As we near the launch of arguably the most anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusive of the generation, we're starting to hear from those who have already played Naughty Dog's new adventure.
And you know, it sounds an awful lot like the developer's other gem, The Last Of Us .
Personally, I think it's a good thing. When I first played TLoU, I thought to myself, "this is the logical and proper evolution of the linear, story-driven, third-person adventure." It had more exploration than the standard Uncharted quest, there was more strategy involved (via strong stealth and survival elements), and overall, it just seemed like a step forward for that particular genre. Therefore, I'm not surprised at all to hear from people who say they've spotted a clear TLoU influence in Uncharted 4 . After all, don't forget that several key members of the TLoU team came to work on Drake's final adventure, so again, it should come as no big shock.
But more importantly, if true, this would be the perfect example of a developer advancing and pressing forward while staying within the genre of the franchise. Over the years, from Resident Evil to Final Fantasy to Metal Gear Solid , fans have butted heads over the proper way to push such legendary IPs forward. Frankly, though, it has never been that difficult in my mind. Forget the morons who just say people who complain are "stuck in the past" and "never want change." If you choose not to listen (or read, whatever), that's your business, but the overwhelming majority of fans never say they "don't want anything to change."
We're not fools. We know things have to change in order for the IP and the industry as a whole to stay fresh and relevant. We also know that changing the inherent structure of the game, to the point where it absolutely is a different genre and not merely an evolution of the existing genre, is wrong . It rarely, if ever, works, and only leads to problems. Ask Capcom and Square Enix. Even Konami and the masterful Kojima, who produced the excellent Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain , got flak for making a MGS that didn't feel like a MGS (mostly due to the narrative taking a back-seat, a cornerstone of the franchise).
But Naughty Dog appears to have struck the proper balance with Uncharted 4 . They've adapted to a changing industry – and as such, changing player demands – while still remaining faithful to the spiritual core of the franchise. Obviously, the new Uncharted will still be Uncharted, with bombastic set pieces and an emphasis on action, which wasn't what TLoU was about. However, gameplay and design elements of the latter will almost definitely be in play, and that makes perfect sense. It's a logical evolution. Certain Japanese developers might want to take notes.
Related Game(s): Uncharted 4 , The Last Of Us