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You could say that Uncharted is at a bit of a crossroads. With Uncharted 4 ending Nathan Drake's adventures, there's certainly room to experiment, particularly with the forthcoming Uncharted: Lost Legacy featuring two characters instead of one. But that's not the case, director Kurt Margenau says.
Rather, Margenau sees this as Chloe's story, and that's where the focus is. "In the Uncharted tradition we try to focus on one character, and you're not going to switch between character's or anything. We always want our ally partner characters real in that they react in realistic ways and surprise you."
Nadine, for example, is a physical melee threat, and will often try and beat people up. Her personality is distinct, and some of that would be lost in a co-op setting. "It would prevent us from telling the story we want to tell. It's a lot harder, and it's not something we're really interested in trying," Margenau says.
So while Uncharted: Lost Legacy is different in that it features a sort of buddy copy pairing of Chloe and Nadine, it's also fairly traditional. That's reflected in the demo, which is fun and exciting--it features gunfights, swinging from vines, and armored jeeps busting through walls in temple ruins--but otherwise doesn't experiment much with the formula.
Of course, that also reflects Lost Legacy's origins. Lost Legacy was originally conceived as a Last of Us-style story expansion for Uncharted 4, but it ultimately grew to the point that Naughty Dog decided to make it a full-blown retail release.
Still, Margenau's comments suggest that Naughty Dog doesn't see any room for story co-op in their games. The bigger "wide exploration" levels have opened things up of late, but they still lean toward heavily scripted adventures.
On the flipside, Naughty Dog also likes a degree of spontaneity in their games. There's a small moment, for example, where Chloe and Nadine approach a pair of guards. Chloe suggests that she take one while Nadine takes the other, but Nadine takes them both down. This scene can actually play out in several ways, Margenau says, though he wouldn't say how. Such an element is lost with co-op.
Naughty Dog's approach is such that they won't even consider allowing players to give Nadine commands. "We pride ourselves on having a really autonomous AI for our characters. You have your own relationship with Nadine, and that changes based on how helpful she is, or not helpful. There are things that Nadine is maybe not interested in, like going and exploring, so you're going alone for a bit. She's really her own character."
For what it's worth, Naughty Dog has featured co-op in its previous Uncharted games, but it's always been on the multiplayer side of things. Story has always been a solo experience for them, even in a story with two characters traveling together. And that doesn't look to change at any point in the near future.
Uncharted: Lost Legacy will be out August 22nd.
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