When it was announced last December, reactions to Uncharted: The Lost Legacy were mixed. On the one hand, fans were getting a brand new Uncharted experience, and one completely separate from the other games no less. On the other hand, it doesn't feature Drake or Sully, two characters who have come to represent the franchise.
Put it this way, it's like having Indiana Jones without Indiana Jones. But that's completely unfair to The Lost Legacy, which looks like a beautiful expansion of the Uncharted universe. By transitioning to new characters, Naughty Dog has the freedom to tell new stories that don't come with the baggage of the first four games.
"We wanted the ending of Uncharted 4 to be meaningful, so an expansion with Drake was never on the table," explained Kurt Margenau, game director of The Lost Legacy, in an interview with TechnoBuffalo. "We never wanted to do a Left Behind where it was supplementing the existing story. Part of why we chose Chloe and Nadine is the freedom that we get."
Another reason why Naughty Dog chose Chloe and Nadine was because they wanted to see how their contrasting personalities clashed.
"The idea of teaming Chloe up with Nadine was really compelling for us because the characters are so different," Margenau said. "Nadine is a wheeler-dealer, self-preservationist, while Chloe is more militaristic and logical. With these characters, we have a chance to expand the universe and really explore who Chloe and Nadine are."
But don't worry, just because Drake isn't featured doesn't mean he won't be mentioned. Both Chloe and Nadine have a complicated history with Drake, and The Lost Legacy will provide more background as to how all of the characters are connected. Drake won't, however, show up in the game, as Naughty Dog has already confirmed.
Another way Naughty Dog is hoping to separate The Lost Legacy from the adventures with Drake is by tightening up the gameplay and bringing some of the wonder back into the franchise, which some fans feel has been lost over the years.
"We think of The Lost Legacy as a culmination of the Uncharted series, pulling what we really liked about the previous games and expanding the gameplay," Margenau said.
For example, players will be able to explore environments more thoroughly and drive around in a jeep, which we caught glimpses of in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Margenau also added that Chloe will have a lock pick from the get-go, which will allow her to break into places and find more treasure, something explorers and completionists will appreciate.
In a new gameplay demo shown off in a closed-door press briefing, it's clear the franchise is bringing back the sense of adventure fans fell in love with in Uncharted and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. That means bigger environments and an overall grander scale.
We'll also get to see the growing dynamic between Chloe and Nadine who, at best, appear to have a tempestuous relationship. Albeit, one that's very engaging and funny to see unfold, whether they're bantering during gunfights or arguing about where to go next.
"We're going to learn a little more about Chloe and what makes her tick in this game," Margenau said. "She's always been this self-serving character who has had dubious alliances. That was a fun element to play with. Same goes for Nadine, who we saw evolve in Uncharted 4. When you have two characters that are like that and they have to team up, a lot of fun "what if" scenarios pop up."
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a complete standalone that's scheduled for an August 22 release.