Sony's Uncharted franchise needs no introduction. With sales that have surpassed 21 million units since the first game launched on PS3 in 2007 it has a massive fanbase the world over. What makes that number even more impressive is that the franchise only has three games released on PS3, and two PSVita games that probably didn't contribute a great deal to that total at all.
Fortunately for gamers while Naughty Dog have never carried thier franchises from one generation into the next (Crash Bandicoot was PSOne, Jak & Daxter was PS2) that is not the case here with the studio moving the Uncharted franchise from PS3 onto Sony's newest console, the Playstation 4.
Driving the jeep down the mountainside.
It's fair to say that Uncharted was a key franchise for Sony in the last generation, and they will certainly have high hopes that the positve reviews and sales carry through to Uncharted 4: A Thief's End which is a PS4 exclusive. It will be a big title for gamers too as it will apparently bring closure to Nathan Drake's journey. So, yes, this could very well be the last Uncharted game we will ever see, so what's it about?
Several years after his last adventure, retired fortune hunter, Nathan Drake, is forced back into the world of thieves. With the stakes much more personal, Drake embarks on a globe-trotting journey in pursuit of a historical conspiracy behind a fabled pirate treasure. His greatest adventure will test his physical limits, his resolve, and ultimately what he’s willing to sacrifice to save the ones he loves.
Character modelling is stunning of course.
As expected Uncharted 4 continues the third person action adventure style as seen in the previous games, but with the added power of the PS4 the developers seem to be pushing the boundaries like never before. After last years demo showing Nathan Drake fighting in a large open-world clifftop jungle setting th 2015 E3 Show demo saw Nathan, with Sully, battling through a crowded marketplace before jumping into a jeep (which is now fully drivable) and careening down a mountainside before finally racing vehicles through a village while battling numerous enemies. It's thrilling stuff and shows that the the franchise is still set to be filled yet again with some amazing set pieces.
One thing that is very evident from the live demo shown off at E3 2015 is the phenomenal level of detail in the game world. No, we're not just talking about the visuals but the incidental details - objects get destroyed with gunfire and explosions, items move realistically (check out the antenna on the vehicle as it drives down the mountain, and the game transitions seamlessly between cut-scenes and gameplay with no hint of loading.
Cities are vibrant, bustling and detailed.
We don't actually know much about the multiplayer in this game as yet, other then it will be included in the final release and that there won't be dedicated servers with the game relying on peer-to-peer matchmaking. Fortunately those who purchase the brilliant Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection will get access to the Uncharted 4 Multiplayer Beta when it goes live in early December 2015 and runs for 10 days meaning those who get it from Santa will miss out sadly. Still, if Uncharted 4's multiplayer is like Naughty Dog's other titles then it should be pretty special indeed with unique game modes, slick gameplay and plenty of options. Of course, we will update this preview as more details are released in the leadup to launch.
Elana is also returning to Uncharted 4.
As you can see from the surrounding screenshots, and indeed the video of the playthrough from E3 2015 below, this is a stunningly gorgeous title. In fact, we would go so far as to say we haven't seen a better looking video game ever. From the opening moments of the demo when Nathan walks into the crowded marketplace you know this is a benchmark title, but it's the little things you notice, everthing moves in the breeze, when the action starts so much is destructable from walls to benches, to boxes, when the vehicle drives down the mountain fences and objects shatter as they get hit (we do, however, have to question how strong the metal roofs are to hold up the jeep!).
Nathan Drake has a bit of a lie down!
Lighting, texturing, modelling, and animation are all stunning and to think the game isn't due out for at least 9 more months makes the mind boggle just how much more it could still improve. Also confirmed is the fact that the cut-scenes will all be running in realtime, and not pre-rendered as the PS4 hardware is powerful enough to have the same character model used in-game as the cut-scenes, and also render the lighting and effects as desired.
While Uncharted 4: A Thief's End was expected to launch at the end of 2015, in March this year the developers confirmed that game would be pushed back to Spring 2016 with a March 18, 2016 release date finally set by Sony and Naughty Dog. We know this will be fantastic and what's a couple more months for something as groundbreaking as Uncharted 4: A Thief's End? Besides, that gives us a bit more time to play through the phenomenally impressive original trilogy - which is releasing in remastered form on PS4 this October.
Below is the extended playthrough video from E3 2015 which shows even more then was seen at Sony's Press Conference. This really is a stunning example of what to expect from the game so check it out.