Everyone who knows me knows that I’m one of the biggest fans on this planet when it comes to the gaming franchise known as Uncharted. I’ve played all six games more than 20 times and I was asked to share some fun facts about this franchise. So, let’s go!
- Ottsel wetsuit
Naughty Dog likes to stuff their games with Easter eggs, especially ones that refer to their own games. While some are easier to spot than others, chances are you missed a reference to one of Naughty Dog’s other franchises at the beginning of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. In the first chapter of that game, Drake is dressed in a wetsuit. If you look closely, you can see that the wetsuit is branded as “Ottsel”, the made-up animal species that is the character Daxter in the Jak & Daxter series. There are a few other Jak & Daxter callbacks in the Uncharted series, including the Strange Relic treasure, which is actually a Precursor Orb.
2. Sully’s plane
Another recall to an old Naughty Dog game, the name of Victor Sullivan’s private Grumman G-21 Goose seaplane is “The Hog Wild”. Smart fans probably figured out that this is the same name as a level from the first Crash Bandicoot.
3. Dude Raider
Besides Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider is the series that Uncharted is most often compared to, as both franchises share many similarities, including attractive protagonists who go on treasure hunts in exotic locations. Prior to the release of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune in 2007, the game was dubbed “Dude Raider” by some because it looked like a gender-swapped version of Tomb Raider. Both series have since evolved to the point where they’re quite different from each other, but the Dude Raider remains a humorous reminder of a time when Uncharted had to prove it was more than just a Lara Croft impersonator.
4. Johnny Knoxville
Nathan Drake, the main character of Uncharted, is often described as an “everyman” adventurer thanks to his penchant for exploring tombs while wearing jeans and a half-tucked-in shirt, but you might be surprised to learn that his original likeness, at least in part, was modeled after actor/stuntman Johnny Knoxville.
5. Controversy in game 4
Anyone who has played Uncharted 4 can attest to the power of actress Laura Bailey’s performance as antagonist Nadine Ross, but Naughty Dog still came under fire for casting Bailey in the role. The reason? Bailey is a white actress who plays a black character. Neil Druckmann, the game director, responded to accusations of racism, arguing that the choice to have Nadine be a black character came about organically during the concept phase and that Bailey had already been cast in the role before final approval of the character design. He also revealed that there’s a white character in the game, played by a black actor.
6. Charlie Cutter
One of the best surprises in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception was the introduction of Charlie Cutter, a Jason Statham lookalike who could crack jokes just as well as Nathan Drake. If you thought Charlie’s departure from the game felt a little abrupt about halfway through, there’s a good reason for it. Actor Graham McTavish, who gave the character a voice, had other commitments while the game was being made and had to get his character written out early. McTavish was actually supposed to reprise his role for Uncharted 4, but his role was eventually scrapped.
7. Emily Rose
Emily Rose got her big break playing Elena Fisher in the Uncharted series, but she never intentionally auditioned for the part. Rose accompanied a friend to the audition and got a call back because game director Amy Hennig noticed she had great chemistry with Nolan North, the actor who plays Nathan Drake.
8. Broken ribs
Nathan Drake should probably have been dead by this point, with the number of broken bones and gunshot wounds he’s sustained over the course of the series. Apparently, Nolan North wanted to experience a bit of this pain for herself; how else can you explain why he did motion capture for Drake’s Deception while suffering from broken ribs? Remember the part where he had to push a box off while drowning? North did that for real, and the weight of it caused him to break his ribs.
9. Not Gob’s boat
Naughty Dog doesn’t just refer to their own games; they also like to hide Easter eggs from popular TV shows. The 12th chapter of Uncharted 3 shows that the pirate ship Ramses is called “The Seaward”. Astute fans may recognise this as a reference to Arrested Development, as the character Gob (Will Arnett) has a boat of the same name.
10. More injuries
Nolan North certainly seems willing to endure all sorts of physical trauma to do his job. In an early chapter of Uncharted 3, you may recall that a young Nathan Drake is nearly shot by a man who tells him to “close his eyes” before Sully (Richard McGonagle) tries to save the boy. It turns out that this mystery man is voiced by Nolan North, who was then forced to play a corpse for the rest of the scene after Sully “shot” him. This actually resulted in an accident where the heavy plastic stand-in pistol Sully took from Nathan hit North in the head after Sully threw it behind him, nearly knocking him out.
11. Drake’s age
While Nathan Drake’s age can be parked as mid-to-late 30s based on his appearance, he has a canonically determining age in every game. When we first meet him in Drake’s Fortune, he’s 31 years old. Uncharted 2 and 3 are each separated by a two-year time jump, making Nate 33 and 35 years old respectively in those games. In Uncharted 4, Nate is 38, as the game takes place three years after the events of Uncharted 3.
12. Train sequence
Many fans still consider the train sequence in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves the best in the series. It’s a good thing that’s so highly regarded because it derailed almost the entire game. As explained in a long post from 2010, Naughty Dog’s Richard Lemarchand considers the process of getting the sequence to run correctly as the company’s lowest point, as it took staff months of sleepless nights to get it to work in time for the planned release date of the game. He summarises the experience as one that caused undue amounts of stress, illness, and decreased productivity, but was ultimately something that had to be done for the game to meet the company’s high standards.
Love, Skye Lewis/Deem ❤