PS4 Exclusive Uncharted 4 Gets Tons of Info on Gameplay, Difficulty, Game Length, Photo Mode and More

on April 14, 2016 5:46 PM

During a livestream on Twitch, Naughty Dog Director of Communications Arne Meyer, Game Designers James Cooper, Nicholas Lance and Zied Rieke provided a metric ton of information on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, also showing a few interesting treats.

Below you can read the most relevant points that they made:

  • Since early playtests, the developers wanted a very accessible handling for the jeep, but the initial feedback wasn’t very good, so a lot of iteration was done for it.
  • Driving on rocks, grass, water and mud feels different.
  • The developers created a sort of “interrupt system” for conversations on the jeep. It stops conversations when you leave the vehicle, and then they restart naturally when you come back. Conversations can start and stop over and over, and it feels very natural.
  • A lot of iteration was done with this, tuning priorities on what could interrupt a conversation, and what needed to be said “now,” and take priority over the ongoing conversation. For instance reacting to a sudden situation.
  • Around the time in which Uncharted 3 was shipped, Naughty Dog had a very scripted prototype of a vehicle. It didn’t really look like what Uncharted 4 has, but it allowed the developers to start determining what they wanted from adventuring with a vehicle in an Uncharted game.
  • Lots of layers of animation go into things like the bridge that almost collapses in the Madagascar level.
  • There was a lot of testing on how big the open spaces where, in order set objectives for those spaces.
  • If you want to go around on foot you can go really far, and leave the vehicle behind by quite a lot. It depends on where you are in the level, but the developers want to encourage player choice on whether to move on foot or drive.
  • If you leave your companions behind, they’ll comment about it. They won’t just sit on the jeep, but they will walk around it, kick the tires, inspect it and more. They will be active.
  • The game has a “pretty significant lenght.” In most cases you’ll be playing longer than in the first three games. It’s a “pretty meaty game” and since when it went gold, it’s been taking Meyer a long time to play through it, longer than he expected.
  • It’s very hard to pin down the length of a typical playthrough because there is no typical playthrough. There are too many options and choices, and certain players can explore more or less in the more open levels.
  • A “lot more” about the multiplayer is gonna be revealed before the release of the game.
  • Meyer teased that if you like taking screenshots of the game and of the beautiful environments you will like what the team set up for it. They “definitely” tried to support taking really nice screenshots.
  • Photo mode can be accessed with R3+L3, and can be turned off. You can see the full pause menu below.

Uncharted4 Pause Menu

  • The team thought a lot on how to help players think about stealth from the beginning, because they knew many would just drive the jeep into the enemies and get shot up. They started by adding some approach paths for the jeep that are a bit more hidden, so you don’t need to walk all the way down.
  • The towers in Madagascar are an ideal environment for enemy snipers.
  • Control schemes are “highly customizable.” The team has done a lot of work so that players can customize controls in accordance with their gameplay style and preferences.
  • Naughty Dog worked with someone that helped them making sure that people with certain disabilities won’t have problems controlling the game.
  • You can drive off a cliff, and that kills you and respawns you at the latest checkpoint.
  • Naughty Dog isn’t showing the menus because there are spoilers there.
  • There’s a lot yet to be revealed about the game.
  • Some of the trophies will be revealed before the game comes out, since they normally leak anyway.
  • Sam and Sully will shoot while you’re driving. The team experimented with allowing the player to shoot while driving, but there were all sorts of control problems, and it also encouraged players to never leave the vehicle, so it was removed.
  • Difficulty settings can actually add different types of enemies. For instance at the tower in the Madagascar demo there are only snipers on normal difficulty, but Hard and Crushing add enemies with RPGs, which are particularly lethal in combination with snipers. In harder difficulty settings enemies are also more accurate, they’re quicker to see you, and stealth is harder.
  • On Crushing you get less information on who is seeing you and where they are (you don’t see the threat indicators showing who is about to notice you. They will still give audio clues though). One of the developers took over an hour to beat the tower encounter on Crushing difficulty.
  • Enemies on Crushing difficulty are also much more aggressive in following you and finding you if you try to get back into stealth.
  • Enemies have different behaviors depending on whether you’re on the jeep or on foot.
  • There is more than one situation in which you can sneak through an encounter and not kill anyone. There’s even a trophy bound to this. There are also times in which combat is unavoidable. It depends on what makes sense for the pacing and the story of the game.
  • Sam and Sully are really helpful in combat scenarios. They don’t shoot blindly. They’ll spot enemies for you. If an enemy grabs you they’ll come and take him off you. There are team takedowns where you can take down an enemy together with them. When you’re in stealth, they will take down enemy stealthily as well.
  • Co-op would take away from the crafted experience of following Nathan Drake’s adventure. There will be no campaign co-op.
  • There will be a soundtrack released for the game, in both digital format and CD.
  • Both markings and threat indicators can be turned off in the menus.
  • If you don’t do certain actions or don’t explore certain locations you can miss some conversations and banter between the characters. A lot of dialog is dependent on how you play and where you go.
  • Markings carry over even if you die. When you come back enemies that you marked are still marked.
  • A lot of iteration has been done on friendly AI to make sure that they don’t get spotted by the enemies, but they’re still near you, active and helpful. The team also worked on balancing how much they’ll take down enemies without being too invasive (making you feel they’re taking down enemies that you wanted to take down yourself).
  • The reticles give you information. There’s a dot in the reticle that bounces around showing where your bullets are actually hitting. All guns have peculiar patterns that you can get used to.
  • You can skip cinematics if you so choose.
  • There was a lot of iteration for melee looking at previous games of the series. The developers tried to incorporate melee into everything, allowing you to attack enemies while vaulting over obstacles, swinging with the grapple hook and more. Every action you can do during exploration can actually be changed into melee.
  • There’s no sprint button, but in combat you move a little bit faster than you normally do.
  • The Jeep can’t be destroyed by enemies, but it can take damage.
  • In the next few weeks there will be more videos. Naughty Dog will talk about a few details like control options and more.

As a final bonus, below you can see a small recording from the livestream, highlighting how expansive the semi-open level set in Madagascar is.

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