Naughty Dog’s Josh Scherr Talks Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
On rebuilding Uncharted, why the team skipped out on multiplayer, and more.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was a smash hit on PlayStation 3 when it made its debut all the way back in 2007, and it’s been chugging along as one of PlayStation’s flagship franchises ever since. Fast forward to 2015, where there are four entries in the Uncharted series — Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End coming in March 2016 — and three complete titles that have been remastered and released as Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection.
It’s a way for gamers to revisit or experience the cinematic series for the first time, following explorer Nathan Drake’s history from his storied beginnings all the way through the major turning point in his career as an adventurer. We chatted with Naughty Dog’s Josh Scherr, writer on the seminal series, about the collection and what went into its creation.
How did you decide on the name of the collection?
Nathan is an iconic character. Players who haven’t heard of Uncharted have heard of his name. We wanted to bring new players in, either those who just got a PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4 and wanted to check it out or those who are interested in revisiting the games. It allowed us to reach more people by choosing this name.
What were some of the challenges you faced while working with Bluepoint?
Bluepoint was fantastic. They did all the heavy lifting, provided assets, and worked with bits and pieces out of the archive. They recreated assets that were nine years old. I dug up old files and anything I could to help out Bluepoint. Uncharted 3 needed less than the first Uncharted, and it didn’t have as many assets archived. It required a lot of detective work trying to make sure they had all they needed to.
They improved the character models, for one. Drake’s hair from Uncharted 3 was taken to put back in the original Uncharted. They went back and fixed explosions, and really made noticeable improvements in all the games, but that wasn’t the point. The main reason wasn’t to remaster, but it was about the opportunity to get our games in front of more people, and to introduce people to the characters. Art is never finished, only abandoned. Time is limited, so you have to make choices. We wrestled with a lot of them, and wanted a lot of ideas implemented but had no time. We’re proud of what Bluepoint was able to do, including the faders and other improvements.
Why do you think that 80% of players (according to research data) didn’t get the chance to play an Uncharted game?
There were a variety of factors. There were tens of millions of copies sold, and there are hundreds of millions who own PS3s. Percentage-wise, a lot of people play game A or game B. Certain games appeal to certain people. The remastered edition allows a chance for players to experience Nathan Drake’s complete story from the beginning to the latest game for the first time, and in a package that’s convenient to pick up.
Why did you decide to exclude multiplayer from the beginning?
I actually wasn’t part of the decision-making process there. We didn’t want to split the up the community, however, and that was something we felt that would happen if we went forward with it.
If you have the opportunity, will you be releasing a new collection in the future?
We’d love to do a compilation with Uncharted 4, whether we redo the series after that we haven’t decided. The PS3 was around for the better part of a decade. Maybe we’ll see an Uncharted Remastered Remastered edition!