The Drowned City is a major location in Drake's Fortune, appearing in "The Drowned City" and "To the Tower". Located on the hidden island, it is home to the Spanish customs house, which itself is featured in "The Customs House" and "Trapped".
The Drowned City was originally established as a Spanish colony at some point in the early to late 16th century. It was later flooded due to Sir Francis Drake's actions, who called it "the cursed city", indicating it might have been the descendants' original home.
Prior to Drake's Fortune
At some point, four hundred years ago, the Spanish established the city as a colony, with the massive customs house separating it from the bay. With their demise at the hands of the descendants, who seemed to have moved into the structures at the time, the area had no recourse when Francis Drake decided to blow up part of the customs house, flooding the entire city. Nate learned of this in "Unwelcome Guests", where he found a letter left by Francis Drake that stated he was responsible for the destruction of his own ships, and the flooding of the city. He stated he did it to prevent a "great evil", the descendants, from ever leaving the island.
Nathan Drake peered at the Drowned City's customs house from atop the Spanish fortress, on the other side of the bay. He remarked that "the ships never left", indicating those belonging to Francis Drake, after which he spotted Elena Fisher also filming the location.
The city itself is first entered in "The Drowned City", directly after escaping from Eddy Raja and his pirate crew in "Out of the Frying Pan". Elena showed Nate what she recorded on her camera, noting that the harbor belonging to the customs house must have been where the Spanish unloaded their cargo. She further deduced that the El Dorado statue thus must have come through there. Nate, on the other hand, ignored her and asked her to rewind the recording, having spotted a modern boat moored at the harbor. He wanted to quit and flee the island, indicating he feared for Elena to die due to the many pirates present on the island.
Elena argued against this, saying that she did not want to be used as an excuse. The two compromised, saying that they would continue the argument once they reached the boat, and then proceeded to venture through the city using a nearby jet ski. While traveling she wondered about the reasoning for the state of the city, mentioning having once read a story about a cursed Inca treasure. Nate laughed at the idea, although he could not explain what happened either.
Eventually, they ran into a dead-end but spotted a tower with a cable leading into the customs house. After fighting through numerous pirate groups, Nate managed to reach and climb the tower and use the zipline to enter their target, after which he let Elena in as well. Inside they found a log book containing an image of El Dorado, which Nate decided to take, claiming it to be the closest they would get to finding the treasure. Sometime after they split up again, with Nate attempting to reach the boat, and Elena staying behind to take some more footage.
However, upon reaching the vessel, Nate discovered it was already occupied and the pirates loading it were about to leave with it themselves. Simultaneously, Elena arrived and showed Nate footage that proved Sully was alive, they decided to head up north to the monastery, where he supposedly was either held hostage or working for Nate's enemies.
While making their way through the customs house they had to pass across a rope bridge spanning a large gap, apparently caused by a large explosion. Elena ended up falling through the wooden boards and was forced to abandon her camera before she could be pulled up.
What remains and is seen of the city appears as a collection of buildings, placed closely together. Common features are orange-colored, tiled roofs, archways crossing from one building to another, as well as small balconies on most buildings. Due to the flooding the street below is entirely impossible to see, making it hard to accurately gauge the height of the main residential buildings, although they largely seem to be three stories high, with some reaching five. According to the map, the city is placed a small distance north of the customs house, which itself is situated at the northern shore of the bay, but in reality, it essentially borders it.
In modern times the city has clearly deteriorated, with the flooding still being present, some parts having collapsed entirely, and with many small and large plants growing atop and inside the remaining ruins. Notably, some smaller roofs and pieces of rubble support what appear to be groupings of wooden stakes, facing upwards, placed directly above the water level.
Due to the flood, the main method of traversal is by jet ski, although the pirates appear to have other means as they frequently were encountered standing on top of buildings, or shooting from balconies. From where Nate and Elena originally arrive they manage to take a winding path through the city that leads to a body of water on the northern side of the customs house. Said body of water connects to the gap in the customs house, connecting to the water from the bay.
The city itself connects to the customs house through a single bridge, with the bridge also leading to a non-flooded section of the city. Here Nate managed to access a winch that connected to a massive steel gate, which was previously blocking their access to a second river route through the city. Said route leads to another gate, which they opened by blowing off the weights keeping it up. Behind it was another non-flooded section of the city, at the of which stood a massive tower. The tower interior has almost entirely fallen away, but still contained parts of a second floor, a pair of wooden beams with a long chain that could be moved with levers, and the partially intact upper floors.
The customs house is a massive structure located at the south end of the city, positioned between it and the bay. It is large enough to be visible from the fortress on the other end of the bay, and partially still intact, although most of the interior is not visited. It is originally entered through a large door on the rear side, which connects to a small room containing ship manifests and log books. This room connects to the east wing of the fortress, with a largely collapsed third floor, and a staircase connecting to a balcony. This southern exterior features a series of balconies, all the way to the enormous central chamber.
Said chamber is the most defining element of the customs house, being covered with a large domed roof. Part of the roof has collapsed, covering part of the interior, which otherwise only contains a collection of stone pillars with various ornamental vases on-top. Past a gate is a staircase leading to a small dock, as well as another staircase leading to the west wing of the structure. The west wing is also where an explosion split the building apart, with only a rickety rope bridge crossing the gap, hung up between the third floor on either side. Past and outside the customs house is a small cave, with a staircase leading to a smaller dock that connects to the main river leading deeper into the island.
The Drowned City has also been adapted to an Among Thieves multiplayer map titled The Flooded Ruins, which was available in the Drake's Fortune multiplayer pack. The same map was revamped and featured a unique lava setting in the Molten Ruins map in the multiplayer of Drake's Deception.