Before The Last of Us, Naughty Dog had another franchise that was once the darling of PlayStation. I’m talking about Uncharted, an action-adventure series following the treasuring hunting escapades of Nathan Drake and company.
The franchise debuted in 2007 with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. It wasn’t perfect, but it received excellent reviews with many praising its technical achievements, cast and characters, story and production values. More importantly, it set the bar for what a PlayStation exclusive was capable of achieving. It had a blockbuster movie feel to it.
Two years later, we got Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The sequel was even more impressive, both in polish and scope. It felt even bigger than the first game. From the graphics to the gameplay to the storytelling and characters, almost every aspect of the game felt improved on. The elaborate set pieces genuinely felt like blockbuster movie sequences. The game won multiple awards and is considered by many to be one of the greatest video games ever made.
Then came Uncharted 3 in 2011. Again, it was another hit in terms of financial success, although some criticized its linearity. There were a few spinoffs for the PlayStation Vita, followed by 2016’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The fourth main entry in the Uncharted series would be Nathan Drake’s final adventure. It sold over 15 million copies, making it the highest-selling game in the franchise and one of the best-selling PlayStation 4 games. And with its release, Nathan Drake’s story was concluded.
Or is it? BuzzFeed caught up with Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann, who served as co-writer for both Uncharted and Uncharted 2 as well as creative director and co-writer of Uncharted 4. While the interview was largely focused on The Last of Us, Druckmann’s response to the potential of a third game in The Last of Us franchise, confirmed a bit of news about the Uncharted series.
"For us, Uncharted was insanely successful — Uncharted 4 was one of our best selling games — and we’re able to put our final brushstroke on that story and say that we’re done. We’re moving on."
So there you have it. Naughty Dog has officially moved on from the Uncharted franchise. It’s hard to imagine Sony wants the studio to fully say goodbye to one of PlayStation’s most successful franchises, but if Naughty Dog can continue to put out new games that exceed expectations set forth by Uncharted — as The Last of Us did — then perhaps they are okay with moving on from it rather than milking it.