Naughty Dog never considered co-op campaign for Uncharted 4

Brodie Fogg 28 April 2016

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With such lovable characters by your side, Uncharted has always felt like a game that would lend itself well to cooperative gameplay, but it's never been an option in Naughty Dog's eyes.

Recently, we were fortunate enough to get some hands-on time with the upcoming Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. One of the first things we noticed was how fluid and intuitive the AI had become since Nathan Drake's last outing. We couldn't help but feel the game would lend itself well to some co-op adventuring, split-screen or otherwise. The AI's skill in evading and combatting the enemy truly made it feel like another player had taken control of Sully and Sam. However (as we've expressed on more than one occasion), there's no real substitute for sharing the action with a friend on the same couch.

We're not the only ones holding onto this sentiment. Fans have cried out for co-op since Drake's introduction on PlayStation 3. Part of this has to do with an everlasting longing for connectedness we feel with for our fellow players and part is to do with the fact that Naughty Dog knows how to craft some mighty fine secondary characters.

Everything is built for that single player experience, to draw you to learn more about Drake himself.

With all this considered, we asked Naughty Dog's Arne Meyer whether co-op campaign was ever considered for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. 

Meyer's response was quite definite, "Nah, it's always been single-player...". We've spoken with Arne twice now, but read any interview with a Naughty Dog team member regarding Drake and you will begin to notice how cautious and considerate they are with the characterisation and narrative of Uncharted's leading man. Meyer goes on to explain that the secondary characters have always been somewhat of a foil to Nathan Drake, used to "draw out different aspects of Drake's personality". Players are meant to relate with and ultimately feel some ownership over Drake over the course of his adventures, a feeling that couldn't sufficiently be replicated if a player were able to take control over whichever character they please.

Below is the full excerpt from our interview with Arne Meyer:

My colleague and I got our hands on the demo and both had totally different experiences with the AI. During his playthrough, Sam and Sully were taking too much control over the situation, killing enemies before he could get to them, whereas it worked as intended for me. In one situation, I was cornered by a curious guard and Sully came out of nowhere and took the thug out from behind. It was really cinematic.

At times, the AI felt so clever, I felt like I was playing online co-op. I was wondering whether co-op campaign was ever considered during development of Uncharted 4. Was it ever tested?

AM: Nah, it’s always been single player. It goes back to the philosophy of how we wanted to treat character development and narrative in the game. We’re always trying to focus on Nathan Drake. That’s why you always play as Nathan Drake, there are only other characters so they can draw out different aspects of Drake’s personality. You have to make them react accordingly to whatever situation you’re in. Everything is built for that single player experience, to draw you to learn more about Drake himself.

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