PS4 Uncharted 4 Will Be "More Personal," Probably Won't Use VR

Neil Druckmann says upcoming game will delve into who Drake is as a person; virtual reality still needs a killer app, the designer says.

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Thanks in part to lessons learned from the development of 2013's PlayStation 3 title The Last of Us, upcoming PlayStation 4 game Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will be "more personal" compared to past entries in the blockbuster series. Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann, who is co-directing the game, says in a new interview that A Thief's End will give players a closer look at who Nathan Drake is as a person, but made it clear that the game won't be as dark as The Last of Us.

"We've learned a lot about how we tell stories through interactivity with The Last of Us and there are lessons that we're applying to Uncharted 4," Druckmann told MCV. "It's about finding that right balance for Uncharted--it's definitely not going to be The Last of Us. But we are trying to make it more personal this time and see how much we can delve into who Nathan Drake really is, and what kind of effect this journey has on him and the people around him."

At the same time, however, A Thief's End will retain the franchise's "summer movie blockbuster" feel, Druckmann said. "We know Uncharted is about fun, charming characters and set pieces, and you're going to see that, too," he said. "You'll see an evolution of that and how we mirror those set pieces to the narrative. That's our challenge."

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A Thief's End launches in 2015 exclusively for PS4. Also in the interview, the subject of virtual reality came up, and with Sony working on its own headset--Project Morpheus--the question was brought to Druckmann about what kind of potential he sees for the technology. He said the future looks bright, but cautioned that he has yet to see a compelling example of virtual reality done right for games.

"There are amazing opportunities," Druckmann said. "We've had some brainstorms over here as far as what we could do, and there's right away unique things of how you can use perspective to get new kinds of experience that you can't get any other way. At the same time, there's still a lot of prove. There hasn't yet been that one experience that says 'Oh yeah, I have to get VR for this.' Someone's going to make it, someone's going to make that game that's like 'Oh crap, I have to get VR for this game,' but I have yet to see that."

So A Thief's End won't use Project Morpheus? "Not yet," Druckmann said with a laugh.

Druckmann isn't alone in thinking virtual reality lacks a solid example of how the technology can be best used for games. Oculus VR president of worldwide studios Jason Rubin said in June that it might be a few years before we see a killer app for virtual reality. Other prominent industry people, including Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick, and Doom creator John Romero, are also skeptical about virtual reality's mainstream appeal.

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