Uncharted 2 Megathread

Apr 17, 2009
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San Diego, CA

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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is an upcoming video game in development by Naughty Dog and to be published by Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation 3. It is the sequel to the highly successful Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

This entry follows the adventures of protagonist Nathan Drake as he uncovers the mysteries behind 13th-century explorer, Marco Polo, and the ships that he "lost" while returning home to Italy. Following him on his quest will be Chloe Frazer, a new character voiced by Claudia Black of Stargate SG-1 and Farscape. Drake is looking for the Cintamani Stone, a crystal which is said to grant the holder of it a wish, but someone else is also seeking the treasure.



The title will feature new gameplay mechanics, such as stealth action segments, and will change the climbing mechanic to allow free movement over walls. Nathan will now be able to flip over certain pieces of furniture to use as cover. The game is also stated to have no loading screens. Drake himself will have a darker side in this outing, and the player will learn what makes him a thief, hence the title.

Bruce Straley, the game director for Uncharted 2, has revealed that the Artificial Intelligence of the enemies will be updated to match the new action-stealth gameplay. Now, the enemies will have peripheral vision, so that they will hunt for Nathan if he briefly appears in their cone of vision. Additionally, the enemies will interact with the environment more, following Nathan as he climbs on buildings or jumps off of ledges.

In addition to new gameplay mechanics, the graphics engine will also be revamped to take advantage of additional PS3 capability. Naughty Dog are aiming to maximize the utilization of the Cell's SPUs, as their estimates for utilization in the first Uncharted were around 30%. As a result, the game is expected to have more realistic environments and animations.
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Jan 29, 2009
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Naughty Dog claims to be fully utilizing the SPU’s (Synergistic Processing Unit)on the ps3 and pushing the hardware even further than guerilla games. If true, this will be incredible seeing how Killzone 2 only uses 60% of the PS3’s SPU’s! This not only would give Uncharted the chance to capitalize in graphics but also in FPS (Frames Per Second). There is noting better than a good looking game that runs smooth and has great graphics. The pre-rendered trailer shown at the AVG awards was only a taste of the how the game will look; and not at the actual quality of the game, but much lower. Naughty Dog will improve the graphics and is working hard to improve the graphics.

Uncharted 2 Among Thieves is bigger than the first with a deeper cover system that may even surpass that of Gears of War 2. Cliff Bleszinski said himself, that he admires the Uncharted cover system and wished that gears could’ve been a bit smoother. If you have not yet experienced Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, rent it or buy a used copy, the game still has very good graphics compared to others that came out months later or even a year later; you can find a many games from 08, and maybe even a few from 09 that don’t compare to its likes. Many people complained that the first Uncharted was just a mere jungle, however Naughty Dog says Among Thieves is no jungle, nor focus’s on one area. The trailer shows our hero Nathan Drake in the mountains around snow and screen shots show him in a beautiful (graphic means) abandoned city. There is no doubt that this is going to be a success. Drakes Fortune sales were a bit slow near the beginning, as are many new IP’s, but the game has managed to sell over 3 million copies as of 2008; thats a one year life span. A great year for Sony, to Open with an already solid title, Killzone 2, and close the year with another AAA blockbuster hit, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

By the way, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves? A bit long, no… lets call it U2AT! I don’t believe there is any other titles with that abbreviation.



 
Jan 29, 2009
7,187
Naughty Dog is a filthy tease. Yesterday, the folks behind the company met with a plethora of videogame journalists, went over the story and details of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and even played through a level set in a bombed out section of Nepal. Yeah, the gameplay looked awesome and the graphics were somehow better than the crisp stuff we saw in Drake's Fortune, but when all that was said and done, Naughty Dog kept talking -- about the possibility of a helicopter shooting out the foundation of a building and Nathan having to navigate his way out of the crumbling structure while the enemies around him try and do the same thing; about fighting on top of a train as it curves and careens through the environment and Nathan having to adjust his balance and shots accordingly; about picking to either run through the train cars or shimmy along the roof. The developers talked about these OMG moments, but they didn't show them.

Naughty Dog gives you a taste and leaves you hurting for more. It's criminal.

Uncharted 2 is going to drop Nathan into a quest to find Marco Polo's fortune. See, after spending about 20 years in the court of Kublai Khan, Marco Polo headed home with 14 ships, more than 600 people, and more treasure than you could shake a stick at. When Polo docked 18 months later, he had one ship and 18 passengers. The explorer, who many accused of telling ridiculous stories, would never speak of what happened during his journey. When Marco Polo was on his deathbed, his relatives begged him to recant his tales so he'd get into heaven, but Polo replied "I didn't tell half of what I saw."


Where's Sully?

Eerie story, mountains of loot, and a historical mystery? Sounds like a quest for one Nathan Drake. Set about two years after Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Among Thieves finds our hero down on his luck and running with the looters and pirates on the seedier side of life. Naughty Dog has been tightlipped about what exactly is happening in Drake's world, but we do know that Chloe Frazer is a major part of it. Described as a reckless and brash Australian explorer, Chloe and Drake have had a previous "relationship" and quickly find common ground with the Marco Polo case. Somehow, the duo finds out that Marco Polo had set out on a secret expedition to Shambhala -- also known as Shangri-La -- to find the Cintamani Stone, a massive sapphire that's the Buddhist Holy Grail and would be worth billions today. Of course, a paramilitary leader who just so happens to be a war criminal is out to find the stone as well, and his private army is going to stop Drake and Chloe however it can.

With that, the adventure is on and said to take Chloe and Nate from snowy mountain tops to cities packed with temples to murky swamps and beyond. My demo picked up with our girl and boy split up. They had known that the next clue in their journey to Shangri-La was in a temple in a Nepal, but that village was in the midst of a war. See, the bad guys knew the next clue was here as well, but rather than use their noggins to figure out which temple held the prize, they just rolled in and began ransacking the place. This got the locals in a tizzy, and the militia is now on the scene fighting the machinegun-packing masses at every turn. Chloe and Drake tried to sneak in via a Jeep and by dressing Nate as a reporter, but the bad guys saw through that pretty quickly, chased the vehicle through the city in their own armored vehicle, and fired a nasty turret whenever they got the chance. Navigating down a tight alley, Nate lost the foes but also ditched his ride. On foot and huddled behind a half wall of what used to be the interior of a building, the actual gameplay began.

Pressed up against that wall, Nate tried to eye a group of paramilitary personnel that was slowly walking a destroyed street -- there was rubble everywhere, household objects littered the street, the buildings were smashed and smoldering. Suddenly, a bus careened onto the scene in an attempt to take out some of the bad guys, but it only succeeded in crashing and blocking the road. With the bad guys distracted by the bus, Drake ran into the street, picked up some ammo with Triangle, and baseball slid into cover behind an oven that was packed in with some other junk in the street. From there, Drake popped out, grabbed a straggler, and broke his neck.


Two is the magic number.

Giving players a choice in Uncharted 2 is something Naughty Dog drove home during its presentation, and the choice between stealth and straight-up combat is at the forefront of that philosophy. Whereas you could sneak in a few sleeper hold attacks in the original game, that line of offense usually meant you were spotted by the nearly omniscient cast of pirates. In Among Thieves, Naughty Dog is giving you the tools to get your Solid Snake on and silently take down the bad guys if you wish. If enemies haven't spotted Drake, he's going to move differently than if they had seen him. He's going to slink along walls, carefully peek over cover, and move silently. At one point, Nate leapt from one floor of a building to the ledge of the next. There was an enemy standing guard on the rooftop Drake was hanging from, but the foe had his back turned when Nate made the leap of faith, so the jerkwad didn't know our hero was there until the bad guy walked towards the ledge, Nate grabbed the guy 'round his belt, and threw the guard to the pavement below for the instant knockout and/or death.

Like I said though, being quiet is just one half of the equation. After running from the oven to silently killing the straggler, Nate whipped out his gun and started a traditional Uncharted firefight complete with cover, crosshairs, and headshots. With the bullets flying, I did notice one small but welcome change. While the HUD is pretty much the same as the first game -- a tan rectangle featuring a picture of your gun and how many bullets you have left -- there is now a column of grenade slots on the left of the image so that you can easily see how many handheld explosives you're packing.

With the small squad out of the way, Drake advanced on the beached bus, but as he got close to it, the vehicle exploded and knocked the lead on his ass. Now, although the explosion was something of a movie (i.e. you couldn't run from the blast) it there was no loading or noticeable dip when the action stopped and the scripted event took over. It was seamless.

With that point of entry to the city cut off, Nate said "When in doubt, climb." Drake moved to a telephone pole, shimmied up the wood, leapt to some bricks on a building, grabbed onto a sign, and basically took all of his jungle antics into a cityscape. Naughty Dog's emphasis on player choice is parlaying into this climb/run mechanic as well. Nate's going to have more to climb in Uncharted 2, so it's up to you how or if you want to use it. Of course, some of these grab-able spots are old and crappy, so expect air conditioners to begin to fall off walls when you hang on them and signs to collapse under your weight if you hang out too long. Another interesting angle to this newfound ability to climb just about anywhere is that you can now fight from any position you find yourself in. If Nathan's clutching onto a thing of bricks, he can shoot from it, and if he's dangling from a sign, he can shoot from it -- Naughty Dog's calling it "traversal gunplay," and it seems pretty cool.

But, as a full-blown Uncharted nerd, the things I dug the most about the Naughty Dog demo were the little touches. When Drake made a big old leap from rooftop to rooftop, he flung his arms backwards and kicked out his legs as he flew. When this is happening, it's easy to see the new animation for his kicking feet and moving hands. When he was looking down a street, it was easy to see the detail of the marketplace at the end of the road. When Nate gets into a hand-to-hand scuffle, it's easy to see that he's now a badass.


Peekaboo.

In Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, I didn't use the melee attacks all that much on my first playthrough because I didn't find them super-effective. Sure, they killed the bad guys, but they usually took some time and left Drake open to attack. In Uncharted 2, that doesn't seem to be the case. After all the ledges and jumping, Nathan fell into another group of baddies. This time, one of them came at Drake with a riot shield. Our hero shot the top of the shield so that it would lean back at just a bit of an angle, ran up the makeshift ramp, and dropped behind the bad guy before breaking his neck. Nate then picked up the shield and used it for his own transportable cover.

This mix of shooting and melee carried on as Drake made his way through the town and eventually to an alleyway. Suddenly, the original enemy vehicle sped in to block the path and take out Drake with the turret. After Nate shot it out with the few army men who popped up around the vehicle, a rocket flew in from behind Drake and took out the enemies. Chloe was on the scene and taking names.

Now, Naughty Dog kept saying that Nate and Chloe had a "relationship" and "history," but no one ever expanded on the details. After the explosion, a cutscene began where Chloe jumped from her shooting point onto Nate's frame and wrapped her legs around him.

"Is that an ancient Tibetan ritual dagger in your pocket," she says all sexy-like.

"Well, maybe I'm just happy to see you," Nate replies.

Of course, it is the dagger. The knife has a symbol on it that Nate figures will lead them to the next clue in the temple that shares the same symbol. Upon explaining this to Chloe, she responds that they should go to a hotel she knows.

"Chloe, this is not the time," with a sly smile.

Sure, she explains that she only wants to go to the hotel because it's high up and has a great view of all the temples, but it's pretty clear that at one point Nate and Chloe were getting it on and that they might be getting it on again in this game. This of course leads to the question of what the hell happened to Elena, Drake's girl from the first game. Over in my interview with Naughty Dog, you can read Naughty Dog Co-President Evan Wells and Creative Director Amy Hennig dance around what's happening with the original love interest, but the most interesting piece of this "Where is she?" puzzle came when Naughty Dog played Claudia Black's screen test for the part of Chloe. In it, Nathan and Chloe strike up a conversation right after someone leaves the room -- although Hennig was quick to point out that we shouldn't draw conclusions from this clip and that the script's gone through many changes since this was filmed.

"She broke your heart," Chloe says trying to figure out the relationship.

"Maybe I broke hers," Nathan responds.


Boom.

From there, the conversation goes on about finding the Marco Polo treasure, but an argument soon breaks out over letting "them" come along on the expedition. Nate wants "them" to come, while Chloe wants nothing to do with "them." Could these people only referred to in pronouns be Sully and Elena? Is Chloe a happy homewrecker? Where did Nate's relationship go south? Naughty Dog isn't saying, so we're left waiting.

Luckily, there's a lot more to talk about when it comes to this sequel. Greg Edmonson, the composer of the first game, is back to provide the score; Nate's going to have a handful of different outfits that'll pertain to his different environments; and you don't have to worry about tank top-wearing pirates eating an entire clip of bullets before they die. During the presentation, Naughty Dog broke the soldier enemies into three categories -- mostly light, mostly dark, and mostly badass. The characters in the lighter uniforms are going to go down from a few shots, but the characters in full-on armor and helmets are going to take a licking. On top of all that, Wells said that Naughty Dog listened to fans and lengthened this installment of Nathan Drake's adventures.

"It will be bigger and better than the first game," Wells said.

Sounds good, but now we have to wait.
 
Jan 29, 2009
7,187
Yesterday I had the privilege to head over to Naughty Dog to get a good look at Uncharted 2, and to my surprise their offices are literally right across the street from GameTrailers. They gave an hour and a half presentation covering just about every aspect of the game. It was mostly talking and power point, but they did play through a small section and show us some behind-the-scenes footage that may not ever be made available to the public. I did an interview with one of the directors there, but we weren’t allowed to shoot anything else so welcome to my mega-blog.


Story/Setup

They didn’t specify how long the sequel takes place after the first game, but Nathan is out on another adventure and this time around players are going to see a bit more of the shady side of his character. The legend in this case revolves around Marco Polo’s lost fleet. In history, Marco Polo left China with a fleet of 14 ships, but when he arrived in Persia, only one ship with eighteen survivors remained. The game apparently starts out in a museum where Drake lifts an artifact that sets him on Marco Polo’s trail, eventually leading him to a swamp in the South Pacific, then to Nepal and the Himalayas in the search for Shambala and the legendary Cintamani Stone – a huge sapphire possibly worth billions.

Naughty Dog hints at a much larger cast of characters, but so far we only know of Sully and Drake’s new partner/girlfriend Chloe Frazer. She’s come back from farther in Drake’s past, she’s Australian, and she’s in every way equal or better than Nathan – but more flashy and impulsive. In one cut-scene, Drake was behind cover trying to defend himself from some guards and a truck-mounted turret, and Chloe shows up with a rocket launcher, blasting them out of the road in one shot.



Gameplay Demo

The small section of gameplay they showed was in Nepal City, the same area seen in recent screen shots. The city is about 1/4 of the way through the game and it’s in the midst of civil war with ravaged buildings and burning vehicles. Nathan tries to sneak into the city by pretending to be a reporter, but when the guards get suspicious, he busts through the gate.

The beginning of the demo opens with a bunch of soldiers searching for Nathan, only to soon be run over by a runaway bus. The wrecked bus blocks the street, forcing Nathan to climb across some crumbling buildings, using shop signs and street lights to traverse and narrowly avoids impaling himself on some exposed rebar.

The developers then used this opportunity to show off some of the game’s expanded stealth gameplay – what they’re calling action-stealth since they don’t want the pacing to get slowed down. They hung just below one guy waiting for the right moment to grab and toss him off the side of a building. Then back on ground level they snuck up behind another soldier standing in a doorway, grabbed him and knocked him out on the brick wall. Stealth kills can apparently net you more grenades or better weapons in the right situations, and using cover keeps you safe from soldiers’ line of sight as well as bullets.

The other big gameplay feature that they talked about but didn’t really show is traversal gunplay – which basically means that Drake can now shoot back when he’s climbing on walls. They even talked about being able to hang from a sign on the side of a building, using it for cover, and peeking out over the top to fire.

They’re aiming for a much broader range of enemies and AI behaviors. Some enemies carry big shields, which you can also pick up for portable cover if you take them down. Soldiers will also hunt for Nathan and follow him to his last seen location if you try to run away, sounding like something you’d expect from Metal Gear or Assassin’s Creed.


Tech/Art

Unknown to many, one of Naughty Dog’s teams actually works full-time on tech for PS3 developers to get the most out of the system, giving the developer a bit of an advantage. They estimate that in the first Uncharted, they were only utilizing the SPUs to about 30% but now they’re actually running them at 100% which gives them a lot more processing power to work with.

In the first game, they used two different character models for cut-scenes and gameplay, but now they have the same character model for both. They also proved to us that the scene in the VGA trailer was indeed real time, showing us the scene again and moving the camera around inside and outside of the train in 3D space.

There are more interactive items in the environment, more animations for Drake for different situations (walking across the moving train, etc.), and new shaders for things like snow, ice, and fur (Nathan will be getting a coat to keep him warm). It sounds like they want the snow and ice to be just as impressive as the water was in the first game and they’re working on effects for footprints, sparkling, and translucence.

The art team is obsessively gathering references for all the different environments and thinking through back-stories for the use of every room in the game. One artist even ran to a house that caught on fire and asked the owner if he could take pictures for reference.



Acting

One thing I came away really respecting about Naughty Dog is their approach to character performances, treating it just like a film shoot. It’s no secret that most video game dialogue is done with one actor at a time, reading scripts in a sound booth. But for Uncharted 2, Naughty Dog is bringing the actors to a motion capture studio, capturing their movements and dialogue simultaneously and getting the actors interacting with each other. They showed off audition tapes for Chloe’s actress and the biggest reason they chose her for the role was her natural chemistry with Nathan. And their improvisations and body language are making big improvements to the depth of the characters in each scene.



That’s about all there is to tell, but I think Naughty Dog is holding on to some secrets. With all this talk of Chloe being “Nathan’s equal in every way,” I can’t help but think that they’re leading up to an announcement about co-op gameplay – or at the least, you’ll play as Chloe at some point. I didn’t get any straight answers when I asked, but I think it’s a likely possibility. In any case, the game is looking great so far and I’m looking forward to playing it this fall.

We'll also have a two-part interview up later today.
 
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Jan 29, 2009
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The original Uncharted held the crown for the visually astounding game released this generation, along came Killzone 2 to parry its crisp and lush visuals to emerge as the prime candidate for one of the best looking games to emerge during this generation.

However after seeing bits and pieces of Uncharted 2, how long Killzone 2 will be able to hold its ground is a rather flummoxing argument, since Naughty dog’s creative force also gets uncovered this year. Individuals might argue that Heavy Rain might the best looking game seen till date, but I beg to differ on that notion simply because Uncharted 2 seems to pack quite a wallop simultaneously in terms of gameplay. Hanging from ledges, jumping from one platform to another, shooting, diving, dodging, surrealistic facial expressions, ludicrously detailed environments coupled with motion captured cutscenes.

The game seems to be passing around as a game designer’s dream come true, with the amount of flexibility and implementation the game’s engine offers using 100% of the PS3’s power, it seems like we might not see anything as detailed and non-grey as Uncharted 2 for quite some time to come.

Sure Gears 2 and Killzone 2 will take bolder steps towards the grey patch of destruction and doom, but somehow Uncharted 2 manages to cut across all that with its distinct art style consisting of a vivid amount of colors that pales in comparison against all the grey clouds of death that hover over humanity.

Personally I’ve gotten a bit sick of alien invading chartbusters, I really enjoyed playing both the original Uncharted and Tomb Raider: Underworld, which push at bringing back good’ol memories of scheming pirates, treasure, peril and the sense of adventure on the cards once again.
 
Jan 29, 2009
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Gamereactor's Thomas Blichfeldt was given an opportunity to ask Evan Wells of Naughty Dog a few questions on their upcoming and highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

Uncharted 2 is scheduled for release later this year exclusively on Playstation 3. For more information read our recent article on the game.

1. Please tell us about the inspiration for the Drake series and the sequel in particular?


When thinking about what to do with our next series, we narrowed down all our crazy game ideas and decided to stick with what we knew best, which was the action-adventure genre. But we wanted utilize the power of the PS3 to bring a level of cinematic immersion never before seen in a video game. With all of this new found power we would be able to tell a really engaging story, create compelling and believable characters and place them in exciting predicaments, just like the best summer blockbusters do. And one of the most important aspects to the Uncharted series is also what serves as the starting point and inspiration for the stories we tell in each game - a historical mystery.

Drake's new adventure is about an unsolved mystery surrounding Marco Polo and his doomed voyage home from China in 1292. After spending almost twenty years in the court of the emperor Kublai Khan, Marco Polo departed with fourteen ships and over 600 passengers and crew - but when he arrived at his destination a year and a half later, only one ship remained, and only eighteen of the passengers had survived. Although Marco Polo described almost every other aspect of his journeys in minute detail, he never revealed what happened to the ships that were lost.

So Drake, attracted by the potential treasure to be found and inspired by the intrigue around this historical mystery, embarks on a quest to find Marco Polo's lost fleet. But he soon discovers that Marco Polo was hiding a much greater secret - he had gone on a secret expedition on behalf of the emperor to find the mythical kingdom of Shambhala (otherwise known as Shangri-La) and to recover the legendary Cintamani Stone, the "wish-fulfilling jewel" of Buddhist mythology. The stone is described by Marco Polo as a massive raw sapphire which, if it truly exists, would be worth billions of dollars today. These discoveries set Drake on a new course, following Marco Polo's 700-year-old trail through a diverse range of exotic environments to find out if the lost city of Shambhala, rumored to lie deep in the Himalayas, really exists.

2. What movies or literature inspired you, and would it be correct to say that Drake is more Jack Colton (Romancing the Stone) than Indiana Jones?

Everyone at Naughty Dog draws upon a wide variety of personal and professional influences to inspire their work as we've developed the Uncharted franchise. It could be anything from films, books, other games or anything else. It's important to us and our process to have all these different influences, because we never know where a brilliant idea will come from. Even if it's on a subconscious level, all the media that we've consumed has had some influence on all of our games.

Another reason why things may look and feel familiar is that we wanted to leverage what we call the "comfort food" feeling of the action-adventure movie genre and translate that into a fun and satisfying experience when you play our games. This "comfort food" feeling comes from elements of movies that we have all grown up loving and often associate with specific genres - if one were to make a sci-fi game or a horror game, there are certain tropes or hallmarks of the genre that a developer will likely reference in one way or another.

We also had this notion of "comfort food" when we were creating the character of Nathan Drake. We knew we wanted to create a character with a deep backstory and some intriguing complexities to his personality. We also knew that we wanted Uncharted to be a franchise and not just a one off so that we can continue to expose that depth and complexity over the course of several games!

3. How difficult was it going from the Jak series to something completely different in the form of Uncharted, and why did you make the choice?


At the time we wanted to believe that the transition would be fairly easy between Jak and Daxter and Uncharted because the core of both series were the same - story-driven third-person action-adventure games. Of course, it was really not that simple since we were dealing with brand new, significantly more powerful hardware with the Playstation 3.

The fact that we had this exciting new hardware platform with so much potential was one of the main reasons we looked to start something new and different in the first place. The graphic fidelity offered by previous generations of PlayStation hardware was pretty limited, so we felt compelled to keep our games within the realm of fantasy. The PS3 was the first hardware that gave us the confidence to tackle the real world and human characters. And that decision forced us to develop a brand new set of skills in just about every discipline. From writing and game design, to modeling and lighting, every employee at Naughty Dog had to step up their game and learn something new. But we're really happy with what we were able to accomplish and now we feel more prepared to tackle any type of game we might consider in the future. Of course the immediate task at hand is to once again raise our own personal bar with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

4. What decisions during planning did you make to secure that Uncharted wouldn't be seen as "just another Tomb Raider clone"?

We weren't concerned with any potential comparisons to other games when we started working the Uncharted series and it would be detrimental to our development process to let it distract us. From day one our focus has been in combining compelling narrative and engaging gameplay to create a game that is much more than the sum of its parts. Our goal has been in creating just the right feeling throughout our game using all of the tools and tricks we have available - a feeling of experiencing an action-packed blockbuster movie that just sucks you in until it's over and then leaves you wanting more. There's also something about the way in which the narrative draws you into the characters and the challenges that they're facing that separates the Uncharted games from most of the other action-adventure titles out there. We really are trying to tell a more sophisticated and emotionally engaging story than what you've traditionally come to expect from a videogame. From the anecdotal feedback that we've read on the blogs and in the forums it seems like a lot of people only really appreciate how much this matters after having played the game.

5. What is the most radical difference between the first game and the sequel, and how have you made sure that fans of the first game will also enjoy the follow-up?

One of the main differences is the addition our action-stealth mechanic, which is all about adding complexity, expanding player choice in our combat situations, and fleshing out our enemy AI system. "Action" represents the idea that we're trying to keep the pace up and "stealth" represents the tactics we're familiar with regarding taking out enemies unnoticed. We don't want to introduce the frustration of being forced to move at the game's (presumably slower) pace by replaying and replaying a set-up due to failing a stealth-heavy situation.

Providing the option of action-stealth allows the player the choice to get more invested in the set-ups, getting to know more about the environments than a straight gunfight would allow. It also allows us to embed more narrative and story into the gameplay. By showing what enemies are doing before you're engaged in combat and by overhearing some background conversations, you'll be able to see more of the story in context to the environment or situation. It also reinforces the story needs by allowing us to make set-ups more appropriate to the tone of the story. Is Drake infiltrating an area? Are the enemies already in defensive positions? Whatever the story needs, we can have the enemies parallel that feeling now.

As a result of expanding our gameplay to account for action-stealth, we've changed up the dynamics of how a player approaches a combat situation by adding new behaviors to enemies: an investigate behavior and a hunting behavior. With the investigate behavior, the enemies have peripheral vision just like humans. When Drake enters this peripheral vision the enemies will look over in the direction they think they saw him, and depending on how long he was in this vision cone, they may just dismiss what they saw or they may walk over and check out the area Drake stood in. The hunt behavior is triggered when the enemies have already spotted Drake and are engaged in combat with him. While in combat the enemies make certain assumptions on where Drake is, based on his last known location. If they lose sight of Drake for a few seconds, they will start hunting around the area, starting with his last known location, and then spread their search out if he's not found. Our battles can be switched up from straightforward gun fights to an action-stealth battle midway through, picking off each enemy one by one as they separate in their hunt for Drake.

This just further reinforces our focus on creating player choice in Uncharted 2 and "choice" is the other key word here. We've implemented the new action-stealth mechanics with the knowledge that not everyone likes stealth game play. We think it's fun and it adds a lot to our ability to reinforce the story, but you should play the way you want, even if that means just going in guns blazing. We're just giving the player more options to play the setups however they like.

6. The technology in Naughty Dog games have always pushed the technology, a trend continued by Uncharted. What improvements have you made in the sequel, and how have you pushed the technology further?


Naughty Dog has a fifteen-year tradition of pushing the PlayStation hardware to its limits, and Uncharted 2 sees us setting new gold standards in limit-pushing! After we shipped Uncharted: Drake's Fortune we gave our programmers some time to freely explore any aspect of our engine or the hardware that they were interested in. Everybody immediately got down to business, tweaking the code and adding new features to our engine. As a result, we've been able to squeeze out a lot more of the power out of the Playstation 3, by optimizing our SPU code and parceling out more jobs to the SPUs in general.

With Uncharted 2, the Naughty Dog Engine 2.0 simply allows us to do more, do it better and do it faster. For example, we can display more polygons on screen than we could in Uncharted, allowing us to create environments with even more detail than the last game, and we've increased the number of enemies that Drake can fight at once. Our lighting and shadowing systems have been overhauled. We've revamped the way we render our skies to include much more realistic light effects and a procedural layer of cloud cover.

Also, we're really going for it with the rendering of the snow in Uncharted 2, just like we did with water in the first game - if Naughty Dog is going to do snow, it's got to be the best snow that you've ever seen in a videogame! So we've added shaders for ice, frost and snow that include simulated sub-surface scattering, to really capture the subtle way that light scatters through frozen water.

As if that wasn't enough, we're taking on fur and cloth this time. Our animations are more fluid and even more complex. The AI systems have been vastly expanded. The list goes on and on.

7. Is there any other genres you would like to give a try in the future?


You know, the future is just rife with all sorts of possibilities of every kind imaginable... but we're too intensely focused on finishing this game to start daydreaming right now!
 

mobius387

beer snob
Premium Supporter
Feb 16, 2009
4,404
Milwaukee, WI
Sony has an 'Electrifying' announcement coming April 27th

After jumping onto Sony's PlayStation.com website, I noticed that they have a small teaser hinting something big is on the way. They show pictures of inFAMOUS and Uncharted 2 in the short clip. Are there new demos for these highly anticipated on the way? Or something bigger?
There are rumors floating around that Uncharted 2 will have multiplayer, so this may have something to do with this. Apparently in Home it shows both Uncharted 2 and inFAMOUS on the big screen with the April 27th date. I doubt its an earlier date for an inFAMOUS demo since they recently announced the demo date, but it does say 'electrifying' announcement so I'll put this in the inFAMOUS thread as well. either way, hopefully SONY delivers on this hype and its not just something lame like an article explaining the games.
 
Jan 29, 2009
7,187
The sheer number of movies that are set for their feature film debut is either exciting or worrisome. We all know that Hollywood can effectively destroy a great game or even an entire franchise; terrible game-to-movie adaptations are common.

But they had best not screw up a movie based on Naughty Dog's Uncharted series (the second title, Among Thieves hits later this year). Granted, the premise is perfect for a movie - it's basically a modern-day Indiana Jones - but Hollywood has proven they can screw up just about anything. We don't have any solid info on this project just yet, but according to ThePlayStationNetwork, Matthew McConaughey is in line to star as Nathan Drake. The popular actor has been in almost too many movies to mention, and his list of credits certainly includes similar films that might make him familiar with such a role. For our part, we find Drake to be a little more sardonically serious; we think McConaughey might be a bit too laid back for this character. But hey, he's an actor, right? He should be able to make the mold and step right into it. This is another one of those times where we can easily say, "oh, an Uncharted movie? ...that sounds like it could be great!" And we'll just stick with that; optimism is essential.

We'll let you know if any more details pop up about this project, which certainly hasn't been confirmed just yet. How many more games will make their way to the big screen?

Source: PSXextreme
 
Jan 29, 2009
7,187
Sony's planning an electrifying announcement for the 27th April and we might have a little theory about what it might be.

Following the company's Destination PlayStation event, we'll be getting a number of updates on highly anticipated PlayStation 3 games next week, including Uncharted 2 and PixelJunk 1-4.

However, Sony is teasing an "electrifying" announcement for April 27th on the Official US PlayStation website, whilst flashing images of both InFamous and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in between the text. So unless there will be distinct announcements, there appears to be some kind of connection between the two titles in Sony's upcoming news.

Could an Uncharted 2: Among Thieves demo be included on the InFamous disc? Sucker Punch's electrified super hero InFamous will release at the end of May, and though this might be quite early for a demo of an autumn game, it's certainly possible.

As we've seen with the Final Fantasy XIII demo included on the FFVII: Advent Children Complete Blu-ray, this kind of combination can result in both increased disc and hardware sales. Maybe Sony has taken up the idea and included an Uncharted 2 demo on the InFamous disc.

How about another idea? There's been a rumour that Naughty Dog is developing competitive and cooperative for Among Thieves, so could purchasing or pre-ordering InFamous provide a code for some kind of multiplayer Beta? If they've created online multiplayer, Naughty Dog will surely want to test it. This is similar to the Halo 3 beta code being included with Crackdown.


What do you think the announcement will be? Perhaps Sony will simply show off new gameplay footage. At least we'll only have to wait until next Monday for the reveal!