You may be aware that Uncharted fans have been a little concerned that Uncharted 4; A Thief’s End will be filled with doom, gloom, death and melancholy. This theory is founded on two facts; firstly that the trailer (and initial teaser) is, for want of a better expression, a little gritty; and secondly because Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley have taken the reins from the now departed Amy Hennig.
The latest titbit of news doing the rounds is that Evan Wells has attempted to remove those fears by telling Eurogamer that Uncharted will remain a “light-hearted romp”. Understanding why people have been so convinced that A Thief’s End would stray into the dark territory that The Last of Us inhabits has been a struggle. Druckmann and Straley have made precisely one game that packs that level of emotional punch, and they both have experience of Uncharted. They know what they are doing, what they are making and they know who their audience is. To suggest that they plan on making Uncharted 4 into The Last of Us 2 is doing them a disservice as writers and directors.
On the other hand, while Uncharted *is* lighter in tone than The Last of Us (overall much lighter) it should not be forgotten that some of the themes explored especially in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, of identity and finding out your own worth are anything but ‘light’. It is a different sort of sadness and emotional gravitas than The Last of Us, but darkness does not necessarily mean death, a struggle for survival or learning to live after a tragedy. There is a balance to be struck with Uncharted, and I believe while not a flawless game, Drake’s Deception struck that balance well. I wonder though, as Drake’s Deception was met with mixed views from the audience, whether Naughty Dog want to return to the lighter tones of Uncharteds 1 and 2? The teaser trailers certainly do not suggest this. For now we all need to trust that A Thief’s End will be what A Thief’s End needs to be.