Sony’s Uncharted returns
Naughty Dog’s Kurt Margenau and James Cooper discuss The Lost Legacy
The next chapter in Sony’s acclaimed Uncharted franchise is here! To shed insight into what PlayStation fans can expect in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, I had the chance to interview Naughty Dog’s Kurt Margenau (Game Director) and James Cooper (Lead Designer). Read on to learn all about the game!
Paul: Last year at the PlayStation Experience we had the big reveal of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which was an exciting moment for all of us. Then at E3 we had a new gameplay trailer showing us Chloe and Nadine in action. Given what we’ve seen already, how would you describe this game to your fans?
James: It’s a brand new game in the Uncharted franchise. We have an entirely new protagonist for the first time in the form of Chloe Frazer. She’s a fan-favourite character who appeared in previous Uncharted games. We’re teaming her up with Nadine Ross, another returning character who we really felt we wanted to dig into more and give her more screen time. Pairing her up with Chloe seemed like a very exciting match.
These two are going up against Asav, who’s the main antagonist in the game. All three of them are looking for the Tusk of Ganesh. It’s an artifact hidden somewhere in the Western Ghats region of India. That’s really where we begin our adventure in The Lost Legacy.
Paul: Let’s talk about the relationship between Chloe and Nadine. From the trailers it seems like it’s not really the typical partnership you’d see in the franchise. It’s not a Nathan and Sully buddy-buddy type friendship, nor a familial one like Nate and Sam. It seems a bit more volatile.
Kurt: Their relationship was the whole core of why we chose these characters, and why we made this game. Like you said, it’s something completely different for us. We’re taking these two characters that have self-preservationist mentalities and putting them together. As you’ve seen with Chloe in Uncharted 2 & 3, she’s morally ambiguous and will flip sides to whatever suits her.
Then there’s Nadine who has that last laugh in Uncharted 4. So we wanted to see: could these two characters work together? What would the relationship be like? We thought it’d be a lot of fun to see the contentiousness of how they try to work together. The whole idea behind the game was to see that relationship and how it works. Can each of them achieve their goal of why they’re after this Tusk? Can they grow and change in any way?
Paul: From what we’ve seen so far too, it looks like the fallout of this uneasy alliance spills over into the gameplay as well? Am I imagining things or does that really happen?
Kurt: We always try to represent the relationships as real as possible, in gameplay or on-the-stick as we call it. So the way they fight, in terms of helping each other out, is determined by their relationship in the moment. All their different reactions, interactions, or in-actions can affect how they work together.
Take the open-world space early on in the game, it’s the largest space we’ve ever made. There are so many different interactions, branches of dialogue, and things that can happen there, based on where you go and what you do. Their relationship still grows and builds in a traditional linear way, but we try to represents the nuances during gameplay. We didn’t want it all to happen just in the cutscenes.
Paul: What I find interesting about these characters is where they start from. I mean, Nadine was a major antagonist of the previous game. Even Chloe seems like she’s been out for herself from the beginning. Given this, are we going to be seeing other sides of these characters? Perhaps softer sides we’ve never seen before?
James: There’s definitely going to be those moments of tension, and then those moments where they’re getting along better together. It’s really the nature of their arcs and stories, and how their relationship builds and folds. It’s really critical and central to the story we’re telling in The Lost Legacy. I think players will enjoy how that’s represented in-game, and the different experiences they have depending on the choices they make.
Paul: Since we’ve talked so much about story thus far, for frame of reference, where in the Uncharted timeline does this adventure take place?
Kurt: It takes place after Uncharted 4, we don’t explicitly state when, it’s just after. Nadine has lost Shoreline (her paramilitary organization) because of the events of Uncharted 4. But I can tell you it takes place roughly a year after the previous game.
Paul: What about players who might not have played previous Uncharted games, is this a self-contained story that new players can start out on?
James: So throughout development we’ve been running focus tests within the studio to try and answer that exact question. Naturally with these types of stories we try to make them as accessible as possible for newcomers and Uncharted fans alike.
We got some really great feedback from players during these tests, including those who were playing their very first Uncharted game. Because this is a new chapter in the Uncharted series, we found it was easier for newcomers to pick it up. It’s a new story, with new protagonists, so they don’t need to familiarize themselves with Nathan Drake first. With that said, the players who went through the previous Uncharted games already knew Chloe, knew Nadine, and they got a lot out of it as well.
Paul: As I understand it, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy contains a multiplayer mode, which is the same that was included in Uncharted 4. So will it support cross-play between the two games and how does it work?
Kurt: Everything we’ve announced or released for Uncharted 4 multiplayer, including Arena mode and the new Survival Arena mode, are all included on-disc. And yeah, you can play across games. So if your friend has Uncharted 4 and you have The Lost Legacy, it’s all the same player pool.
James: It’s worth pointing out that although we shipped Uncharted 4 over a year ago, the multiplayer team has continued to work on it for all of the time since. They’ve been adding to it, and it’s really become its own experience.
Paul: Sounds like a lot of fun and I can’t wait to check out the new Survival Arena mode. Thanks much for your time guys, I’m really looking forward to playing more of the game!
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is available now on PlayStation 4.