When Uncharted 4 first entered into development, there was a different team of writers in charge of the game’s story. The writers, Amy Hennig and Justin Richmond, left the company in 2014. They were replaced by the series’ originators Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, who wrote the first two games and The Last of Us.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Druckmann revealed that they completely scrapped the story in place to create an entirely new one once they came onboard the project. GameInformer reported that Druckmann and Straley were named co-directors of Uncharted 4 in June 2014.
Amy Hennig was reportedly forced out of the company after she found fault with Naughty Dog’s increased focus on pandering to the social justice “movement” during the development of The Last of Us‘ only single-player DLC, which had a strong focus on Ellie’s sexuality as a queer teenager. Naughty Dog has since denied these allegations, though they did not elaborate on why Hennig had left the studio. Hennig is currently co-developing a Star Wars game with Assassin’s Creed producer and former Ubisoft studio director Jade Raymond at Electronic Arts.
Last year, Nathan Drake’s voice actor Nolan North stated that eight months of work had been completely scrapped when Amy Hennig left the studio. “Amy is still a very dear friend of mine and she’s brilliant. But the Last of Us guys were the next team there, so they took over and they just wanted their own flavor. They got rid of some of the other people that were involved and just redid their thing,” he said at the time.
In the AP interview, Druckmann did not elaborate on what changes they made to the game’s story, or what the original story penned by Hennig and Richmond was actually like. He did however call their new story the “biggest, most ambitious” tale that the studio had ever conceived.
“We want to do this justice,” he said. “We want it to be a mind-blowing, eye-popping, sweaty-palms adventure. Everybody is bleeding out of their eye sockets to make it come together. We want to make sure Drake is sent off properly.”
“It’s time,” Druckmann said of ending the series. “Sometimes, a character just lets you know it’s time to move on. For me, that was part of the intrigue of coming back to this world. You never see something successful in the industry end. It usually just fizzles out.”