Interview: Naughty Dog On Uncharted 3

This is page two of a two-page interiew. Jump to page one.


KA: A hot topic at the moment is that of online passes and single-use codes unlocking segments of the game for players who buy the game brand new. What are your views on this, and do you guys have any similar plans?


JR: Yeah, we’re supporting the, what’s it called?

AM: Online pass.

JR: Online pass system for Uncharted 3, and so what it means is that if you buy the game new, you get a code that you can enter and play the multiplayer online, and so for us, I think we’re offering a huge package, we’re offering a ton of content.

It’s not just some throw away death-match mode, we spent a ton of time developing this stuff. I think we’re offering something that’s completely different from anything else that’s in the industry; our gameplay is really different and really deep and it takes a long time to master.

We give literally thousands of hours of content in our online stuff and on top of that we give you not just competitive, but an entire co-op experience as well. There’s basically a whole alternate history, alternate version story in our co-op, and in this game they’re actually all tied together. All the co-op missions, of which there are even more, are all actually one continuous story, if you play them in the right order.

It’s all that stuff, and so in general, we’re giving out a huge amount of content, and part of the reason for the online pass is that when that stuff goes online, it isn’t free. We have to pay for servers and all this different stuff to maintain it, and so at some point, you know, games have to make money. It is a business, and we just wanna be able to continue to provide that kind of content. If Sony ever comes to us and says “You’re not making enough money on this, you need to cut it” or whatever, that’s not something that we want. We want to be able to maintain the level of quality of the product that we’re giving out.

AM: We don’t want to sink the company with bandwidth costs!

JR: Yeah exactly, and the other thing is that even if you do buy it used, it’s worth the price of that online pass just to get all that content, because there’s so much stuff. It’s either that or we offer online completely in its entirety also, so we have a complete offline package as well, so if you want to play the co-op with a friend, you can do that offline.

KA: You mentioned the online co-op, and I know a lot of fans loved the co-op, although it was quite small, in Uncharted 2, and you said you’re expanding on that. Can we expect to see ties in with the single player?

JR: Not really. The reason we tend not to do, or don’t do, single-player co-op content is because we’re telling this very defined story for Drake, and we want you to really feel like you’re on that mission with Drake. You feel like Drake does as you’re going throughout it, and so when we start looking at online stuff or co-op stuff to do, especially DLC, it’s like we can either make some downloadable content that’s six hours long and basically a full game, or we could move onto the next game and produce that. We have a hard time going small! As a studio we tend to do things very big.

KA: Yeah I hadn’t noticed that about the Uncharted series!

[drop2]JR: Haha yeah it’s surprising I guess! But there is a reason we don’t do it from the beginning, because up until this point the stories that we’re trying to tell have been Drake-centric and how Drake goes through this world and the things you learn about him and we want to ensure it still feels like that, so that’s why we have co-op being this alternate-reality, where we get away with more.

Co-op is different from single player, it just has a totally different vibe to it when you’re playing with somebody else; you can lose that serious nature of what we do in a lot of cases, especially with co-op, so we want to be very careful with that. This time around we do offer an even more expansive amount of co-op content, and actually this time, all the story of it, all the little chapters tie in together, and I think people will be really excited about that.

AM: Yeah, because, I mean our community, definitely going back to that, wanted a heavier narrative development rather than “here is some reason why you’re going from point A to point B” and I think that’s one of the reasons why we really wanted to create this narrative that ties all of them together, as stand-alone co-op sections.

KA: That definitely sounds like something a lot of people look forward to. Personally, I know me and my brother both really enjoyed the co-op missions in Uncharted 2.

JR: Well you can do split-screen now.

AM: I was just going to say, now you can do it in the same room!

KA: Well we are all very much looking forward to Uncharted 3, and of course Golden Abyss on the Vita. We don’t know loads about Golden Abyss yet, can we expect to hear more about that any time soon?

JR: Of course, I think after Uncharted 3 comes out, even more stuff about Golden Abyss is going to come up. It doesn’t release… I don’t even know the release date, so…

AM: I think it’s coming out when the Vita comes out in Japan, we’re not really working on that so we’re not sure of all the timings and so for the rest of the world, that’s basically some time next year!

JR: Basically right now, we’re obviously concentrating on Uncharted 3 and trying to get the word out there about that, and then as this rolls off, I’m sure people will start talking more and more about Golden Abyss. It’s Sony Bend who did it, and it’s going to have all of our actors and stuff in it. It’s going to be really cool, I’ve seen some preview stuff and it seems like it’s going to be awesome.

KA: Yeah it seems like the Vita is generating quite a lot of excitement in terms of what it can do, graphically.

JR: I think so, I mean the stuff that I even saw which was way back, when they were first developing the game, and I was like “holy crap! This looks amazing!”

KA: …and you can play that on the bus!

JR: Exactly.

AM: The most recent download that they’ve been showing around looks really good, and plays like Uncharted.

JR: Yeah the two sticks are critical, it’s really cool. I’m actually excited to play it. I know the story, but I’ve never actually fully played it.

KA: I suppose not being involved directly enables you to have a bit of a new Uncharted experience.

JR: Exactly.

KA: That must be quite refreshing in a way. When a musician writes a song, he might not want to listen to the song that much because he knows every part in so much detail, so it’s nice to get a bit of a different angle.

Finally, onto Drake’s exploits in the future; can we expect to see more of Drake?

JR: We’ve always said that we never really had a master plan. We never said “We’re doing three games” but we still have a lot of stories to tell with Drake for sure, and as long as we’re interested and excited to make them, and as long as fans want them, that’s certainly an option. Right now, we’ll finish this tour and then we’re all just relaxing!

KA: So from the “OK, lets make Uncharted 3” moment, to when you can hand someone a copy of Uncharted 3, how long does that take in total?

JR: One month less than two years.

KA: I can understand why people might want to go on holiday after all that time!

JR: Yeah all the people at the studio are on vacation now, just chilling out after finishing this one, and we’ll come back together and see, are we going to do another one, or move onto something else, it still remains to be seen. There is still tons of stuff to do in the Uncharted universe, and we’re certainly not tapped out.

KA: Well that’s all my questions, and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that the Uncharted series really does seem like a pinnacle of what the current technology is able to achieve.

JR: Thank you, we spent a lot of time on it, so I’m glad you say that! It’s an honour to make something that people are so excited about.

KA: Justin, Arne, thank you very much.

Thanks again to Justin and Arne for taking the time out to talk to us, and to Kev for going to talk to them. Uncharted 3 is released November 2nd in the UK and our full review goes live on the 24th of October.

This post was written by kevatron400, who you can hear on this week’s podcast.

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  1. Excellent interview Kev.

    • Thanks. I couldn’t believe how much text 15 minutes of talking turned into!

    • i imagine being interviewd by a character from thier own games must have felt very strange

      • Heh, I should have tried to do the whole thing in a Drake voice.

  2. Really looking forward to UC3, the multiplayer demo is great, the single player will be even better I’m sure.

    One thing though, I cannot find out if we are getting the Starhawk Beta with the Euro / UK copies – anyone got any leads?

    • We are.

      • thanks Nofi, are you sure, any particular version or shall I just preorder from anywhere?

      • Ah – found for myself now, couldn’t see that on Friday:

        In a statement from the company, Sony said:

        “We can confirm that customers in Europe who purchase Uncharted 3 get access to the Starhawk beta. Codes will be sent via email early 2012.”

        I’m so amped about Starhawk, nice to know I’ll get ‘first’ dibs on it after Chrimbo (trees and lights for sale in B&Q already)

      • Wow, that’s great!

        Anyway, great interview. Brilliant to hear that co-op now has a story and I can’t wait to try out the new combat mechanics. I’m also a little surprised that levels don’t load behind cutscenes, I always thought that.

  3. Brilliant review, really interesting.

    • With Adam on this one. Lovely interview and it’s great to see their reasoning and thought processes when key decisions are being made.

      I absolutely adore the total lack of loading screens as it really does make it feel like one long incredible ride.

  4. Great interview, really pleased to hear the puzzles will be better, they really dragged in the last game. Didn’t know about split screen either.. Also, when he’s talking about people caring about the characters, I’ve always found that easier when i have total control, like in Fallout 3, after returning the stradivarius to that old lady, and then reverse pickpocketing her a land mine and stealing all her stuff, i felt pretty bad. But i didn’t really care at all in heavy rain, or L.A. Noire. – too linear

  5. Really good interview. I’m more hyped up than ever now ;)

  6. Oh no! It has an online pass! Brace for crying!

    Place bet now on where the first “I’m not buying it” appears. I’ll go for before page 3.

    • I’m not buying it!!!

      (yeah, course I will. Don’t be daft)


      • Doesn’t count if you don’t mean it :P

      • To the extent that anyone who posts “Not buying” actually means it, since clearly they’re full of…

  7. Great interview, Kev. Nice one :D

  8. great interview. always interesting in hearing naughty dog speak out. they seem like really nice guys

  9. awesome interview. great read

  10. Interesting stuff :) One of the few games I really cannot wait for !

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