In a recent interview with OnlySP, the voice of Uncharted‘s Nathan Drake, Nolan North, stated that developer Naughty Dog didn’t want to “jump the shark” in regards to making Uncharted 5. According to him, the “ship has kinda sailed.” While the franchise may continue under a new studio, it’s wise for Naughty Dog to move on. The following are a few reasons why the company would be better off if it didn’t make a sequel to the celebrated action adventure series. Be warned that spoilers may be found below.
Why Naughty Dog Shouldn’t Make Uncharted 5 | Uncharted 4‘s ending
At the end of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Nathan Drake and his wife Elena decide to become salvagers. Years go by, and their daughter Cassie discovers a few treasures from her parents’ globe-trotting adventures. Nate decides to tell her his story just before the screen cuts to black.
Few other video game franchises manage to wrap up as nicely as Uncharted. As its last numbered iteration indicates in its title, Nate and Elena are committed to their retirement from treasure hunting and are more focused on their business and family by the time the credits roll. It wouldn’t make much sense if the property continues with the couple, as its story has come full circle.
Why Naughty Dog Shouldn’t Make Uncharted 5 | The Last of Us
As the PlayStation 4 approaches the end of its life cycle, it’s obvious that Naughty Dog’s remaining work for the console lies in The Last of Us Part 2. Though it was originally announced in December 2016, the studio has been developing it for nearly five years now. Motion capture work may have already finished, but there’s undoubtedly still a lot of work to be done.
Given the success of the original title, there’s no shortage of hype surrounding the sequel. Creative Director Neil Druckmann and the rest of his team are trying their best to deliver on expectations, so it would make sense if the company chooses to have all hands on deck until the game has gone gold. Naughty Dog is attempting to craft a title that’s worthy enough to be considered the PlayStation 4’s swan song. Simultaneous production on Uncharted 5 may spread the company too thin for its liking.
Why Naughty Dog Shouldn’t Make Uncharted 5 | Its history and creative vision
Since the mid-1990s, Naughty Dog has crafted at least four games for every franchise it’s began. The Crash Bandicoot franchise includes the 1996 classic, Cortex Strikes Back, Warped, and Crash Team Racing. Jak and Daxter includes the 2001 original, Jak 2, Jak 3, and Jak X: Combat Racing. While the Uncharted franchise technically includes five entries with The Lost Legacy (and six if you include Sony Bend’s Golden Abyss), it’s stayed in line with the studio’s history for the most part.
Naughty Dog may feel as though it loses its artistic flair when working on one franchise for too long. It did state that it tried to apply what it learned from Uncharted to the Jak series back in 2012, but the passion wasn’t there. Seeing as how each series it’s established is better than the last, it’s intelligent for Sony to allow the studio to exercise its creative muscle. This being said, the lack of an Uncharted-themed kart racing game is noticeable.
Why Naughty Dog Shouldn’t Make Uncharted 5 | The timing
Sony has already confirmed its plans for an Uncharted movie, the likes of which will be directed by 10 Cloverfield Lane‘s Dan Trachtenberg and current Spider-Man, Tom Holland as Nathan Drake. The film has no release date as of the time of this writing, but one can assume that Sony would like a new Uncharted game to tie in with the silver screen adaptation. Given Naughty Dog’s nature of developing projects years in advance and the movie’s shaky production so far, a sequel to the franchise may not align with its plans for The Last of Us Part 2 or a new IP for Sony’s new console.
On top of this, the company has no experience developing movie tie-ins. Rather than limiting it to Uncharted, Sony should allow Naughty Dog to focus on The Last of Us and other creative projects. Studios like Golden Abyss‘ Bend or The Nathan Drake Collection‘s Bluepoint Games could handle a sequel or spin-off that coincides with the film. That is, if these spin-offs should happen at all.
Why Naughty Dog Shouldn’t Make Uncharted 5 | Studio departures
Before she departed Naughty Dog in 2014, Amy Hennig oversaw the creative direction and writing to every mainline Uncharted game before A Thief’s End. Bruce Straley directed Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 4 before he left the company in 2017. While Neil Druckmann is still on board, his attention is most likely entirely devoted to The Last of Us Part 2 and that franchise’s future.
The writing and directorial talent that contributed to each Uncharted game so far has moved on. Even The Lost Legacy‘s director, Shaun Escayg, departed the company early last year. Should Sony want to make Uncharted 5, it would be wise to hire another company that can inject new life into the property.
Though fans may be disappointed if the next Uncharted game is developed by a different studio, it’s clear that Naughty Dog would benefit by moving away from the franchise. There’s a decent chance that The Last of Us may not end with its next iteration, after all, and that time would be better spent on either a third entry or an entirely original idea. Aside from that, there’s no refuting the artistic and technical genius at work within the firm. Should it craft a new IP for the next generation of Sony hardware, fans will most likely welcome it with open arms. Of course, another kart racer would be nice too.