“For we receive the due rewards for our deeds.” This is the allegoric acclimation etched onto the gibbets that accommodates what we can only assume are chastised pirates in the new Uncharted trailer. If nothing else we can finally eradicate any conjecture relating to Nathan Drakes illusory departure from the Uncharted series thanks to the new E3 trailer that validates his importance to the series…..for now. My concerted analysis of Uncharted 4–now the confirmed title–could be the last, with the subordinate title “A Thief’s End” certainly insinuating a finality despite not formally addressing Drake or Uncharted as a whole. The consistent thematic of the secondary headings have always been referrals of deceptive ambiguity. Drakes Fortune and Drakes Deception were arguably references to Nate’s ancestral influence, Sir Francis Drake, not our favourite vagrant so the title could suggest a similar affiliation. Of course its hard to ignore the ragged state that Drake is in, slumped face down in the sand, with the binary exchange of narration between Nate and ever-present disciplinarian Victor “god damn” Sullivan, waxing lyrical about their perpetual absence from strenuous activities; like attending the gym or combating maniacal warlords. But it could just as easily imply another featured character, a rival perhaps, or even Sully? And where is the self-proclaimed “last years” model Elena Fischer? Gestating Drake Jr? Spurned? Hosting a series of documentaries on the discovery channel? Compiling a detailed horticultural compendium of the Amazons rare flowers? Dead? I’m just putting it out there! But any news regarding Uncharted is good news, and I couldn’t be happier. What’s that? Complain? What?! Sure it maybe a featured verb in the heading of this site, but what is there to complain about? It’s Uncharted! It’s Drake! It’s Sully! What more is there to say?……..
Well if you insist on provoking me then I’ll admit that I have one minor reservation. Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley now helm Uncharted after the equivocal clarification of Hennig’s sudden departure, and the trailer appears to convey a contested theme of melancholic anguish that was instrumental in The Last Of Us, but could be misinterpreted in an Uncharted game. As intriguing as the trailer is, it did feel a little cerebral, rather distorted by the emphasis on the dark tonal shift which is rather jarring and a little disconcerting. It’s like Time Burton had fraudulently acquired the rights to the Indiana Jones series. Drakes reputed chivalry and archetypal status of being the hero is largely farcical (he is in essence a serial murderer). But his felonious actions are exonerated in the games simply because he’s a likeable, cheeky chappy that’s constantly spouting humorous repertoire of witty observations and is someone you could imagine enjoying a beer with. So any sense of realism is abated by the gratuitous sadism of Nate and his supporting accomplices. The Uncharted series has thrived because of its deliberate ignorance to logical reasoning, investing more immediate priorities to the fluctuating dynamics of its cast, the verbal exchanges and robust cinematic set pieces. To relinquish that highly emotive camaraderie where snapping a man’s vertebra is cause for malicious japes is nonsensical. The last thing the series requires is Drake surveying the dense thickets of the jungle with a forlorn expression and weeping frenetically every time he pulls the trigger to kill someone!
Centralising Uncharted in the sobriety of moralistic integrity is somewhat muted by his contemptuous acts of pervasive violence and thievery (hence a thief’s end perhaps?) that continue without ethical restraint or even reprimanded incarceration. Yes allow for an emotionally blighted Drake, with his physical and pathological maladies disclosed with a tangible, evocative outlet. There’s certainly more sufficient accommodation for extraneous adaptation, shifting the austere infrastructure that has remained so resilient, but vigilant of alienating the fans (more selfishly, Me!) with total narrative emancipation. Of course every accusatory reproach I’ve scrawled has been meticulous cultivated in the cognitive labyrinth I call a mind (I actually call it Tarquin) which incidentally is as irrelevant as this comprised editorial (sorry). “A Thief’s End” will likely retain the natural fidelity of its anterior influences, balancing the rigidity of the narrative and fictionalised embellishment of realistic cast, with new innovations that will compliment the firmly established spirit. With continued exhibition of exemplary set pieces, cinematic explosions, moderated humour, resplendent dialogue and romance for us sensitive souls, Uncharted will continue to generate excitement, as well as a little mullah *cha ching*. But if the trailer is a mere fragment of vapid continuation, grimacing self-reflection or an impinging, bitter-sweet finality to Drakes excursions, then this is territory that should remain Uncharted……..Because I’m greedy.
Are you excited about Uncharted? Let me know what your favourite reveal of E3 was. Cheers.