaped the island and killed several pirates, taking several boxes of treasure from them. Elena reminds Nate that because she lost her camera, he still owes her a story. As the boat sails towards the horizon, Nate assures her he will not break his promise.
After completing Jak 3, Naughty Dog assembled their most technically-talented staff members and began development of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune under the codename Big. It was in full production for about two years, with a small team of engineers working on the game for about a year before hand. Naughty Dog decided to create a brand new IP rather than opt to develop a PlayStation 3 Jak and Daxter game; they wanted to create a franchise suitable for the new hardware, in order to develop such ideas as realistic human characters instead of stylized ones owing to limitations of previous hardware, as well as create something "fresh and interesting", although termed as 'stylized realism'. Inspiration was drawn from various sources in the action and adventure genres: pulp magazines, movie serials, and more contemporary titles like Indiana Jones and National Treasure. The team felt the sources shared themes of mystery and "what-if scenarios" that romanticized adventure and aimed to include those in Uncharted.
The game was first unveiled at E3 2006. From early previews of the game, inevitable comparisons of elements such as platforming and shooting between Uncharted and the well-known Tomb Raider series were drawn, earning the title the nickname of "Dude Raider". However, the developers saw their game as concentrating more on third-person cover-based play, in contrast to Tomb Raider's "auto-aiming" play and greater puzzle-solving elements. Throughout the game's development the staff tried to remain flexible and detached from the original design concepts; attention was focused on the features that worked well, while features that did not work were removed. The development team intended the game's main setting, the island, to play a big role in the overall experience. Feeling too many games used bleak, dark settings with monochromatic color schemes, they wanted the island to be a vibrant, believable game world that immersed the player and encouraged exploration.
In designing the characters, the artists aimed for a style that was photorealistic. The creators envisaged the main protagonist, Nathan Drake, as more of an everyman character than Lara Croft, shown as clearly under stress in the game's many fire fights, with no special training and constantly living at the edge of his abilities. Director Amy Hennig felt a heavily-armored, "tough as nails" protagonist with a large weapon was not a suitable hero, and decided a "tenacious and resourceful" character would portray more human qualities. Supporting characters Elena Fisher and Victor Sullivan were included to avoid a dry and emotionless story. Fisher's character underwent changes during development; in early trailers for the game, the character had dark brown hair, but ultimately the color changed to blonde and the style was altered.
The game went gold in the middle of October, 2007. A demo was then released on November 8, 2007 on the PlayStation Network before its final release on November 19 in North America. The demo was first placed on the North American store, and was initially region-locked such that it would only play on a North American PS3. However, this was later confirmed as a mistake, as the developers were apparently unaware that people from different regions could sign up for a North American account and download the demo; a region-free demo was released soon after.
Graphics and technology Edit
Uncharted uses the Cell microprocessor to generate dozens of layered character animations to portray realistic expressions and fluid movements, which allow for responsive player control. The PlayStation 3's graphics processing unit employed several functions to provide graphical details that helped immerse the player into the game world: lighting models, pixel shaders, dynamic real-time shadowing, and advanced water simulation. The new hardware allowed for processes which the team had never used in PlayStation 2 game development and required them to quickly familiarize with the new techniques; for example, parallel processing and pixel shaders. While the Blu-ray technology afforded greater storage space, the team became concerned with running out of room several times—Uncharted used more and bigger textures than previous games, and included several languages on the disc. Gameplay elements requiring motion sensing, such as throwing grenades and walking across beams, were implemented to take advantage of the Sixaxis controller. A new PlayStation 3 controller, the DualShock 3, was unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, and featured force feedback vibration. Uncharted was also on display at the show with demonstrations that implemented limited vibration compatibility.
Being Naughty Dog's first PlayStation 3 game, the project required the company to familiarize themselves with the new hardware, and resulted in several development mistakes. The switch from developing for the PlayStation 2 to the PlayStation 3 prompted the staff to implement changes to their development technology. Naughty Dog switched to the industry standard language C++ in order to participate in technology sharing among Sony's first-party developers; the company had previously used their own proprietary programming language GOAL, a Lisp-based language. In rewriting their game code, they decided to create new programming tools as well. This switch, however, delayed the team's progress in developing a prototype, as the new tools proved to be unreliable and too difficult to use. Ten months into full production, the team decided to recreate the game's pipeline, the chain of processing elements designed to progress data through a system. In retrospect, Naughty Dog's Co-President Evan Wells considered this the greatest improvement to the project. Additionally, the animation blending system was rewritten several times to obtain the desired character animations.
Trophies and Home integration Edit
The game was patched on August 4, 2008 in Europe and North America to version 1.01 to include support for the PlayStation 3's Trophy system. There are forty-seven trophies in the game that match the medals that can already be won in the game and one further trophy, the Platinum trophy, awarded when all other trophies have been collected; Uncharted was the first PlayStation 3 game to include the Platinum trophy type. Similar to other PlayStation 3 titles that receive trophy support via downloaded patches, players must start a new save game to be awarded trophies, regardless of how many medals they received in previous playthroughs. This was enforced because the developers wanted to avoid the sharing of save data in order to gain trophies they did not earn. The patch was described as "incredibly easy" to implement, owing to the game already containing preliminary support for Trophies via its Medals system; it was also stated that these hooks were already included due to Naughty Dog's belief that Sony would roll out the Trophy system before the game's launch in November 2007. Despite mentioning that the game was developed as a franchise and that it lent itself to episodic content, it was later stated that no content available via download would be made for Uncharted. However, the game will integrate with PlayStation Home, and the developers will support Home with additional content. Nearly all the trophies are achievable in a single playthrough
Arne Meyer: You'll be able to get up to 48 Trophies in Uncharted. There are 47 Trophies related to what you do in the game -- finding treasures, hand-to-hand or gun combat and the like -- and the last one is the Platinum Trophy for getting all the other Trophies.
Future titles Edit
Shortly after the release of the game, Naughty Dog's co-president, Evan Wells, stated that Uncharted had been developed as a franchise, and so a sequel was likely. It was later confirmed that the development team had put their work on the next installment of Jak and Daxter on-hold to work on Uncharted 2 for release in 2009. This sequel was revealed to be entitled Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in December, 2008 by Game Informer, and was rated a 10 out of 10 in a later issue of Game Informer upon its release.
An Uncharted Dual Pack containing both Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was also released on September 6, 2011 in North America.
Film adaptation Edit
PlayStation Home Edit
Naughty Dog has released an Uncharted space for the PlayStation 3's online community-based service, PlayStation Home. This space is Sully's Bar from the game. In this space user's can play an arcade mini-game called "Mercenary Madness". There are also three other rooms in this space: Artifact Room, Archives, and Smuggler's Den. There is an artifact viewer in the Archives room and the Smuggler's Den room. Also in the Archives room there is a video screen that previews Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The Artifact Room only features seating and different artifacts to look at. This space is currently only available to the users of the North American version of PlayStation Home and was released on December 11, 2008.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was well received by game critics. Prior to its release, it was expected to be a commercial success and garnered praise from the media. Game Informer complimented the visuals and dialogue between the characters Drake and Fisher, calling them stunning and entertaining respectively. They further added that the production values appeared high, citing the level of detail and musical score. PlayStation Magazine echoed similar statements about the visuals and compared them to that of Crysis.
The overall presentation of the game received unanimous praise from critics, who recognized the game's high production values, describing them as "top-notch", "incredible" or comparing them to those found in Hollywood. When combined with the overall style of the game, this led many reviewers to compare Uncharted to summer blockbuster films, with the action and theme of the game drawing comparisons to the Indiana Jones film series. As part of the presentation, the game's story and atmosphere were also received well. The depth of the characters was praised, each having "their own tone". The voice acting was also received well, as the cast "nails its characterizations"; overall, the voice acting was described as a "big-star performance", "superb" and "stellar".
The technical achievements in creating this presentation were also lauded. The graphics and visuals were a big part of this, including appreciation of the "lush" jungle environments, with lighting effects greatly adding to them. The game's water effects were also appreciated. Overall, many reviewers commented that, at the time, it was one of the best-looking PlayStation 3 games available. Further to the graphical aspects, both facial animation and the animation of characters, such as Nate's "fluid" animations as he performs platforming sections were noted, although the wilder animations of enemies reacting to being shot were over-animated "to perhaps a laughable degree".
Criticism of the game included some graphical issues, such as texture pop-in and screen tearing. Of more concern were gameplay issues, including overall gameplay length being rather short, with reviewers completing the game in anywhere from six to ten hours, and some disappointment with the "not particularly memorable" vehicle sections; the inability to both fire weapons and drive the jet ski was a well-noted issue. Further, some "frustrating, repetitive slogs" with regards to the "constant stream" of pirates and mercenaries, and "moving from one infuriating firefight to the next" towards the end of the game were cited as part of poorer elements of overall gameplay.
Uncharted received several accolades from web review sites such as Kotaku and IGN, who named it their PlayStation 3 game of the year. The game went on to sell one million copies after its first ten weeks of retail, and later became one of the first batch of titles to be released as part of Europe's budget Platinum range of best-selling titles.
Sony announced at E3 2009 that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune has sold over 2.6 million copies worldwide and was a hit for the PlayStation 3. It became one of the major exclusive franchises of the console, much like former Naughty Dog series with former hardwares by Sony.
- The E3 2006 trailer showed Nate using a melee weapon while dealing with two opponents at once, something which could not be performed in-game. However, fighting multiple enemies using contextual melee combat and the environment is a feature now present in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.
- The history of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is set in 2006.
- A CGI promotional advert was made for showing extra footage not seen in the game.
- Nathan and Elena's interrupted kiss is similar to Jak and Keira's interrupted kiss in the first two Jak and Daxter games, which were also made by Naughty Dog.
- Both Nathan and Elena wear wetsuits made by the fictional company "Ottsel." This is a reference to the character Daxter (who is transformed into a hybrid otter-weasel creature) from the Jak and Daxter games.
- This is only Uncharted game to feature a minor number of character in the series.
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