Naughty Dog Live Chat Highlights

As part of yesterday’s US release of Uncharted 2 the US PS Blog hosted a live chat with a couple of the Dogs. Taking part in the chat were Neil Druckmann, Lead Game Designer, and Travis McIntosh, Lead Programmer.  To save you the trouble of reading the whole thing here are the highlights.

  • Motion comic prequel to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune: In response to the question “So what is next? DLC?”, Neil replied, “Well besides DLC – which you should hear more about pretty soon – we have an exclusive announcement!  We’re releasing a prequel story to Uncharted 1 as a motion comic voiced by your favorite actors from the two games.  Stay tuned for more into.”  The motion comic comes up again when Neil answers a question on what was cut from the game, “We actually started this game with an idea for a prequel story that we eventually cut.  However, you’ll get to see that story fleshed out in the upcoming Uncharted Motion Comic.”  Finally, the name of the motion comic and Drake’s female sidekick in it are revealed when the Dogs are asked whether Elena or Chloe is their favourite Uncharted girl.  Says Neil, “I’m gonna go with Rika… you’ll meet her in Uncharted: Eye of Indra – the upcoming Motion Comic.
  • $100,000 in-game credit for completing Drake’s Fortune: A while back there was talk of a reward for those who platinumed the Drake’s Fortune but then nothing more was heard.  Neil’s response to the question on that was, “If you have a saved game of a completed playthrough of Uncharted 1 then you get $100,000 to spend in the store for Uncharted 2.  We didn’t go with the  platinum because we wanted to reward more players.”
  • In-house ICE team is a large benefit: A question was asked about why it is that Naughty Dog, with their two Uncharted games, seem able to get the PS3 to produce graphics so much better than some other PS3 games, particularly those from third party devs.  Travis pointed to their renowned ICE team as a key reason, “One reason is our experience with the PS3 is very deep.   We’ve got an in house team (ICE) that’s been working with the PS3 since literally the beginning, and we’re very careful to hire only the best.   Plus, we take graphics very seriously, and actively decided from almost the beginning of the project to make U2 a graphics showpiece.   Many third parties also have to work on more than one platform, so it’s harder to push the tech.”  Indeed, if you consider yourself a 3D programming wizard you might be interested to know that the ICE team are hiring.
  • Remember to look up to find treasures: The Dogs were asked for tips to help find all the treasures in the game.  It seems that we will not just be able to walk over to all the treasures and pick them up as we did in Drake’s Fortune.  Travis offered the tip, “To find the treasures, remember to look up.   You can shoot flashing treasures of walls and ceilings, if you don’t look up, you’ll miss them.
  • Why thank Infinity Ward and Bungie in the credits?: Some gamers have been a little surprised by some of the studios that Naughty Dog chose to thank in the end credits.  The Sony-related devs like Insomniac and Guerrilla Games are easily explained.  The others?  Neil explained it is all part of their approach to game development, “We try to be quite open with our technology and our process.  We exchanged technology and ideas with other developers.  We wanted to make sure we thanked everyone that helped us out in some way.”  So if you are a PS3 fanboy who enjoys Uncharted remember that the devs behind Halo are in some way, however small, to thank for helping make the game as great as it is.  My bet would be that both Infinity Ward and Bungie had some useful tips for Naughty Dog on making a multi-player game.
  • Gun sounds based on the actual guns: Unlike the common Hollywood approach of making guns sound more impressive than they really are by using a rifle sound for a pistol, a shotgun for a rifle and a cannon for a shotgun, Naughty Dog at least started from a more realistic point.  Travis reveals that their “sound guys actually shot the real guns on a soundstage, recorded what they got, and massaged it for in game.”

With Uncharted 2: Among Thieves out this Friday in the UK I would guess that is what most of us will be playing over the weekend.