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New Uncharted 4 Amy Hennig details emerge and departure from Naughty Dog

dcelw540

Junior Member
It's a long video it's 20 minutes.

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.

- No gun combat for half the game, vehicle based (Unkarted was a reality)
-Huge emphasis on melee combat
-No mechanic you shoot at walls and use that to climb
- New boost mechanic
- Dance Dance mini game
- Elena would have been with Drake for the first half of the game on his adventure
- No Nadine



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIwHJojouxI

https://www.psu.com/news/34094/uncharted-4-development-troubled-history-surfaces

I don't really have a problem with people aggregating juicy Uncharted 4 details from my book, but the problem here is that stuff is being misinterpreted. A lot of these ideas (like the ballroom dancing mechanic) weren't necessarily going to be part of the original version of Uncharted 4 -- Naughty Dog's designers were just prototyping them and trying to see what would work.

One of the reasons for the directorial shift, according to people I spoke with, was that there were too many prototypes floating around and nobody was making strong decisions about what to cut and what to implement. That's why Naughty Dog made the change in the first place -- because the game wasn't in great shape. It's impossible to say that "Amy Hennig's Uncharted 4" would have looked like this, because we have no idea what would have made the final cut.

If you want the real, complete story, please do check out Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0062651234/?tag=neogaf0e-20
 
I hate that angle. I'm glad they went with Druckmann's proposal instead. Although, the remnants of the past are still there, as there was some tension between the two bros, after he came back.
 

entremet

Member
Sam was kinda wack, to be honest. I was always hoping for a real betrayal, not the lying BS, but it never really happened.

But the story wasn't the big problem of this game. It was the poor pacing.
 

shem935

Banned
Nate knowingly leaving him to die doesn't really jive with the character. Glad for the change but it seems like a pretty minor plot detail for hennig to leave a studio over. Probably more to it in the video.
 
A mid-or-late game twist of "we were brothers all along" feels kinda weird, in light of what UC4 ended up becoming.

It does a better job of explaining why Nate never brought up him during U1-3, as he was just a regular partner... but that brother twist is well... I'm really curious why Amy Hennig went with that.

On paper, I much prefer A Thief's End over "Cancelled Unknown Subtitle", but it would've been nice to know more of the script details.
 

BiGBoSSMk23

A company being excited for their new game is a huge slap in the face to all the fans that liked their old games.
Over the course of the story, as Nathan tried to pull away from his roots as a treasure hunter

I wonder if that was the reason for the creative fallout.

That's like Nathan Drake's bread and butter.

I'd imagine it would be hard to make a fun game out of that direction.
 

Alienous

Member
It's from Jason Schreier's 'Blood, Sweat and Pixels' book, and he does deserve to be rewarded with a purchase if you find the investigative journalism interesting.

That aside I appreciate the ambition of Amy Hennig's version of Uncharted 4 - deciding to only have Nathan Drake use a gun after the mid-point of the game feels more tonally correct for the character, and could have been interesting. Other things like shooting walls to create handholds to climb would have also been a great way to make the traversal feel more interactive.

It's interesting how much the Uncharted 4 we've played had to use from the previous version out of obligation. The auction house, with a Drake/Elena dance sequences, gives an idea of how different the game could have been,
 
KNEW Rafe was Alan Tudyk's role!

It's interesting at least getting a glimpse of what went down. Seems like there were a variety of factors causing difficulties in production, or at least for it to not go as smoothly as ND wanted. Also interesting hearing they wanted to minimize the gun focus (I actually really like that in theory) and that it wasn't always supposed to be the end of Nathan's story (they made the right call with 4 ending it; the series was in the right place). Though even then, we still don't know exactly why Amy Hennig left. Sam being evil and then turning good sounds kind of cliche so I honestly kind of prefer the direction they went in the final. Also it does seem they kept some of the broad strokes, just heavily retooled.
 
Hmm... not sure if I like that take on the character of Sam anymore than what we ended up with, and considering I'd put him right near the top of worst game characters that's saying something. His character was a poor idea to begin with, and neither of the two main approaches do anything well for me.
 

Risev1

Member
Nah I think what we got in the final version sounds better. Nathan and Sam had a great relationship before the prison incident, and it's clear Sam cared about Nathan a lot, so it makes sense that he wouldn't hate him for what happened since it was clearly NOT Nathan's fault. Sure Nathan could have maybe done more to find out that Sam was alive, but so could Sam who only tried to send a message out once in 15 years so it is what it is.

Now, the story COULD have been re-written completely to allow for the original angle that Hennig was going for, but what U4 offered was completely great in terms of character relationships, so I wouldn't want it to change.
 

gtvdave

Member
I just finished reading about this in Jason's book and it definitely clears up a few things. Henning could not reveal anything about the events that led to her departure due to legal reasons, but I imagine her version of the game was radically different from what we got.

Apparently Drake was not supposed to get a gun to fire with for quite a while because she wanted to address the narrative dissonance criticism. Maybe her version tried to avoid shooting mechanics as much as possible and instead focus on the adventure part some of us wanted.

I recommend getting Jason Schreier's book BLOOD, SWEAT, AND PIXELS to learn more about what it took to ship Uncharted 4.
 

Empty

Member
the twist sounds incredibly lame but the game design sounds v ambitious and interesting. even though i loved tlou-inspired uc4 i'd love to step into the alternate dimension to see this version.

sounds like jason's book is fantastic btw, which i'd expect for how much work he seems to put in. the youtuber should credit him for this "scoop".
 
I wonder if that was the reason for the creative fallout.

That's like Nathan Drake's bread and butter.

I'd imagine it would be hard to make a fun game out of that direction.
Agreed. If anything, it would have been interesting to see it absolutely consume him to the very end - abandoning Elena and all (granted, this would probably be a bit too extreme for an Uncharted game).
 

FluxWaveZ

Member
Always liked the tone of the teaser trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SnJPTkrD7o

I like what we got. But Sam being an antagonist to Nathan would have also worked. Might have fit more, too, instead of Sam taking what happened to him somewhat well when seeing how Drake's been living.

I wonder if that was the reason for the creative fallout.

That's like Nathan Drake's bread and butter.

I'd imagine it would be hard to make a fun game out of that direction.

But, isn't that still kind of what we got in the actual Uncharted 4? It brings to mind this cutscene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWkS_AD4v6g

Maybe it would have been more involved or something.
 
Why does it have to be that they're brothers? Secret family relationship reveals are so overused and cheesy nowadays that it doesn't really have any emotional effect anymore
 
On paper it sounds pretty similar, though I think the execution in the final game was the better route to go. I think telling the players Sam is the villain doesn't really allow for the more nuanced performances we got in the final game. Instead, having him be a long lost brother, whose motivations aren't 100% clear makes him a lot more interesting, and any subsequent drama more compelling.
 
The book went into some insight about why we got the game design we did.

Sounded like the original UC4 concept had too much "buckets of unique gameplay moments" that didn't gel together as a whole.

Like, the whole deeper climbing mechanics thing is cool on-paper, but it severely limits combat and level design if suddenly climbing is way more involved. The fluidity of movement, climbing, jumping while shooting at all the same time was UC4's bread-and-butter.
 
Wow, I love Amy Hennig's writing and am forever in her debt for creating Drake, but this doesn't read as something that would have gone over well, I don't think. Although it's interesting that there ended up being basically no combat for the first third of the game (and not a ton overall) in Druckmann's version.
 

ZeroX03

Member
Hennig has been pretty positive toward the game and ND staffers on Twitter, for what it's worth.

U4 was already pretty heavy on climbing and light on shooting as is, giving it more narrative justification would've been nice. Could've expanded on U2's non lethal combat and gone heavily into melee and stealth too (U4 did the latter anyway).

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.

This sounds much better, and Stashwick's little preview teaser was perfection.

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.

But not sure the brother angle was needed at all or what it would've brought to the table. It was the weak part of the U4 that we got, and this is only a slightly better explanation.
 

Gbraga

Member
Oh, man, Elena being part of the whole adventure would be so cool. I really missed her. :/

Most of it doesn't sound very good, though, to be honest. Half of the game with no shooting, but instead focusing on melee is the same issue as the climbing one in the final game: not a bad thing conceptually, but they just don't have good enough mechanics outside of shooting to be the major mechanic for long stretches of time. Uncharted melee is fun enough to use in the middle of a hectic gunfight, as well as shooting a bit to weaken an enemy and deal a finishing melee blow, but it's extremely basic, and would get old very quickly.
 

VMAN01

Member
Not to say Henning's version would have been bad, it would have taken some more risks, however I feel that having Sam as some kind of villain doesn't really serve a sibling character that well (one that was being introduced into the story lore anyway). Personally as someone who has a brother, I felt that there was a lot more emotional investment when he needs Nate's help. Especially since they give a backstory of them growing up and being separated.
 

entremet

Member
the twist sounds incredibly lame but the game design sounds v ambitious and interesting. even though i loved tlou-inspired uc4 i'd love to step into the alternate dimension to see this version.

sounds like jason's book is fantastic btw, which i'd expect for how much work he seems to put in. the youtuber should credit him for this "scoop".

I think this is one of my big beefs with Internet media today. Most of it is referencing other media and there's lack of attribution.

I get that these YouTubers aren't trained journalists, but it kinda sucks.

This is similar to how places like HuffPo, Salon, and so on get most of their articles of the reporting from the NYT and Washington Post. Media empires are built on reporting from other places doing the heavy lifting.
 

mdubs

Banned
You guys should really buy Jason's book.

For real, it's such a good book and so much work went into it. Pretty sad that this guy is trying to profit off of that, surely he can receive a copyright strike for this amount of text?
 

zsynqx

Member
Anyway, I think this is the reason for Straley's current break from development.

Immediately after Hennig's departure, Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra called Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley into a meeting to tell them that she was gone. Both Druckmann and Straley wanted to work on other games they'd been playing around with prototypes for a sequel to The Last of Us and Straley in particular was feeling burned out. But when asked to lead the development of Uncharted 4, they said they'd do it on one condition: they needed full creative control. They weren't interested in finishing the story that Hennig had started, and while they'd try to salvage some of the characters (like Sam and Rafe) and environments (big areas in Scotland and Madagascar), they'd also have to throw out a lot of work that Uncharted 4's team had done so far.

The book went into some insight about why we got the game design we did.

Sounded like the original UC4 concept had too much "buckets of unique gameplay moments" that didn't gel together as a whole.

Like, the whole deeper climbing mechanics thing is cool on-paper, but it severely limits combat and level design if suddenly climbing is way more involved. The fluidity of movement, climbing, jumping while shooting at all the same time was UC4's bread-and-butter.

Yep.

They actually tried to incorporate the dance mini game into the Nate/Elena home scene, but they said it felt awkward and out of place. We ended up getting the Crash moment instead
 
I am fine with large portions of the game having no combat, but a focus on melee combat would have been a big mistake.

Not with the foundation/direction of UC3's melee combat, at least.

It's a bit hard for me to actually imagine a deep melee combat system that works well with both the gunplay and traversal of UC.
 

ItIsOkBro

Member
okay, there's way too much bitterness and anger in Sam's voice in the initial teaser for them to heal the relationship and team up. i'm glad that the actual story ditched the vengeance.
 

Timeaisis

Member
Vehicle based and melee combat sounds interesting. Sounds like ambitious set pieces or something. I wonder how lack of gunplay would've worked for half the game. Sounds more Indiana Jones, to be honest. In the best way possible.

I'm intrigued.
 
The book also explain some of the reason why they ditch some of Hennig version of uncharted. They had prototype for a more deeper climbing mechanic and you can even have prototype where you can aim where to throw your grappling hook. Ultimately Straley decided that those deeper mechanic while interesting in isolation, didn't really work when you're in dynamic combat situation. During the frantic combat, you want stuff like climbing and swinging to be as simple as possible.

The same with dance sequence. It's basically a mini game that only used once for that scene only, it's out of place from the rest of the game and Straley hate that kind of thing, he once mentioned it before in one of ND documentary when he's talking about Jak 2.

In the end, I'm happy with yhe Uncharted 4 that we got
 

Alienous

Member
The book also explain some of the reason why they ditch some of Hennig version of uncharted. They had prototype for a more deeper climbing mechanic and you can even have prototype where you can aim where to throw your grappling hook. Ultimately Straley decided that those deeper mechanic while interesting in isolation, didn't really work when you're in dynamic combat situation. During the frantic combat, you want stuff like climbing and swinging to be as simple as possible.

The same with dance sequence. It's basically a mini game that only used once for that scene only, it's out of place from the rest of the game and Straley hate that kind of thing, he once mentioned it before in one of ND documentary when he's talking about Jak 2.

In the end, I'm happy with yhe Uncharted 4 that we got

En garde, Straley.
 

Gbraga

Member
The book also explain some of the reason why they ditch some of Hennig version of uncharted. They had prototype for a more deeper climbing mechanic and you can even have prototype where you can aim where to throw your grappling hook. Ultimately Straley decided that those deeper mechanic while interesting in isolation, didn't really work when you're in dynamic combat situation. During the frantic combat, you want stuff like climbing and swinging to be as simple as possible.

The same with dance sequence. It's basically a mini game that only used once for that scene only, it's out of place from the rest of the game and Straley hate that kind of thing, he once mentioned it before in one of ND documentary when he's talking about Jak 2.

In the end, I'm happy with yhe Uncharted 4 that we got

But the same happens in the auction anyway, things like the pickpocketing are just gimmicks used for that one sequence and then thrown away. I'm not complaining, by the way, I thought it was a really neat sequence, but he just replaced a concept he disliked for the exact same concept, only executed differently.
 
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