Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is the first installment in the Uncharted series, developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was originally released in November 2007 for the PlayStation 3. Originally announced at E3 2006, the title was being developed for approximately two years before being released at the end of 2007. In October 2015, as part of promotion for A Thief's End, Drake's Fortune was released alongside its two PS3 sequels as part of the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, remastered by Bluepoint Games for the PlayStation 4.
Combining platforming and third-person shooter elements, the game covers the journey of fortune hunter Nathan Drake, supposed descendant of the English explorer Francis Drake, as he seeks the lost treasure of El Dorado with the help of journalist Elena Fisher and friend and mentor Victor Sullivan.
Upon release Drake's Fortune was well received by critics, many of whom cited its technical achievements and its high production values similar to that of summer blockbuster films. A commercial success, the game went on to sell over one million copies in ten weeks and was republished as an SCEE Platinum version on August 1, 2008, then as a US Greatest Hits on August 17, 2009.
The game's gameplay combines three-dimensional platforming with elements of third-person shooting. Drake is able to jump, swim, grab, and move along ledges, as well as climb and swing from ropes or vines. He can perform other acrobatic actions that allow him to traverse along the ruins in the various areas of the island that is explored throughout most of the game.
The game features a fairly large variety of weapons Drake can acquire in various locations. Ammunition pickups are available from enemy-dropped weapons, and weapons already placed around the environment, whereas grenades can only be acquired by finding them in the area. When in enemy combat, the player can carry up to two weapons; a one-handed weapon, usually a pistol or revolver, and a two-handed weapon, typically a rifle or shotgun, and up to four grenades. By tilting the SIXAXIS controller up or down, the player can adjust the size of the aiming arc. The same function is also used when balancing across thin surfaces like fallen logs, though this was removed in the PS4 remaster.
When engaging enemies up close, the player can have Drake perform melee attacks, such as the Brutal Combo, which are carried out by button sequences. In certain situations, he can also sneak up on them from behind for an instant stealth kill. In the midst of combat, Drake can also take cover behind several obstacles, barriers, and walls, and is also able to blind fire at enemies while doing so to avoid return fire. Drake is also able to blind fire without using cover, for decreased accuracy but without the need to take time to aim. Several reviewers compared these third-person perspective elements to those of Gears of War. Similarly, the game, as well as its sequels, features no health bar. Instead, the graphics will fade in color as the player takes damage. The screen color restores itself as the player avoids damage for a little while.
Vehicle segments are another feature in the game. They involve Drake needing to protect the jeep controlled by him and Elena, using a mounted turret. Featuring more prominently than jeep segments are jet-ski segments, where Drake and Elena ride along flooded routes while avoiding enemy fire and explosive barrels. While players direct Drake in driving the vehicle, they may also aim Elena's weapon in order to clear the way.
The game also features reward points, which can be gained by collecting sixty hidden treasures and completing certain accomplishments, such as achieving a number of kills using a specific weapon, performing a number of headshots, or using specific methods of killing enemies. In subsequent playthroughs of the game, the player can use these rewards points to unlock special options; these include in-game bonuses, such as alternate costumes and unlimited ammunition but also non-game extras, such as behind the scenes videos and concept art. In the Collection, points were removed entirely, and rewards are instead unlocked through game completion.
Regardless of which regional version is purchased, the game is censored when playing on a Japanese console to remove blood, which normally appears when shooting enemies.
Drake's Fortune is set mostly in an uncharted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, somewhere off the coast of Peru. It becomes the major setting in the game after Nate and his allies have visited the two initial locations: Panama and the Amazon rainforest, which is home to an abandoned temple and a German U-boat.
The hidden island is a 16th century Spanish colony, located at Kreigsmarine coordinates UK2642. It consists of a long, dense jungle, an old fortress, a flooded civilization, and a monastery that holds a treasure vault. It was also the location of the lethal golden statue known as El Dorado, known for spreading a virus that would mutate its victim into a descendant. The island once served as some sort of residency for the Spanish and Nazis, and currently the Spanish descendants mutated by El Dorado. During the events of the game, it is heavily populated by a gang of pirates, who mostly patrol around the fortress and Drowned City, and mercenaries, who initially appear in the Amazon and mainly patrol the monastery.
Nathan Drake had recovered the lost coffin of Sir Francis Drake, who was buried at sea over 400 years ago. He was assisted by Elena Fisher, who was there to record the events for a documentary. The two discovered the coffin to be empty, except for a diary written by Sir Francis, whom Nate claimed to be his ancestor. The empty coffin proved Nate's theory that Sir Francis faked his death in his final years to embark on one last treasure hunt. Shortly after, Nate and Elena were ambushed by a band of pirates. While fighting off the pirates, Nate and Elena's salvage vessel ended up extremely damaged, forcing the two to flee and jump into the ocean before it blew to pieces. They were rescued by Victor Sullivan, who came to their rescue in his seaplane.
At shore, Nate detailed Sully on his findings. According to Drake's diary, his final treasure hunt was to find El Dorado, the lost city of gold. Nate and Sully decided to leave Elena behind, as Sully feared that her publishing of the documentary would attract rivals. The two traveled to a rainforest in the Amazon, where they found ruins of an ancient South American civilization and clues that suggested El Dorado was in fact not a city of gold but a large gold statue that was removed ages ago. A frustrated Sully revealed to Nate that he was in debt and was particularly relying on finding this gold. Searching further, Nate and Sully discovered a long-abandoned German U-boat stuck in the Amazon river. Nate searched the vessel alone and discovered a dead crew, a missing page from Drake's diary, and a map that pointed to a southern tropic island, where the statue was likely taken.
Before they could leave, Nate and Sully were confronted by Gabriel Roman, a competitive treasure hunter who has hired the services of mercenaries led by Atoq Navarro, Roman's lieutenant and an archaeologist with extensive knowledge of the region and the statue itself. It was revealed that Sully's debt was with Roman, and he had promised Roman to pay him off with the fortune from El Dorado. However, Roman chose to follow up on Sully's information and find the treasure himself. They took the map from Nate and prepared to kill him, but when Sully tried to intervene, Roman shot him instead, just moments before the U-Boat exploded (the result of a torpedo Nate accidentally triggered). Nate used the distraction to flee from Roman and Navarro and then ran into Elena, who delivered a firm punch to Nate's face for leaving her behind at the docks. After informing her of Sully's death, the two worked together to find a way out of the rainforest and escape the mercenaries. They escaped in Sully's seaplane and were en route to the uncharted island where the statue was believed to be.
After being shot down near the island, Nate and Elena became separated after parachuting, leaving Nate to travel to the wreckage of the plane, while combating more of the pirates that had destroyed their boat earlier. After retrieving the map from the wreckage, he spotted Elena's parachute hanging from a nearby fortress. There, Nate was captured by the pirates, revealed to be led by Eddy Raja, Nate's former colleague. Eddy tried to make a deal with Nate, in which he would spare him his life if he were to lead him to the gold. Shortly after, Elena busted Nate out of the prison, and they used a jeep to flee across the island until they were led to a flooded city. At this point, Nate no longer felt it was worth it to continue going after the treasure due to their poor odds against the pirates and therefore was determined to give up and head for an escape boat he spotted from some footage Elena showed him.
After jet-skiing through the flooded city, fending off numerous pirates, the two ventured through the customs house and found out through a log book that the El Dorado statue was moved further inland. Later, as the two temporarily parted ways, Elena managed to capture footage of the supposedly dead Sully working with Roman and Navarro, causing her to believe he was a traitor. When she showed Nate this, he was unconvinced but was determined to find him, either to rescue him or confront him, telling her that he'll just confront him anyway. Heading north, he and Elena rode another jet ski to the monastery, where they fought through hordes of Navarro's mercenaries. Once they found Sully, he explained that the diary Nate had given him protected him from the bullet and that he convinced Roman to let him help them find the treasure, only so he could feed them useless information to buy himself time.
The three of them found a series of maze-like tunnels below the monastery. Searching these tunnels, Nate overheard an argument between Roman, Navarro, and Eddy, which revealed that Roman hired Eddy to capture Nate and keep the island secure, with the reward being a share of El Dorado. After Nate's escape, Roman doubted Eddy's ability to do his job further and ignored his superstitious claim that something cursed on the island was killing off his men, leading him to dismiss him and his crew.
Nate and Elena found a passage leading to a large treasure vault, in which they find the body of Francis Drake, assuming that he died on the island searching for the treasure. Before continuing on, they once again encountered Eddy and his crew, who were running for their lives, being chased by mutated humans possessing incredible speed and strength. The creatures happened to be the Spanish "descendants". Despite their ongoing grudge, the two teamed up to take the creatures down, after one dragged one of Eddy's men (Prakoso) down the pit. Soon afterwards, Eddy was also killed when one dragged him into a pit, leaving Nate alone to fight for himself. Nate and Elena escaped and found themselves in an abandoned German bunker. Nate ventured out into the base to restore its power. Along the way, he took a look at a projector and discovered that the Germans had sought the statue during World War II, but like the Spaniards before them, learned that the statue was cursed, as it caused them to become mutants. Sir Francis, knowing of the statue's power, was actually trying to keep it on the island, by destroying the ships and flooding the city, before he was also killed by the mutants.
Nate ventured his way back to Elena but found her captured by Roman and Navarro. He reunited with Sully outside of the monastery and informed him about the curse and Elena's capture. Under the monastery, Nate and Sully were held at gunpoint and found that Roman had secured the statue. Navarro urged Roman to open the casket, which held the mummy of El Dorado inside. Roman inhaled the dust from the rotting corpse and began to mutate, leading Navarro to shoot Roman in the head, thus revealing his betrayal to Roman and his plan to steal the statue and sell the mutagen as a biological weapon. The statue was lifted out by a helicopter as the mercenaries were attacked by the descendants.
While Sully stayed behind to fend off the mercenaries and descendants, Nate jumped onto the net the statue was suspended in and was carried to a tanker ship nearby. They crash-landed onto a large freighter after Elena kicked a mercenary out of the helicopter, whose rifle discharged into the pilot's head. Nate fought his way to the deck, killing numerous mercenaries. On the deck, Navarro and Nate fist fought until Nate knocked Navarro unconscious. As Nate pulled an injured Elena from the helicopter, Navarro regained consciousness and raised his gun. Nate acted quickly by pushing the helicopter off the ship, with the rope connecting the helicopter to the statue becoming tangled around Navarro's leg, causing him and the statue to plunge into the depths of the ocean.
Elena returned Francis Drake's ring that Nate had previously left at Drake's corpse. She and Nate leaned in to kiss, shortly before being interrupted by Sully on a small speedboat, having escaped the island and killed several pirates, taking several boxes of treasure from them. On the boat ride, Elena reminded Nate that because she lost her camera, he still owed her a story. As the boat sailed off towards the sun, Nate assured her he was good for it.
After the development of Jak 3, Naughty Dog assembled their most technically-talented staff members and began development of Drake's Fortune under the codename Big. It was in full production for about two years, with a small team of engineers working on the game for about a year beforehand. The company decided to create a brand new IP rather than opt to develop a PlayStation 3 Jak and Daxter game; they wanted to create a franchise suitable for the new hardware, in order to develop such ideas as realistic human characters instead of stylized ones owing to limitations of previous hardware, as well as create something "fresh and interesting", although termed as 'stylized realism'. Inspiration was drawn from various sources in the action and adventure genres: pulp magazines, movie serials, and more contemporary titles like Indiana Jones and National Treasure. The team felt the sources shared themes of mystery and "what-if scenarios" that romanticized adventure and aimed to include those in Uncharted.
The game was first unveiled at E3 2006. From early previews of the game, inevitable comparisons of elements such as platforming and shooting between Uncharted and the well-known Tomb Raider series were drawn, earning the title the nickname of "Dude Raider". However, the developers saw their game as concentrating more on third-person cover-based play, in contrast to Tomb Raider's "auto-aiming" play and greater puzzle-solving elements. Throughout the game's development, the staff tried to remain flexible and detached from the original design concepts; attention was focused on the features that worked well, while features that did not work were removed. The development team intended the game's main setting, the island, to play a big role in the overall experience. Feeling too many games used bleak, dark settings with monochromatic color schemes, they wanted the island to be a vibrant, believable game world that immersed the player and encouraged exploration.
In designing the characters, the artists aimed for a style that was photorealistic. The creators envisaged the main protagonist, Nathan Drake, as more of an everyman character than Lara Croft, shown as clearly under stress in the game's many firefights, with no special training and constantly living at the edge of his abilities. Director Amy Hennig felt a heavily-armored, "tough as nails" protagonist with a large weapon was not a suitable hero and decided a "tenacious and resourceful" character would portray more human qualities. Supporting characters Elena Fisher and Victor Sullivan were included to avoid a dry and emotionless story. Elena's character underwent changes during development; in early trailers for the game, the character had dark brown hair, but the color was ultimately changed to blonde, and the style was altered.
The game went gold in October 2007. A demo was then released on November 8, 2007 on the PlayStation Network before its final release on November 19 in North America. The demo was first placed on the North American store and was initially region-locked, such that it would only play on a North American PS3. However, this was later confirmed as a mistake, as the developers were apparently unaware that people from different regions could sign up for a North American account and download the demo; a region-free demo was released soon after.
In 2010, Naughty Dog employees at PAX introduced a non-existent "third-and-a-half" level that would emphasize stealth and elaborate on the character of Atoq Navarro. 
Graphics and technology
Uncharted uses the Cell microprocessor to generate dozens of layered character animations to portray realistic expressions and fluid movements, which allow for responsive player control. The PlayStation 3's graphics processing unit employed several functions to provide graphical details that helped immerse the player into the game world: lighting models, pixel shaders, dynamic real-time shadowing, and advanced water simulation. The new hardware allowed for processes which the team had never used in PlayStation 2 game development and required them to quickly become familiar with the new techniques; for example, parallel processing and pixel shaders.
While the Blu-ray technology afforded greater storage space, the team became concerned with running out of room several times—Uncharted used more and bigger textures than previous games and included several languages on the disc. Gameplay elements requiring motion sensing, such as throwing grenades and walking across beams, were implemented to take advantage of the Sixaxis controller. A new PlayStation 3 controller, the DualShock 3, was unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show and featured force feedback vibration. Uncharted was also on display at the show with demonstrations that implemented limited vibration compatibility.
Being Naughty Dog's first PlayStation 3 game, the project required the company to familiarize themselves with the new hardware, and resulted in several development mistakes. The switch from developing for the PlayStation 2 to the PlayStation 3 prompted the staff to implement changes to their development technology. Naughty Dog switched to the industry standard language C++ in order to participate in technology sharing among Sony's first-party developers; the company had previously used their own proprietary programming language, GOAL, a Lisp-based language.
In rewriting their game code, they decided to create new programming tools as well. However, this switch delayed the team's progress in developing a prototype, as the new tools proved to be unreliable and too difficult to use. Ten months into full production, the team decided to recreate the game's pipeline, the chain of processing elements designed to progress data through a system. In retrospect, Naughty Dog's Co-President Evan Wells considered this the greatest improvement to the project Additionally, the animation blending system was rewritten several times to obtain the desired character animations.
Trophies and PlayStation Home
The game was patched on August 4, 2008 in Europe and North America to version 1.01 to include support for the PlayStation 3's trophy system. There are 47 trophies in the game that match the medals that can already be won in the game and one further trophy, the Platinum Trophy, awarded when all other trophies have been collected; Uncharted was the first PlayStation 3 game to include the Platinum Trophy type. Similar to other PlayStation 3 titles that receive trophy support via downloaded patches, players must start a new save game to be awarded trophies, regardless of how many medals they received in previous playthroughs. This was enforced because the developers wanted to avoid the sharing of save data in order to gain trophies they did not earn.
The patch was described as "incredibly easy" to implement, owing to the game already containing preliminary support for trophies via its medals system. It was also stated that these hooks were already included due to Naughty Dog's belief that Sony would roll out the trophy system before the game's launch in November 2007. Despite mentioning that the game was developed as a franchise and that it lent itself to episodic content, it was later stated that no content available via download would be made for Uncharted. However, the game will integrate with PlayStation Home, and the developers will support Home with additional content. Nearly all the trophies are achievable in a single playthrough.
The soundtrack contains most of the music that is featured in the game. The music was composed by Greg Edmonson, who also composed the soundtrack for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, while DJ Shadow composed the track "El Dorado Megamix B". The soundtrack was released November 20, 2007 and features 21 tracks.
|3||"Sir Francis Drake"||1:07|
|4||"The Search for El Dorado"||2:50|
|8||"Unlocking the Past"||3:36|
|14||"A Bitter End"||1:12|
|18||"El Goddamn Dorado"||3:06|
|21||"Uncharted: The El Dorado Megamix"||4:17|
Sequel and adaptions
Shortly after the release of the game, Naughty Dog's co-president Evan Wells stated that Uncharted had been developed as a franchise, and so a sequel was likely. It was later confirmed that the development team had put their work on the next installment of Jak and Daxter on-hold to work on Uncharted 2 for release in 2009.Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in December 2008 by Game Informer and was rated a 10 out of 10 in a later issue of Game Informer upon its release.This sequel was revealed to be entitled
An Uncharted dual pack containing both Drake's Fortune and Among Thieves was also released on September 6, 2011 in North America.
The Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Motion Comic is a comic that was released to promote the game. It is split into two episodes and depicts the first few chapters of the game.
The Uncharted film, though slated for a 2017 release, has seen no progress.
Before its cancellation, Naughty Dog released an Uncharted space for the online community-based service PlayStation Home. The space was called "Sully's Bar" and featured an arcade minigame called "Mercenary Madness". There were also three other rooms in this space: "Artifact Room", "Archives", and "Smuggler's Den".
There was an artifact viewer in the Archives room and the Smuggler's Den room. Also in the Archives room, there was a video screen that would preview Among Thieves. The Artifact Room only featured seating and different artifacts to look at. This space was only available to the users of the North American version of PlayStation Home and was released on December 11, 2008.
Drake's Fortune received generally favorable reviews from critics. Prior to its release, it was expected to be a commercial success and garnered praise from the media. Game Informer complimented the visuals and dialogue between the characters Nate and Elena, referring to them as stunning and entertaining respectively. They further added that the production values appeared high, citing the level of detail and musical score. PlayStation Magazine echoed similar statements about the visuals and compared them to that of Crysis.
The overall presentation of the game received unanimous praise from critics, who recognized the game's high production values, describing them as "top-notch" and "incredible" or comparing them to those found in Hollywood. When combined with the overall style of the game, this led many reviewers to compare Uncharted to summer blockbuster films, with the action and theme of the game drawing comparisons to the Indiana Jones film series. As part of the presentation, the game's story and atmosphere were also received well. The depth of the characters was praised, each having "their own tone". The voice acting was also well received, as the cast "nails its characterizations". Overall, the voice acting was described as a "big-star performance", "superb", and "stellar".
The technical achievements in creating this presentation were also lauded. The graphics and visuals were a big part of this, including appreciation of the "lush" jungle environments, with the great addition of lighting effects. The game's realistic water effects were also appreciated. Overall, many reviewers commented that, at the time, it was one of the best-looking PlayStation 3 games available. Further to the graphical aspects, both facial animation and the animation of characters, such as Nate's "fluid" animations as he performs platforming sections, were noted, although the wilder animations of enemies reacting to being shot were over-animated "to perhaps a laughable degree".
Criticism of the game included some graphical issues, such as texture pop-in and screen tearing. Of more concern were gameplay issues, including overall gameplay length being rather short, with reviewers completing the game in anywhere from six to ten hours, as well as some disappointment with the "not particularly memorable" vehicle sections; the inability to both fire weapons and drive the jet ski was a well-noted issue. Further, some "frustrating, repetitive slogs" with regards to the "constant stream" of pirates and mercenaries, and "moving from one infuriating firefight to the next" towards the end of the game were cited as part of poorer elements of overall gameplay.
Uncharted received several accolades from web review sites such as Kotaku and IGN, who named it their PlayStation 3 game of the year. The game went on to sell one million copies after its first ten weeks of retail, and it later became one of the first batch of titles to be released as part of Europe's budget Platinum range of best-selling titles.
Sony announced at E3 2009 that Drake's Fortune has sold over 2.6 million copies worldwide and was a hit for the PlayStation 3. It became one of the major exclusive franchises of the console, much like former Naughty Dog series with former hardwares by Sony.
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