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Tuesday April 23rd 2019

The Making of a Masterpiece: Uncharted 3

In 2009, game developer Naughty Dog and publisher Sony Computer Entertainment brought out one of a critically acclaimed title that took over the gaming industry, setting the bar for graphics, storytelling and production that foreshadows the future of video games and electronic entertainment.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has received over 200 Game of the Year awards in various categories. The story of Nathan Drake, the series’ main protagonist, spread around the world in a game that has been described as belonging on a movie screen rather than a game console.

So how does a game developer create a sequel to one of the top games of all time?

During the pre-release of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Sony hosted preview events at AMC theaters around the country. Hosted in Dallas, San Fransisco, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the event showcased the premiere of several scenes that were previously available only to the industry’s press.

Naughty Dog sent developers from the studio to these locations to host the events and talk to fans of the game themselves. Environmental Artists Todd Foster and Christophe Desse attended the Dallas event.

According to Desse, the major challenge came from the expectations of all the fans.

“There is a lot of pressure for us, especially since we made the game of the year two years ago,” Desse said. “We needed to be better during the development of the game.”

Foster agreed, saying that it took the studio to really work as a team to create the title.

“All of the departments worked a lot harder,” Foster said. “We pushed how much detail we could fit in the game. It is gratifying to see how much people are enjoying the game.”

Victor Harris, the Assistant Producer of Product Development at Sony Computer Entertainment America, said that the game endeavors to create the experience of an action film.

“We have always viewed Uncharted as a cinematic experience,” Harris said. “We enjoy having the theater events because we look at the game as a summer blockbuster, so we treat it as such.”

The developers saw the event as enjoyable as the fans did. Desse said that being with the fans was a great experience.

“You can look at the fans and see and truly hear their excitement,” Desse said. “There’s something in the game for everyone to enjoy, even just watching. It’s great to see everyone enjoy the game as much as we do.”

The game has a prominent single-player featuring a narrative and cinematic sequences that the series is most known for. The game takes the protagonist on a worldwide journey to find the clues unlocking the secret of the Arabian Desert.

The story’s heroes are searching for the Iram of the Pillars, otherwise known as the fabled Atlantis of the Sands. Foster said that during development, even those that worked on the game did not want to know the secrets of the story.

“Even within the teams, we didn’t want spoilers,” Foster said. “We only wanted to know what we had to. I’m actually looking forward to playing the game with my family.”

At the time of this writing, the game holds a 92/100 Metacritic rating, a score that took the average from 86 different professional review scores.

Desse said the hard work definitely paid off. The team as a whole enjoyed the finished game.

“This is the best product we’ve made to date,” Desse said. “We want everyone to play it and enjoy it. It is a piece of art.”

Image: Naughty Dog and Sony employees took a break from meeting fans to pose for a picture. These employees were able to travel out of California to host the Uncharted events held around the country. From left to right: Christophe Desse, Todd Foster and Victor Harris.

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