Recent reports have claimed that a new Uncharted was being worked on, but the game is going to be facing one massive challenge if it happens.
By Richard Warren
Published Apr 13, 2021
Back in 2017, the final Uncharted game released, with Uncharted: Lost Legacy serving as an epilogue of sorts for the beloved action-adventure series. Focusing on Chloe Frazer, Nathan Drake’s former partner, the story saw Chloe becoming a hero in her own right. A year prior, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End brought an end to Nathan Drake’s story, with the game received well by critics and adored by fans.
Since then, there has been little hope for more Uncharted?content, with only the live action film confirmed to be on the way. However, recent rumors and reports have indicated that a new Uncharted game is in development — or at the very least was being made at some point in time. While this has understandably gotten fans excited, a new entry in the beloved PlayStation may be facing an uphill battle. After all, there is one massive challenge that a new Uncharted game would have to overcome.
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Uncharted 5 rumors have been prevalent since the launch of the PlayStation 5, with many fans holding out hope that there was some legitimacy to the murmurs. While it would make sense given the upcoming film and the franchise’s overall success on the Sony platform, no serious evidence was provided for the game’s existence. However, that has since changed, as a major report from Bloomberg and Jason Schreier recently confirmed that the game was being worked on.
At some point in time, an Uncharted game was being made, with Bend Studio serving as developer. This move made sense, as they developer behind Days Gone had also made the solid PlayStation Vita title Uncharted: Golden Abyss. However, Bend Studio apparently asked to be removed from the project, aiming to make its own game instead. While this is exciting for fans of Bend, as a lot can be done with a new IP, the supposed Uncharted game is now in limbo. Jason Schreier, the journalist that broke the news, is uncertain if the game is in development elsewhere.
Still, while it is unclear if Sony is still going ahead with the game, it is clear that there are plans in place for Uncharted to continue. Now more than ever, Uncharted 5 seems possible, and there is no shortage of potential that comes with such a game. The DualSense controller can make the high octane set pieces of the series feel better than ever, while the PlayStation 5’s power could allow for an even better looking game than Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. However, despite all the gameplay potential, there is a key decision that will need to be made regarding the game’s story — and either choice could prove to be incredibly risky.
A major part of what made Uncharted such a success was its protagonist, as Nathan Drake has become one of PlayStation’s most popular characters over the years. Played brilliantly by Nolan North, the character’s wit and lighthearted nature make him extremely likable, allowing gamers to root for him every step of the way. However, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was designed around giving the character closure, ending his journey on the right note and allowing him to retire happily with his wife and daughter.
With Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End’s brilliant ending meant to be a sendoff for Nathan Drake, honoring that conclusion would be a wise idea. As such, whichever developer takes on the next game could focus on a supporting character or reboot the series entirely. With a reboot, a developer runs the risk of players not connecting with the new lead hero like they did with Nathan Drake. Even if they do, the two characters would constantly be compared, with a brand new character unable to escape from the legendary treasure hunter’s shadow.
This makes another spinoff like Uncharted: Lost Legacy a more logical decision, though there are only a few options available. Sam Drake is one choice, as Troy Baker does a fine job playing Nathan’s older brother. That said, Uncharted: Lost Legacy shows that he may be best used in a supporting role. Another option would be to show Sully’s backstory, which would certainly be interesting. However, like most prequels, this eliminates any real stakes from the story, as players know Sully would have to survive. This leaves the option of another spinoff for Chloe, though like Nathan Drake, she is almost 40 in her last appearance. As such, she may be hanging up her adventurer boots as well.
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When people think of Uncharted, they likely think of Nathan Drake, something that makes replacing him a major challenge. As such, there is a chance that the character comes back in a new game, as it would be the quickest way to get longtime fans invested again. With Nolan North willing to return to the role and fans still loving the character just as much as they always gave, there is plenty of potential for the reappearance to take place. At the same time, it may not be for the best decision in terms of storytelling, as it goes against a lot of what Naughty Dog tried to do with the character in his last appearance.
While a reboot or spinoff without Nathan Drake would allow the next game to honor the conclusion of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, bringing him back runs the risk of ruining it. Explaining Nathan Drake’s decision to go back to adventuring would likely require some kind of sad turn to the story, such as his marriage with Elena failing or something bad happening to her. Another option would see him becoming a Sully figure of sorts, with players controlling his daughter Cassie instead. While this would be a fine enough story, it would be a bit repetitive, as it would essentially just be a repeat of what players have already seen — only with Cassie in Nate’s spot and Nate in Sully’s position.
Uncharted 5 is in a tough position, as the question of whether Nathan Drake should be brought back into the mix is impossible to avoid. While a soft reboot can be attempted where players control Cassie, it is hard to belief that Nate would let her adventure on her own. At the same time, a spinoff or full reboot has the tough task of telling a satisfying story without Nathan Drake. As such, while there is a reason to be excited about more Uncharted content, it is hard to deny that the next game is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Uncharted 5 is not confirmed to be in development.
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About The Author
(1406 Articles Published)
A lifelong gamer and comics fan who loves writing about everything in nerd culture… and has a small addiction to trophy and achievement hunting.
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