If you’re one of those who followed Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End from its announcement through to its release, then chances are you’ll remember the high profile departure of Amy Hennig alongside a few other developers from Naughty Dog. The game’s development went through a brief period of troubles, which gave birth to rumors that she was ousted by Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, prompting an official response from the studio denying the allegations.
While we don’t know what exactly transpired, Jason Schreier’s recently released book Blood, Sweat, and Pixels offers an interesting insight into Uncharted 4‘s development – from accounts of circumstances surrounding Hennig’s resignation to the original ideas about Sam Drake’s role in the game. You can find some excerpts courtesy of Reddit user wellgun3 below but we advise you to proceed with caution as they contain some spoilers.
Uncharted 4, as Hennig envisioned it, would introduce the world to Nathan Drake’s old partner, Sam. We hadn’t seen Sam in previous Uncharted games, because for fifteen years Nathan had thought he was dead, left behind during a Panamanian prison escape gone awry. In Hennig’s version of Uncharted 4, Sam would be one of the main villains, bitter toward Nathan for leaving him to die.
Over the course of the story, as Nathan tried to pull away from his roots as a treasure hunter, the player would find out that he and Sam were actually brothers. Eventually they’d heal their relationship and unify against the game’s real antagonist, a nasty thief named Rafe (voiced by the actor Alan Tudyk) who had served time with Sam in prison.
Some say the Uncharted 4 team didn’t get the staff and resources it needed to survive, because The Last of Us and Left Behind had vacuumed up so much of Naughty Dog’s attention. Others say that Amy Hennig had trouble making decisions and that the nascent game wasn’t shaping up very well. Some who were working on Uncharted 4 wished that there was a more cohesive direction. Others thought it was perfectly understandable, considering how small the Uncharted 4 staff was, that the game hadn’t coalesced yet.
Several people who have worked for Naughty Dog say Druckmann and Straley stopped seeing eye-to-eye with Hennig, and that they had fundamental disagreements on where to take the Uncharted series. When Hennig left, she signed a non-disparagement agreement with the studio that would prevent both her and Naughty Dog from making negative public comments about what had happened, according to people familiar with the arrangement.
Worth noting that Hennig declined an interview request for the book. Interesting info, nonetheless.
Head over to Blood, Sweat, and Pixels‘ publisher listing for more info on the book.