Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is the first installment in the Uncharted series, developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was originally released in November 2007 for the PlayStation 3. Originally announced at E3 2006, the title was 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 for the PlayStation 4 by Bluepoint Games.
Combining platforming and third-person shooter elements, the game covers the journey of protagonist 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 "Sully" 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 a SCEE Platinum version on August 1, 2008, then as a US Greatest Hits on August 17, 2009.
Gameplay in Drake's Fortune is a combination of three-dimensional platforming and third-person shooter gameplay elements. Platforming elements allow Drake to jump, swim, grab and move along ledges, as well as climb and swing from ropes. Players can perform other acrobatic actions that allow them to traverse along the ruins in the various areas of the island that Drake explores.
The game also features reward points, which can be gained by collecting sixty hidden treasures in the game that glimmer momentarily, and by 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.
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.
Finding the coffinEdit
The game opens with fortune hunter Nathan "Nate" Drake recovering Francis Drake's coffin, which was buried at sea over 400 years ago. He is assisted by journalist Elena Fisher, who is there to record the events for a documentary. The two discover the coffin to be empty, except for a diary written by Sir Francis Drake, whom Nate claims to be his ancestor. The empty coffin proves 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 are ambushed by a band of pirates led by Eddy Raja, one of Nate's old rivals. While fighting off the pirates, Nate and Elena's boat ends up getting extremely damaged. The two are forced to flee and jump into the ocean before it blows to pieces. They are rescued by Victor "Sully" Sullivan, Nate's best friend and mentor, who arrives in his seaplane.
The Search for El DoradoEdit
At shore, Nate details Sully on his findings. Sir Francis' diary documents that his final treasure hunt was to find El Dorado, the lost city of gold. Nate and Sully decide to leave Elena behind after fearing that her publishing of the documentary would attract rivals. They travel to a region in the Amazon Rainforest, where they find ruins of an ancient South American civilization, and clues that suggest El Dorado is in fact not a city of gold, but a large gold statue, that was removed long ago. Angered, Sully reveals to Nate that he is in debt, and was particularly relying on this job. Searching further, Nate and Sully discover a long-abandoned German U-Boat stuck in the Amazon river. Nate gives Sully the diary to hold on to while he investigates. Nate discovers its dead crew, a missing page from Sir Francis Drake's diary, and a map that points to a southern tropic island, where the statue was likely taken.
Before they can leave, Nate and Sully are accosted 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 is revealed that Sully's debt is with Roman, and he had promised Roman to pay him off with the fortune from El Dorado. However, Roman chooses to follow up on Sully's information and find the treasure himself. They take the map from Nate and prepare to kill him, but Sully tries to intervene and is shot instead. Suddenly, the U-Boat explodes (the result of a torpedo Nate accidentally triggered). Nate uses the distraction to flee from them, and then runs into Elena, who had followed them from the dock. They manage to escape in Sully's seaplane to the island where the statue is believed to be.
After being shot down near the island, the two become separated after parachuting, leaving Nate to travel to the wreckage of the plane, while combating the pirates that had ambushed him and Elena earlier. He retrieves a map and spots Elena's parachute hanging from a nearby fort. At the fort, Nate is captured by the pirates, revealed to be led by Eddy Raja, Nate's former colleague. Eddy tries to make a deal with Nate in which he'll spare his life if he leads him to the gold. Shortly after, Elena rescues Nate, and they escape the fort to a flooded city. The two find out through a log book in the Customs House, that the statue was moved further inland. Elena records the supposedly dead Sully working with Roman and Navarro, causing her to believe he is a traitor. Nate is unconvinced however, and heading north, they decide to follow him to the monastery. After confronting him, Sully explains that the diary Nate had given him blocked the bullet, and that he convinced Roman to let him help them find the treasure. In fact, Sully had been feeding them useless information to buy himself time.
The three of them find a series of maze-like tunnels below the monastery. Searching these tunnels, Nate overhears an argument between Roman, Navarro and Eddy, which reveals that Roman hired Eddy to capture Nate and keep the island secure, with the reward being a share of the gold of El Dorado. After Nate's escape, Roman doubts Eddy's ability to do his job further and ignores his superstitious claim that something cursed on the island is killing his men, leading him to dismiss Eddy and his crew.
Nate and Elena find a passage leading to a large treasure vault, in which they find the body of Drake, assuming that he died on the island searching for the treasure. Before they move on, they encounter Eddy and his crew running for his life, being chased by mutated humans possessing incredible speed and strength. The creatures are the Spanish "Descendants." The two team up to take them down. Soon afterwards, Eddy is killed when one drags him into a pit. Nate and Elena escape and find themselves in an abandoned German Bunker. Nate ventures out into the base to restore power to the bunker. Along the way, he takes a look at a projector and discovers that the Germans had sought the statue during World War II, but like the Spaniards before them, learned that the statue was cursed, which 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 too was killed by the mutants.
Nate tries to find a way back to Elena, but finds her captured by Roman and Navarro. He reunites with Sully outside of the monastery and informs him about the curse. Under the monastery, Nate and Sully are held at gunpoint and find that Roman has secured the statue. Navarro urges Roman to open the casket, which holds the mummy of El Dorado inside. Roman inhales the dust from the rotting corpse and begins to mutate, leading Navarro to shoot Roman in the head, as he had planned all along to steal the statue and sell the mutagen as a biological weapon. The statue is lifted out by a helicopter as the mercenaries are attacked by the Descendants.
Nate jumps onto the net the statue is suspended in, and is taken to a tanker ship nearby. They crash-land after Elena kicks a mercenary out of the helicopter, whose M4 discharges into the pilot's head. Nate fights his way to the deck, killing numerous mercenaries. On the deck, Navarro and Nate fist fight until Nate knocks Navarro unconscious. As Nate pulls an injured Elena from the helicopter, Navarro regains consciousness and raises his gun, but Nate pushes the helicopter off the ship, with the rope connecting the helicopter to the statue becoming tangled around Navarro's leg, plunging him and the statue into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Elena returns Francis Drake's ring that Nate had previously left at the corpse of Francis Drake, and she and Nate lean in to kiss 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 reminds Nate that because she lost her camera, he still owes her a story. As the boat sails towards the horizon, Nate assures her he will not break his promise.
After completing Jak 3, Naughty Dog assembled their most technically-talented staff members and began development of Uncharted: 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. Naughty Dog 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. Fisher's character underwent changes during development; in early trailers for the game, the character had dark brown hair, but ultimately the color 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.
Graphics and technologyEdit
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 familiarize 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.
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 song "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|
Trophies and PlayStation HomeEdit
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.
Arne Meyer: You'll be able to get up to 48 trophies in Uncharted. There are 47 trophies related to what you do in the game—finding treasures, hand-to-hand or gun combat and the like—and the last one is the Platinum Trophy for getting all the other trophies.
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. This sequel was revealed to be entitled 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.
An Uncharted dual pack containing both Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was also released on September 6, 2011 in North America.
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 mini-game 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 Uncharted 2: 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.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was well received by game 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 Drake and Fisher, calling them 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," "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 received well, 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 lighting effects greatly adding to them. The game's 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, and 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 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.
- ↑ Nix, Marc (5/8/2006). "E3 2006: Eyes-on Naughty Dog's Untitled Trailer". IGN. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Matt Martin (7/17/2008). "MotorStorm, Uncharted, Resistance first Platinum titles for Europe". gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Randolph Ramsay (10/26/2007). "Q&A: Naughty Dog on Uncharted". Gamespot.com. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Wells, Evan (January 2008). "PlayStation POV: Drake's Fortune Post Mortem". PlayStation: The Official Magazine. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Nelson, Randy (November 2007). "Off The Chart - Uncharted: Drake's Fortune". PlayStation: The Official Magazine. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ "GameRankings: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune". Game Rankings. Retrieved June 17, 2916.
- ↑ "MetaCritic: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune". Metacritic. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune for PlayStation 3 (2007)". Mobygames. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Ford, Greg (11/14/2007). "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3)". 1UP. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ "アンチャーテッド エル・ドラドの秘宝". Famitsu. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Kim, Tai (11/27/2007). "Review: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune". GamePro. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Helgeson, Matt (December 2007). "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Review". Game Informer. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Davis, Ryan (11/19/2007). "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune". GameSpot. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ McGarvey, Sterling (11/14/2007). "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3)". GameSpy. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Miller, Greg (11/13/2007). "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Review". IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
- ↑ Pinter, Justin (11/28/2007). "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Review". PSU. Retrieved June 17, 2016.