Uncharted has a longstanding legacy, and after Uncharted 4, fans understandably wanted more. For the first time ever taking players away from Nathan Drake, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy focuses on a fan favorite character from Uncharted 2, Chloe Frazer, along with the underdeveloped Nadine Ross from Uncharted 4 to give them both more life and an adventure worthy of the Uncharted name. After our presentation of the game at E3 2017, we sat down with Shaun Escayg, Creative Director on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy to ask some questions about developing this new direction for the series.
PlayStation LifeStyle: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is the first real story expansion you have done for Uncharted. It initially started out as a DLC expansion to Uncharted 4, what created the drive to suddenly turn this into its own thing?
Shaun Escayg: At Naughty Dog we’re all about storytelling. We’re all about stories that test the human condition, and when we started off on this adventure, you’re right, we started it as a DLC. But we soon found out that we needed the time to get the full narrative arc in there. We explored many stories and different storylines, and the Chloe Frazer story, paired up with Nadine Ross just kept grabbing our attention. To fully tell Chloe’s story we had to go back to her origins, we had to establish the character’s arc, and it just blew up from there.
PSLS: Uncharted is all about bombastic and huge set pieces, and things blowing up and falling down. We saw a lot of the in the presentation where you think you’re safe through a door, and suddenly the floor falls out from beneath you and things are crashing through walls. As you went forward in Uncharted every new one outdid the last one in terms of set pieces. Is that something that you are striving to do with The Lost Legacy, or are you toning it back because it’s not technically Uncharted 5? Are you still pushing that envelope?
SE: Of course, of course! I would say this is the sum of all Uncharteds. Everything you have loved about it. We’ve scaled the proportions of it back to some of the original Uncharteds, where they are epic as you saw, you know these Ganesh archaeological sites of the Hoysala Empire. We’ve gone into more of the discovery, more of the adventure, I would say more set pieces even. Heavy puzzles. It’s going to be everything you want.
PSLS: So for all the Uncharted fans out there, don’t worry, it’s definitely Uncharted.
SE: Don’t worry. It’s the sum of. It’s the sum of… built on the technology, built on our knowledge base of all the Uncharteds. We really just harnessed everything we knew and learned on bringing this one.
PSLS: Is there anything unique you can do with gameplay having it be Chloe instead of Drake, or are you just giving a familiar element to everybody who loves the game?
SE: There are familiarities. There are some new things as well, but I’ll leave that to when you play it. Again, it’s the sum of. It’s built upon. It’s enhanced. It’s better. It’s made to be more. The sense of exploration. The narrative is now feeding into the gameplay a lot more. As you saw with Nadine as the [AI] co-op, she is a true partner in this game, and when she’s upset with you, she does reflect that in her partnership with you in gameplay. So it’s a combination of narrative spilling into gameplay.
PSLS: As you move away from Drake, your story has been very centered on a male protagonist and how a male would react and respond to these situations. We’ve had bits of female with Elena and with Chloe and Nadine throughout all the games, but how is it different putting a female front and center and her reactions to the situations and how they may be the same or different from how Drake responds to a lot of these situations?
SE: These are strong capable characters. Nadine Ross is a pragmatic paramilitary leader of Shoreline, kicks ass like no one else. Chloe Frazer is a witty, wheeling dealing hustler. The gameplay is enhanced by Claudia Black and Laura Bailey, they bring these characters to life, so we expect nothing less than everything that Uncharted is.
PSLS: Your villains are always very notable, very iconic villains. They come in and they are these people that you love to hate. You see their faces and you just want to kick their teeth in every time you see ’em on screen. How do you evolve? You’ve had four games of these really iconic villains, and now you’ve got to do it again, but you don’t want it to be the same.
SE: It’s always a challenge to make them different. Usman Ally who plays Asav has breathed life into this character like no one else. Asav is a very meticulous villain, unlike our other villains. He’s very intelligent. He’s sophisticated. He is formidable, but he’s an elitist as well. His backstory is that he was a doctor turned insurgent leader. So it’s grounding our characters and getting the best brew of conflict for our protagonists. That’s the Naughty Dog way.
PSLS: Is there anything that you’ve changed up or fixed in the gunplay at all? Do you feel like you’ve honed that enough through the first four games or is there further refining that can be done?
SE: We’re always refining it. New hardware, we’re always pushing it, testing it to its limits, getting more vivid graphics, building on the old gunplay, building on the old rope climbing, building on the combat.It’s a constant evolution.
PSLS: Photo mode? Can we expect photo mode with this one?
SE: Ummmm…. You can expect a lot of what you expect from Uncharted.
PSLS: I’ll state for the record he’s smiling.
PSLS: Uncharted 4 was the end of Nathan Drake’s story and it wrapped it up very beautifully. The Lost Legacy is a great way to continue the Uncharted legacy, the “lost legacy” as it were, without beating Nathan Drake’s story into the ground. Can we expect to see this franchise evolve and bloom from here?
SE: Most certainly. Our Uncharted world has such a vast cast of characters, I wouldn’t put it past anyone to take advantage of that cast. There’s such a rich history in this world, there’s such a big fanbase, anything can be expected.
PSLS: Who would win in a fight, Chloe or Lara Croft?
SE: Chloe! That’s obvious!
We’d like to thank Creative Director Shaun Escayg for taking some time to answer our questions and show off Uncharted: The Lost Legacy at E3 2017. Be sure to check out all of our E3 2017 coverage.