Naughty Dog pushed the PlayStation 3 as hard as they could with Uncharted 2. The graphical jump between Drake’s Fortune and Among Thieves is massive, and that was a simple fact as soon as the media and fans saw Naughty Dog’s sequel in motion several E3s ago.
However, in speaking with Spong, Uncharted 3 Game Director Justin Richmond revealed that the graphical jump between Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception would be much more narrow than the previous bound.
“Uncharted 3 isn’t just an incremental update – we did change lots and lots of things – but graphically speaking, it’s not going to have the same gap [as between Uncharted 1 and 2]…It was never going to happen.”
Of course, most gamers will say that Uncharted 2 stands as one of the best looking video games to release during this console generation. Between the lighting, the particle effects and the way weather was portrayed in the experience, Among Thieves was a graphical titan for the PlayStation 3. And it was Naughty Dog’s learned understanding of the PS3 that afforded them the ability to leap from the original Uncharted to its first sequel.
“The way we made it, how much of the PS3’s power we were using… that huge gap that you saw between Uncharted 1 and 2 is the kind of thing that really only happens once per generation. We pushed it really hard…
Uncharted 2 to 3 is still a jump, but its a narrower jump. And going forward, it depends on what we do. There are always ways to improve stuff, always ways we can pull out more stops… like changing optimisations, changing streaming animations, getting more polygons on screen, progressive mesh…
…But I don’t think you’ll ever see that same jump again, at least on a PlayStation 3. There was just so much power left over in the PS3 when we made Uncharted 1, that we figured out how to use and really took it to town when developing Uncharted 2.”
What we’ve seen of Uncharted 3 in demos, assets and media briefings has indicated that it is, indeed, a beautiful game. While Richmond is certainly correct in saying that the graphical upgrades between it and its immediate predecessor are “narrow,” we’d argue that a big jump wasn’t necessary to begin with.
Both games are gorgeous. In fact, what wowed us in the first gameplay reveal for Uncharted 3 was the way fire burned up a building; that says a lot about what’s worth appreciating within Naughty Dog’s work.