The descendants are a species of former humans living on the hidden island in Drake's Fortune. As their name implies, they are the descendants of the Spanish colonists who took the treasure of El Dorado from the Amazon. They served a major role in the later chapters, with signs and sightings appearing throughout the game.
Prior to Drake's Fortune
At some point, approximately four hundred years prior to the events of Drake's Fortune, Spanish colonists uncovered ancient temple ruins in the Amazon, as well as a giant gold sarcophagus. They dubbed it El Dorado and took it to their newly colonized island. There, the Spanish colonists opened the sarcophagus and were subsequently wiped out by their mutated countrymen. The survivors, which must have been numerous, had at the time infested the Drowned City, but were forced out after Sir Francis Drake bombed the customs house, causing the city to flood. He also sank his own ships, as he believed the descendants might have used them to leave the island. After his men were eventually all slain, he also perished, albeit in front of the heart of the Spanish' treasure vault, in front of El Dorado.
Since then, about 340 years passed, and the descendants proceeded to breed and grow in numbers, seemingly establishing a new home underneath the Spanish monastery and the treasure vault. Around the 1940s, they seemingly left the Nazis to construct a complete bunker with a dock for their U-boats. The Nazis also found and took El Dorado from the vault, and moved it to a different cavern, underneath the church. They discovered the truth about the contents themselves, as shown on recorded footage, in which a Nazi soldier was tied up and acting enraged. However, the descendants eventually wiped out the Nazis en masse, removing most of their corpses from the bunker, but leaving their weapons scattered around.
The first sign of the descendants appeared in "A Surprising Find", when Nathan Drake noticed the Nazi U-boat's captain was "ripped to shreds", indicating they could have been mauled by an escaped descendant they were transporting to the Amazon. In "Plane-wrecked", as Nate trekked through the island jungle, he spotted numerous simplistic markers placed right at the jungle line in clear areas, as well as one hanging from a cliff in front of a short tunnel, near a ruined bridge. There were also numerous wooden spike traps, which were repeatedly triggered by the hapless pirates he encountered.
In "Unlocking the Past", Eddy Raja revealed that his men could not go outside alone, as something was picking them off, although Nate shrugged this off. It is not until "Sanctuary?", however, that Nate and Elena found another spike trap, this time with an impaled pirate on it. They deduced that some third party must have built them after they noticed the scrap metal from their plane, the Hog Wild. Upon looking down, Nate spotted a two-toed footprint in the mud and figured that something has been around this area since the trap was sprung. In "Going Underground", Eddy again hinted at something else killing his men, but he was dismissed by Gabriel Roman and Atoq Navarro for failing to kill Drake and keep the island secure as required.
They again witnessed many more markers in the monastery area, especially in the church. Later on in the treasure vault, during the namesake chapter "The Treasure Vault", as Nate ventured through the labyrinth of paths, two mutants were spotted leaping around, one in the first section, and one in the second section. One could also hear the strange noises and howls that echoed in the distance. In "The Heart of the Vault", after Eddy and his pirate crew stormed the vault, they subsequently ended up wiped out entirely by the descendants. Nate witnessed a scared Eddy and one of his pirates, Prakoso, accidentally stumbling into him, as they were fleeing away from the dying screams from their fellow pirates.
At this point, the first descendant appeared in full view, grabbing Prakoso and dragging him into a pit. They then proceeded to attack Nate and Eddy, eventually managing to kill the latter. They then chased Nate and Elena into the bunker, where during another namesake chapter "The Bunker", more descendants were encountered, especially after Nate restored the power, which triggered a large group of them. He fought and killed dozens of them during "Unwelcome Guests", with the descendants also fighting and killing many of Atoq Navarro's mercenaries.
In an underground cavern during "Gold and Bones", Navarro tricked Roman into opening the sarcophagus of El Dorado, which caused him to mutate, gaining black eyes and furiously trying to attack Navarro, who then promptly shot him in the head. Shortly after, the descendants themselves began flooding the cavern while Navarro's men airlifted the sarcophagus out of the cave, killing the remaining mercenaries due to their numbers. They were not seen again, as Nate escaped the island by dangling on the net of the airlifted treasure.
The descendants do not appear in Among Thieves, but a few references to them are made by Nate. In his journal, he described them as "slippery naked people" for his 'scare-o-meter'.
During the chapter "Desperate Times", after Chloe Frazer got trapped in an elevator, Nate muttered, "Great, power's out, and a girl's trapped. I swear to God, if there's a zombie around the next corner..." as he walked, alluding to the descendants. He made this reference because of how similar the scenario was in comparison to when Elena had to wait for Nate to activate the elevator in the German bunker by activating a generator, fighting descendants in the process.
People affected by whatever lies inside the shell of El Dorado will gain black eyes and attack anything in a mad rage. However, they still have the capacity and instinct to breed, as shown in their descendants, who lost many of their typically human features. They crawl on all four limbs, moving with ape-like agility, and can use their clawed hands and feet[a] to scale walls with relative ease. They retain the pitch-black eyes but have lost part of their nose and body hair. Plus they also gain large hands with elongated fingers. They have either pale white or slightly more tanned skin, and they do not appear to be capable of speech, only producing feral growls, screeches, and roars. They only wear loincloths and some sort of leather straps fitted close to their body.
In combat, they resort to either swiping with their massive claws or attempting to jump onto their victim and bite them in the neck or snap it, although whenever Nate was attacked by them up close, he could shake them off in case of the latter. They are not seemingly aware of guns, proceeding to charge their targets with reckless abandonment no matter what. Despite this, some also appeared to possess enough intelligence to stalk their prey and even built traps around the island. Their apparent intelligence becomes more clear when taking into account their numerous markers, serving possibly only as a way to claim a territory.
Said markers were typically constructed out of branches and twine, with skulls on top. Other variants include the hanging of ropes from tall objects, with a few random objects being hung up in knots on the ropes. In "Gold and Bones", it is possible to spot several markers with objects from the pirates, such as jerrycans. El Dorado's main chamber was also filled with them, spanning most of the walls, even including a pair of jeep bodies hanging on ropes from the ceiling, seemingly taken from the pirates' vehicle wreckages left behind after "Out of the Frying Pan".
Behind the scenes
In PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Drake's level 3 Super Move allows him to transform his opponents into descendants.
- Despite the descendants having clawed feet, Nate initially finds a footprint with two human-like toes, earlier in "Sanctuary?".