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It’s not so much what Naughty Dog has shown of Uncharted 4 that has us ridiculously excited as much as what it means for both the game itself and our new favourite console. The two minutes of footage Sony has been showing off recently is, according to the team, all in-engine that photorealistic older version of Nathan Drake we’ve been seeing is an actual in-game character model.

The detail in his face is ludicrous, with every wrinkle, pore and bead of sweat rendered perfectly to the point where you could be looking at a real person. It seems likely that the model used for actual gameplay will be slightly less detailed than this cutscene model that’s what Naughty Dog did in The Last Of Us, after all, and such a level of detail would be overkill considering the distance from which the third-person camera usually follows Drake but either way, what we’ve seen is all running at native 1080p and 60fps on a PlayStation 4. That’s amazing.

Set some years after Uncharted 3, a retired Drake is pulled back into the treasure hunting game one last time for the usual mix of fabled booty, global conspiracies, treacherous platforming, cover-shooting and wisecracks.

We just hope this older Drake hasn’t lost his personality, as it’d be all too easy for him to slip into ‘I’m getting too old for this shit’ Crystal Skull rubbish, but we’re sure we can trust Naughty Dog to avoid this. It’s been suggested that Drake’s PS4 debut could be his last outing, both by the game’s title and Drake’s voice actor Nolan North it’d be a shame to see such an iconic PlayStation franchise laid to rest, but we’d far rather see it go out with an incredible 1080p bang than limp along with increasingly tired biannual outings. But whether this is the last time we meet Drake or the start of a whole new adventure on PlayStation 4, this is by far our most anticipated game of next year. Bring it the hell on.


What the little details tell us about the big picture.
Is this how Uncharted 4’s story will play out?


The original reveal trailer panned across an old map before arriving at a circled island, namely Île Sainte-Marie on the west coast of Madagascar.
Many originally assumed that this would be the game’s setting, but that wouldn’t really be in keeping with Uncharted’s usual globe-hopping structure. No, what it actually tells us is more likely the setup for the game, especially considering the text next to the island on the map…


Scrawled to the right of the circled island is the phrase ‘For God and Liberty’, the motto of the pirate colony of Libertatia in the late 17th Century. This would have been similar to
Black Flag’s depiction of Nassau a safe haven for piratesbut nobody is sure whether it actually existed or not. This makes it just a more modern version of the other myths Drake has successfully discovered over the years, but it gets even more interesting.


Île Sainte-Marie was also the base of operations for a French pirate known as Olivier Levasseur, who was responsible for one of the single most lucrative feats of piracy ever committed the haul would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars today. Levasseur was hanged in 1730, but his legacy would live on from the gallows, he reportedly tossed several parchments covered in cryptograms and codes into the assembled crowd, offering his hidden treasure to anyone who could decipher his riddle. This was actually
used as the setup for mobile spin-off Assassin’s Creed: Pirates


.Levasseur’s riddle still hasn’t been solved to this day, but not for want of trying several optimistic treasure hunters are still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together today, despite storms destroying a sand wall and leaving the current search area in the Seychelles submerged. The cryptic clues are apparently inspired by the 12 labours of Hercules, making this treasure the perfect prize for an adventurer like Drake.


The map trailer also features a voiceover by an unnamed character, containing threats that we can safely
assume are aimed at Drake. “You left me, rotting in that hell-hole and never looked back,” the mysterious voice says. “But you can’t outrun the past. And when it catches up, when all your lies collapse around you, I’ll be there, sifting through the wreckage. You owe me.”


In the most recent footage, Drake is clearly still wearing his wedding ring given how much older he is than when we last saw him at the end of Uncharted 3, we can probably assume that he has successfully patched things up with Elena. Why is this signifi cant? Well, from the new trailer’s voiceover, Drake seems to imply that this adventure is something he has to do rather than something he wants to do a big score wouldn’t be enough to bring him out of retirement, but saving someone he loves almost certainly would.


There’s going to be a lot of assuming going on here, but the evidence is stacking up so we’re cool with taking an educated guess or two. So this is how we reckon things are going down someone Drake has wronged in the past has kidnapped Elena and is using her as leverage to send Drake after Levasseur’s lost treasure, meaning he’ll have to follow the ancient clues from place to place, solve the 300-year-old riddle and fi nd the pirate booty to secure her safe return. Letters relating to the discovery of Levasseur’s documents suggest that the cryptograms were passed down among Freemasons, which may well be where the conspiracy angle mentioned in the offi cial press release comes in it could be that the treasure contains something far more valuable than we know, or has some other signifi cance or danger attached to it. Nolan North seems to think that this will be Drake’s fi nal outing, and the title would seem to corroborate that… but will Naughty Dog have the balls to kill off its biggest earner? We look forward to fi nding out…

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