Naughty Dog's Arne Meyer guided us through 15 minutes of Uncharted 4's 10th chapter, The Twelve Towers. Here's what we saw.
We were given the chance to go hands-on with Nate, Sully and Sam Drake in the arid plains of Madagascar in search of Henry Every's treasure. What we experienced showcased the "wide-linear" approach Naughty Dog has used with A Thief's End. While not totally open-world, Uncharted 4 gives players more freedom to explore on the way to their destination.
At the beginning of the chapter we see a massive inactive volcano in the distance. This is clearly the player's destination, but there are multiple tracks the player can follow to get there. There are multiple watchtowers and isolated ruins along the way to explore. Some hold treasures, while others are simply populated with enemies.
It does feel very "open" but Naughty Dog has made sure to nod you in the right direction by providing clear pathways and obstacles that need to be overcome before progressing. This is what Meyer meant we he called it wide-linear. There's enough room to explore and find things others might not, but the game still holds you within an arm's length to keep you engaged with the narrative. With that said, straying off the beaten track is definitely worthwhile and certain treasures or notes can be missed completely if you don't take your time to poke around. We actually bombed straight past a treasure that revealed more about the story and only found out about it watching another player explore.
Check out the video below for the complete 15-minute playthrough.