The climbing mechanic in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End almost saw lithe hero Nathan Drake come with his own little stamina bar in a bid to give an extra layer of difficulty to the game.
Naughty Dog’s Josh Scherr, who co-wrote A Thief’s End with Neil Druckmann and then went on to co-write The Lost Legacy, was a guest on YouTube channel Couch Soup over the weekend. Here, Scherr shared more about his illustrious career with Naughty Dog (which has spanned over 20 years) and gave some behind the scenes insight into Uncharted 4’s development.
Scherr praised the power of PlayStation 4, and said it was “specifically designed to not be super complicated with a cell processor and six SPUs and all that other crazy stuff”, likening it to a “fancy version of a high-end PC”. This means more time for developers to focus on other areas of a game sooner, such as its story development.
This brought the conversation round to the early stages of Uncharted 4.
“A lot of the stuff that happens early on are prototypes of design things that eventually make it in [to a game],” Scherr explained. “We were looking to do some interesting things with the climbing mechanics [in Uncharted 4]… the long story short version of that is that we did all these interesting things with a stamina bar, trying to make it feel more challenging.”
However, this idea ultimately got scrapped as the Uncharted 4 team felt it “got in the way the way [of how Naughty Dog] liked to blend [its] platforming and gunplay”.
“We didn’t want to have people paying attention to stamina while they were also outrunning people shooting [at them] and all that kind of stuff,” said Scherr. “We wanted to keep everything quick and moving along.”
Instead, the Uncharted 4 team focused on evolving the series’ existing mechanics. This saw things such as the grappling hook being introduced, as well as the stealth mechanics and the jeep section being “much more complicated than in previous games”.
You can watch the full (and very interesting) chat with Scheer below.
Earlier in the series, Couch Soup also had Nathan Drake actor Nolan North as a guest. Here, North spoke more about Amy Hennig’s departure from Naughty Dog and the success of the live action Uncharted film adaptation.