Comedy Over Drama "is a Touchstone" for the Uncharted Series

By Kyle Durant

April 19, 2011

Ever wonder why Nathan Drake acts like a “wise guy” in even the most trying of circumstances or why Sully is like a father figure to Drake? Well, Naughty Dog Creative Director Amy Hennig offers an interesting perspective on those questions by referencing the movie “Sullivan’s Travels”. Not to mention that reading in between the lines of Ms. Hennig’s comments offer an insight to Uncharted 3. Check out all the info after the break.

The 1941 Preston Sturges film, “Sullvian’s Travels”, focuses on a man (Sullivan) who directs profitable, shallow, comedy movies and wants to change that persona to a more dramatic, sorrowful appeal telling the story of the human condition. To get a better understanding of the downtrodden, John Sullivan abandons his lifestyle and hits the road as a penniless hobo. Through various trials and encounters Sullivan ends up in a prison/labor camp. It is there that he learns laughter plays a bigger role in life than drama and the “human condition”. Insert Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series.

In a conversation via twitter with another Naughty Dog employee and I, Amy Hennig exclaimed, “There’s a reason Sully is named “Sullivan” in Uncharted, and why his boat in the first game is named “Sullivan’s Travels.” I then asked Amy to further explain why Sully’s boat was called “Sullivan’s Travels” in an effort to find out potential information about Uncharted 3. Sadly, no dice. She reiterated what movie the boat was named after and tweeted, “The theme of the movie is a touchstone for Uncharted.”

So it’s safe to say that Drake’s attitude directly steams from the theme of “Sullivan’s Travels”. I think the proof lies in all of Drake’s sarcastic/humorous remarks made throughout the many dangers he had to face. (My personal favorite is “You got a plan to go with that grenade?”) Someone in Drake’s position could easily turn their experiences into dramatic, disheartening events instead of laughable, hysterical ones. (Could he have learned this behavior from Sullivan, his closest friend who is named after John Sullivan?) Conclusively, comedy is more pertinent than demoralizing predicaments.

Now what about the whole thing with Sully being “Sullivan” and his boat? Not much is known about Victor Sullivan besides his relationship with Drake is close and he borrowed a large sum of money from Gabriel Roman. However, we can see that both the Uncharted character and “Sullivan’s Travels” character share the same name. So, what does this mean since an Uncharted Creative Director just now brought this up? Perhaps Sully’s past comes into play in Uncharted 3 and explains how he met Drake (since the focal point of the third Uncharted game is Drake and Sully’s relationship) or why Drake has no family to speak of. Better yet, maybe Victor Sullivan isn’t who we thought he was? Either way, it’s quite obvious that Drake’s attitude is influenced by his father figure, Sully…and Sullivan taught Drake the importance of “laughter”.

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Kyle Durant

Pretty much your above average gamer who plays games profusely and appreciates them even more. Been gaming since the NES but is in love with anything PlayStation. No I am not a typical fanboy...I appreciate each system for their strengths and recognize their weaknesses. I just love the PS brand. (Think along the lines as someone who likes to read but loves one author in particular). Ever since my time as #2 in the world at Resistance 2, I have taken video games much more seriously. Don't get me wrong, I am a laid back, fun guy to game with...but I always play to win.

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