Everything we know so far about Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was revealed at the tail end of 2013 and since then developer Naughty Dog and publisher Sony have been drip-feeding us with tiny tidbits of information.
It’s set to launch some time in 2015 exclusively for PS4, but we currently don’t know a precise release date for the game.
The last game in the series, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception was released back in 2011, so we’ve been waiting over four years for the continuation of Drake’s story.
Hopefully we won’t have much longer to wait.
This is the place to get all the latest news and details on Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, the next instalment of the hugely successful series, so keep it bookmarked.
Uncharted 4 – Release Date
At E3 2014, Sony confirmed Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will arrive exclusively for the PS4 at some point in 2015, with the news provided in a special trailer for the game that you can see below.
"We have great news for all our Uncharted fans – Amy, Justin and the team are hard at work on an amazing new instalment of the Uncharted series to be released exclusively on the PlayStation 4 system,” said Naughty Dog Community Strategist, Arne Meyer at the original trailer launch back in November 2013.
“Our goal is to continue what we’ve done in previous console generations and once again deliver the best in storytelling, performance capture, technical innovation and graphics on the PS4. We can confirm that the voiceover is performed by Todd Stashwick and he will play a character in the game.”
Since the game was announced, Uncharted 4 writer Amy Hennig has left Naughty Dog after working on the Uncharted series for over a decade. The Last of Us developer has since confirmed that her departure will not affect work on Uncharted 4.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Story
At the end of Uncharted 3, we see Drake and Elena talk about a fresh start and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End picks up the story three years later and shows us the couple settled down.
But, their routine is disrupted when Drake’s older brother Sam, previously thought to be deceased, bursts back onto the scene.
Sam is on a quest to find a legendary pirate artifact and until he does so, his life hangs by a thread. Of course, with the whiff of adventure and opportunity in his nostrils once more, Drake jumps to his brother’s aid.
Drake and Sam must journey to Libertaria, a mythical pirate colony in Madagascar. Naughty Dog has said the whole game won’t take place there, but it will be a major location for Uncharted 4.
Inevitably it’s not all plain sailing, as two rivals named Rafe and Nadine are also looking for the treasure.
That’s all we know about the Uncharted 4 storyline so far, but we’ll keep you posted if we discover anymore details.
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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Gameplay
The first Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End gameplay trailer was shown in December at the PlayStation Experience event in Las Vegas, giving us a first look at what the game will actually play like. And wow, were we impressed.
Take a look at the gameplay trailer below, but it starts with Drake spelunking and mountain climbing – highlighting the improved verticality of the game.
But, it’s when the combat starts that you begin to see the major enhancements coming to combat. The enemy AI has been drastically improved along with the level design, especially when it comes to stealth.
Drake will crouch automatically when he enters foliage, but it’s the AI of the enemies that you need to watch. They can be evaded, buy they’ll behave much more dynamically, leaping around ledges and scoping the terrain more realistically than in previous Uncharted titles.
Overall, Naughty Dog has said it is aiming for a “wider, more sandbox feel” for the game.
“With the verticality of Nathan Drake, with adding set pieces that weren’t necessarily in this demo, how do you get a bigger flow, something that is deeper at an emotional level? All those things come together to make the Uncharted we want to play,” explained the game’s Creative Director Neil Druckmann in an interview with Game Informer.
“We have our vertical slice and we’ve found our flow and the voice of this game. Now it’s like, how do you expand on that? How do you flesh that out across the entire experience, making sure it’s got its proper pacing, it’s got its ups and down? It seems like an eternity from now until when we’ll be finished with it.”
Of course, although there’s a huge focus on creating a world that feels vibrant and real, there’s a massive push on the combat.
“To us the Uncharted combat works best when it has a flow to it, when you're not just behind cover, shooting over and ducking back down; when your cover is getting flanked and you have to jump and move down to another level.”
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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Multiplayer
All we know so far is that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will feature some kind of multiplayer component.
That’s not much of a surprise really, as Uncharted games have been multiplayer since Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was released in 2009.
We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything new about the Uncharted 4 multiplayer.
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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – News
The battles of 60FPS
Naughty Dog is trying to get Uncharted 4 running at 60fps, and said as much when the game was first announced.
However, the developer is shying away from that target a little now, as it now says it wants to do what’s best for Uncharted 4 – even if that means a sub-60fps frame rate.
According to Uncharted 4 Director Neil Druckmann, achieving the 60fps frame rate is no simple task. In fact he went as far as to say that it is “really f**king hard.”
“That’s true for any game. It was really hard on The Last of Us Remastered, and that’s a game we'd finished and we knew exactly what the end result would look like. And here [with Uncharted 4] we’re trying to push the boundaries of what this game can look like, and do realistic, real-time cutscenes. And trying to do 60fps is really hard.”
That means nothing is nailed down in terms of frame rate right now.
“The objective for us is just to make the best experience. And right now we’re trying to push the look. Then we’ll see where we’re at and reassess. We’re constantly making choices to our production about what’s going to make the game feel best and look its best.”
See also: Upcoming PS4 Games 2015
The game will star Drake
Sony gave Uncharted 4: A Thief's End a little spotlight time during its E3 2014 press conference in June. Not only revealing the name of the upcoming Uncharted PS4 game, Sony also confirmed that Nathan Drake will remain as the game's protagonist, quashing rumours that he had been replaced.
The video was then published on YouTube, offering a little more information on the game's storyline in the description provided below:
"Several years after his last adventure, retired fortune hunter, Nathan Drake, is forced back into the world of thieves. With the stakes much more personal, Drake embarks on a globe-trotting journey in pursuit of a historical conspiracy behind a fabled pirate treasure. His greatest adventure will test his physical limits, his resolve, and ultimately what he's willing to sacrifice to save the ones he loves."
Looks like there's a definite pirate theme there then and Drake is a lot older than in previous games. According to the trailer, he's been "out of the game a while" and the trailer starts with Drake battered and bruised lying in a river.
See also: Best PS4 Games 2014
Uncharted 4 – What we’d like to see
Ahead of more details on the the fourth Uncharted game from Naughty Dog later this year, we’ve had a think about what we’d like to see with Uncharted 4.
1. Make sure it stars Drake
It might make us sound like schoolgirls at a One Direction concert, but we’re not ashamed to cry “We want Drake” for Uncharted 4.
Some rumours have circulated since the teaser trailer that Uncharted 4 may not feature our favourite male adventurer, instead taking the form of a prequel or post-Drake title.
If Naughty Dog chooses to ditch Drake, it will be doing the series a disservice. Uncharted and Drake go together like bread and butter. The series is so synonymous with this cocky protagonist that it would be lost without him.
2. Improve the shooting mechanics
Throughout the series, we’ve often found the shooting mechanics to feel jerky, unresponsive and slow, especially in comparison with the fluidity of the surrounding gameplay.
In fact, there were so many complaints about the aiming inaccuracies in Uncharted 3 that Naughty Dog actually had to release a patch for the game to fix the problems.
Despite the patch, we still found the heavy combat portions of the game frustrating.
With Uncharted 4, Naughty Dog needs to find a balance between making the shooting parts challenging and rewarding, but not at the expense of still being enjoyable.
3. Take collectibles to the next level
One of the great things about Uncharted: Golden Abyss on the PS Vita was its wealth of collectible items. The series as a whole has always had a strong history of treasures, but never took them to the same level as Golden Abyss.
With the PS Vita title you could examine them, revealing their back story and adding value to the overall storyline. After all, Drake is a treasure hunter and explorer by nature, so why not make more of the hidden wonders he discovers along the way?
4. Introduce a bit of Tomb Raider climbing action
Uncharted games are well known for their fluid and intuitive platforming sessions, but sometimes they are far too easy to navigate. All you need to do is hold the analogue stick in the direction you want to move when climbing and occasionally press jump.
Tomb Raider made cliff climbing truly precarious – one wrong move and you’d see Lara Croft plunge to her death, which is something that we’ve never really experienced with Drake. As the game moves to the next-generation console, now would be a great time to overhaul some of those climbing mechanics to make it feel more realistic.
Perhaps Naughty Dog could even introduce some climbing tools like a pick-axe or ropes, just to mix it up a bit and play on Drake’s adventurerous side.
5. Make us use our brains a little more
We long for the game where puzzles make us properly scratch our heads with frustration. That’s not to say that the puzzles in Uncharted games thus far haven’t been perplexing, but we’d like our brains to be bombarded with less linear and more open-ended challenges in this PS4 exclusive.
Make use of Drake’s lust for exploration with the puzzles, make him have to search the locale from top to bottom in order to find clues to the solution.
6. Fully utilise the PS4's features
At the time of writing, we feel that inFamous: Second Son is the only title to take full advantage of all the PS4’s unique features, particularly the DualShock 4.
Uncharted 4 is one of the few games that we know of being specifically built for the PS4, so it would be a shame not to see the console's new features fully utilised.
The touchpad could be used to dust off some of the artefacts you discover along the way or the Six-Axis motion-sensing system used to navigate your potential pirate ship, for instance.
We’re sure that Naughty Dog will be able to think up some ingenious ways to incorporate all the new features, and we can’t wait to find out more.