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The definitive interview: The making of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

VB: It seems like humor is really part and parcel of the core of this franchise as well?

JR: Definitely. A piece of what we do is the humor of the game. And I think that’s something that’s different. A lot of other games really don’t try to do because it is hard. It is tricky. I think Amy is really good at it. She creates funny and believable characters that you want to sort of go on an adventure with. I think part of that is the humor. How much do people believe these guys and want to see what they are gonna do and how they are reacting to situations.

VB: I really like the graphics and the way the château fire was visualized. Drake and Sully break through a door and they see this wall of flame coming at them. That’s where it really seemed like a step up in the graphics from the past. It seemed much more movie-like.

JR: Thank you. We spent a lot of time working on that stuff. Any of those things where you can push particle effects and rendering and all those at the same time as trying to get the game play in as well — I think that’s where the game really shined.

VB: And I think that was a step up from the graphics of Uncharted 2 as well.

JR: I think so. You tell me. But I think we did a better job on this one with lot of that stuff trying to get more stuff on the screen. We tried to make it even more beautiful,. All of those kinds of things obviously are hugely are important to us.

VB: It seems like one of the trade-offs you always have is, you want to show off outstanding graphics from the right angle, or the exact right perspective, but you also want the player to feel like they’re playing and that they control the character.

JR: Yeah. You always want to feel like you are playing the game. You want to make sure that game play has to win out over everything else. We have to make sure that Amy and I work carefully together trying to make sure that the story that we are trying to tell lines up with the game play. You as they player have to be in control of Drake, especially in those big set pieces at the right time. It is not just a movie. It is something that you are actually interacting with. You are actually playing. When you are on that cruise ship or you are on that cargo plane, you are actually playing Drake. You are not just watching what is happening.

VB: There are some trade offs in the movie angle as well. It seems like, in game play sections, the longer a scene goes on, the happier the gamer is. But, dramatically, it is almost like some of the scenes, if they were in a movie, should last maybe five seconds. As an example, if you jump from a moving truck to a horse in a movie once, that is cool. But if you do that in a game, you might want to do it over and over again.

JR: Yeah. It is definitely a delicate balance. I mean that’s why we are trying to make sure those things don’t go on and on and on and on. We try to make sure there are sequences where you feel like they are not crazy or they are still fun at the end of the day. You want to leave them wanting more and we try to be pretty careful.

VB: I always had a tough decision figuring out what kind of gun to carry and which gun to leave behind. Is there a tip you have for that?

JR: [Laughs.] It really depends on the player. I tend to try to take the GMAL. That is my favorite gun but I have seen players that play the whole game just AK-47. Occasionally they have to pick up a rocket launcher. In general I think all the guns are different and people are encouraged to try to experiment with them. They can figure out which one they like the best. I personally like the GMAL. I always try to keep that. It’s good for both short and long range.

VB: I tended to carry a gun that I thought might be useful if one of the big bosses came up. I felt that if I really needed a gun with a lot of ammo, I could always just kill one of the lackeys and take one of their guns.

JR: Exactly. It pays to have in your back pocket a very powerful gun while carrying something else.

VB: Were those bosses a lot harder this time round?

JR: I don’t think so. I mean we try to be pretty careful to balance them. We think overall they were about the same as they were last time. It depends on what scenario you are in and how fast they come at you or how they can move. In the last game, it seemed like they were always stuck in one place. That was one of the complaints. So in this game, they were able to move more. That made it seem like they could move a little faster and that affects the game play. But I think the difficulty of the bosses is less in this game than they were in Uncharted 2.

VB: I didn’t notice anything in the game about what you guys would do next. Have you ever dropped any kind of hint about whether this is part three in a trilogy or if this goes on and on as a series?

JR: We never set out to make a three-part series from the beginning. We have always sort of seen it as a stand-alone adventure, like you are gonna pick up any one of the games and play and out of order. It still makes sense. You can still understand the characters and the plot. Obviously, if you play the other ones, you get more out of it.  I have always seen it as a single-part adventure story. We have always said that if we think that we can make something new and interesting, if the fans still want them, then we can make another one. But at this time, everyone is sort of on vacation. We’re trying to recover from the process of making it and I think we will come back together and maybe this month and next month make a decision about what we are going to do next. But we never said how many of these things there will be. There are plenty more stories in the universe. It is just a question of what’s the company interested in doing next. We really don’t know at this moment.

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