When it comes to Naughty Dog, there are a few IPs that come to mind such as Uncharted. This studio has continuously brought out classics for the PlayStation line of consoles, but as of late, they may be best known for their Uncharted series, a franchise that saw a total of four main video game installments. One of the key members who were responsible for bringing this game out into the market was Amy Hennig, a game director, and scriptwriter who has since moved on from the studio. Now the famed developer is reflecting back at the release of the very first Uncharted game and finding that today’s market wouldn’t have found the title to be all that acceptable.
During the DICE Summit 2019, Amy Hennig spoke to a few different publications in regards to a variety of topics, but there is one that came to our attention. It was an interview of Amy with VentureBeat, where the topic of narratives and Uncharted game up. Apparently, Amy feels that Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune wouldn’t actually do well in today’s market. It makes sense as well because her reasoning is the various trends going on right now.
I’ve said that I don’t think a game like the first Uncharted, even though it was the foundational footprint for that series, would be a viable pitch today. The idea of a finite eight-ish-hour experience that has no second modes, no online — the only replayability was the fact that you could unlock cheats and stuff like that. No multiplayer, nothing. That doesn’t fly anymore. Now you have to have a lot of hours of gameplay. Eight would never cut it. Usually some sort of online mode. And of course you see where things are pushing, toward live services and battle royale and games as a service.
All of those things — I don’t know the word I’m looking for, but they play less nicely with story. They’re less conducive to traditional storytelling. That has a shape and an arc and a destination, an end. A game that is a live service, that continues, does not.
When it comes to video game titles, you don’t have a standard narrative experience anymore like Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune that’s not also several hours long. When Uncharted first released, it was a single player narrative driven title that took players about eight hours to complete. Afterward, you were done with the game. Today, Amy is finding that more and more developers are looking to jump onto the battle royale trend or games as a service. These titles essentially have a series of events that would be personal to the game but it’s questionable in her eyes as to if these games really have a story. For instance, a game as a service title simply has several events rather than a beginning, middle and a full ending.
Likewise, you could also look at titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or Red Dead Redemption 2 as a bit lengthy. They seem to only extend the story in perhaps a not so meaningful way to the main narrative. Do you think there should be a resurgence of developers focusing on single player narrative-driven games today or are you enjoying the latest trends?