10 years later, we’re still learning more about Naughty Dog’s popular Uncharted franchise.
Animator Jonathan Cooper revealed on Twitter that the red indicator in the UI that shows up when you’re under attack is not a health meter, but instead a “luck” meter. When enemies bear down on Drake, his “luck” will eventually run out, and at that point enemy gunfire will kill him. But this explains that Drake isn’t just taking bullets left and right and living to tell the story. That is often a criticism of games; that players are bullet sponges.
That’s a mega-swing! Sidenote I learned on joining the team: Drake doesn’t ever take bullet damage. The red UI that shows ‘hits’ is to represent his ‘luck’ running out. Eventually enemies will get a clear shot and kill him if he takes enough near-misses. https://t.co/byzVKYXVe7
— Jonathan Cooper (@GameAnim) July 8, 2018
It still requires some amount of suspension of disbelief, though, as it means the enemies have really, really bad aim and tactics. But there’s an explanation for that, too.
Uncharted 1-3 director Amy Hennig chimed in to say the idea was inspired by Naughty Dog’s intention to have the Uncharted games align with the “spirit and tone” of the movies the franchise was homaging like Indiana Jones. In many action movie franchises, the hero often survives against incredible odds thanks in part to the shoddy aim of enemies. That may be true, but if you’re looking for a more challenging experience, the Uncharted franchise offers Hard and Crushing modes that make enemies smarter and deadlier.
True! That was the original intention (to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging).
— Amy Hennig (@amy_hennig) July 8, 2018
Cooper worked on Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: Lost Legacy; he’s now doing animating work for Naughty Dog’s hugely anticipated The Last of Us: Part II.
Uncharted 4 was the final game in the series to star Nathan Drake and reportedly the last one that Naughty Dog plans to make. Given the immense popularity of the franchise, we would expect it to come back someday … perhaps with a different hero and developer.