Creative Director Discusses Uncharted 4’s Cut Content

May 24, 2016 Written by Jason Dunning

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In a spoiler-filled interview with Rolling Stone’s Glixel following the release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Creative Director Neil Druckmann discussed a number of topics, including needing to dismiss a focus tester.

[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T COMPLETED UNCHARTED 4]

During the interview, Druckmann was asked about all the ladders and crates in Uncharted 4, replying that they were included so you could work with an ally, helping bind you to the characters in the process. After mentioning that he hears the criticism about these sections, he added, “Believe it or not, we had way more boxes and ladder boosts than what the game actually ended up with. This is a much-reduced version of that.”

Druckmann then discussed some of the cut content from Uncharted 4, taking it from a list he hasn’t shared with anybody:

There used to be a cooking sequence, where you were actually mixing in ingredients. You could make the food too spicy, and they would have different dialogue, depending on how spicy you made it. That got cut.

There was a whole sequence where you were walking around the prison yard, talking to people, and you’re looking for Sam. It just felt like we needed to get on with it.

In Scotland, you could do a snowball fight. This was actually fully working. You could pick up snow anywhere and throw it at Sam, and he would throw snowballs at you. But tonally, that just felt wrong.

And when the map room starts collapsing, we had this whole sequence where the crane is collapsing into the cave, and you’re climbing through the cabin in the crane, and holding as it’s rotating and flipping. With production winding down, that was probably the toughest cut, because it was so far along.

You could play fetch with the dog in the epilogue. There was a ball when you walked outside, and you could pick it up and throw it, and the dog had A.I. to actually pick it up and run back to you. But the animation looked kind of janky.

The other mechanic that was pretty cool was shootable handholds. There were certain surfaces that if you shot at them, it would create holes, and you could use them to climb. And it just felt like it was hard to create the right language for that, and make sure you always had ammo for those places. But as a prototype, it was a really fun mechanic.

Until very late in production, Uncharted 4 didn’t open with the boat. Instead, it started with the nun saying Nate’s name, and then the game cutting to him. Additionally, the boat sequence previously saw you getting thrown into the water, forcing you to swim to shore. “You spent several minutes swimming to shore and being lost at sea. It just felt really long and unnecessary,” he said.

Druckmann was also bummed about the scene in the manor when you’re playing with the two kids. Originally, they picked up swords off the wall and pretended to sword fight, and Naughty Dog wanted to use the same mechanic you’d use at the final boss fight.

As for how Uncharted 4 has changed since the original pitch, Druckmann said the flashbacks “used to be just one cut scene in the beginning of Nathan and his brother Sam entering the orphanage, and his brother saying, ‘I’m going to take care of you,'” and there weren’t any interactive flashbacks at all.

Looking all the way back to when Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley took over Uncharted 4 from Amy Hennig, he says one thing that they didn’t want to change was killing off Nate:

I knew we didn’t want to kill Nathan Drake, or kill any of the main characters, because tonally that felt wrong. Even though I knew in marketing we wanted to do everything we can to make people feel like we might.

What are some changes you would have liked to see in Uncharted 4?

[Source: Rolling Stone]