The Lost Legacy deviates further from Uncharted’s linear roots
Naughty Dog is doubling down on its wide-linear approach.
One of Uncharted 4's hottest talking points before release was its move away from traditional linear and towards what the developer dubbed "wide-linear". While that game did a fine job of loosening the shackles a little (particularly in the game's driving levels, like Madagascar) the player was still funnelled towards one singular destination. We got to sit down for a 45-minute stint with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (coming to PlayStation 4 on 22 August) and a chat with Naughty Dog's senior communications manager, Scott Lowe, last week and discussed how Naughty Dog has expanded upon wide-linear in the standalone game's Western Ghats.
In place of one set destination, Chloe and Nadine (who are leading the expedition this time around) are pushed to explore every corner of the Western Ghats map thanks to that particular mission's objective, which tasks you with tracking down multiple towers that align with iconography from Chloe's journal.
When we asked Lowe what improvements they had made off the back of Uncharted 4 feedback, he explained that the team was very happy with how the Madagascar level turned out, but that "ultimately, you were being led to one destination". According to Lowe, The Lost Legacy "turns that on its head."
"It's a wide-open environment with no central destination you're moving towards. It's far less linear in that way."
There's also more to see and do on the way to each destination. A repeated problem with open-world games is the insurmountable amount of chores their sprawling maps are peppered with. Uncharted is and always has been heavily dependent on keeping the player engaged with the narrative. So meaningless fetch quests and laundry lists of collectables simply wouldn't cut it.
In place of endless errands, The Lost Legacy offers a few nice touches to reward your adventurous streak. Little things, like destructible walls with secret tokens hidden behind them and outlying caves that can only be reached with a good deal of curiosity and a tactful approach.
For Lowe, it was a matter of making meaningful detours, "We didn't want to make busy work; simple tasks just for the sake of it. We asked how can we make these tasks rewarding? By giving more detail to the narrative through that gameplay."
It's about making the connection between narrative and gameplay
During our time in the Western Ghats, we came across a smorgasbord of secrets. The short 45-minute session was barely enough to hurriedly cover one side of the map and we were constantly distracted by curious caves and ruins on the way to each destination. There were the usual treasures you've come to expect from an Uncharted title, but also a new kind of collectable. An ancient coin or token of sorts that Lowe says will play a bigger part in the narrative of The Lost Legacy, though he wasn't prepared to divulge exactly how they would play into the story as he considered it a spoiler.
My only problem with the Western Ghats area so far is that it's not so different from Madagascar. Obviously, these are two completely different locations and the Western Ghats is a lot greener than Madagascar with more tall-grass and greenery which open up more opportunities for stealth. But the car play and the winch didn't add anything new (at least during my experience) and it repeated a few of the same environmental obstacles, like mudslides.
It's still an absolute pleasure to explore, no doubt. Just not far enough separated from the plains of Madagascar to feel like a totally new experience.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Naughty Dog continues to blur the line between open-world and linear in exciting, never-seen-before locales.
Purchase Uncharted: The Lost Legacy PS4 from ozgameshop.com
Take Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross on a journey through the Western Ghats in search of a priceless artefact.View details
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