Uncharted Without Naughty Dog Would Be a Difficult Step to Make, Says PlayStation Exec

Jim Ryan responds to discussions that Uncharted 4 may be Naughty Dog's last entry.

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Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president Jim Ryan has addressed whether the Uncharted series could continue without Naughty Dog, which has developed every mainline entry so far.

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"[Uncharted is] an IP that's very closely tied to that developer. That's all I'll say," Ryan told Eurogamer at Paris Games Week. "It's something that's very special to us, and I think much of that specialness relates to the association between the franchise and [Naughty Dog]. It'd be a difficult step to break that association."

Naughty Dog has repeatedly made statements suggesting Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will be the last game in the series it develops. Although the studio hasn't unequivocally said it will not be involved in future titles, there have been discussions about series going forward, prompting Ryan's statements.

In October 2015, co-director Neil Druckmann said Uncharted 4 represents the "end of an era" for Naughty Dog as a studio.

"We get more and more that feeling of this definitely [being] the end of an era for us as a studio," he said. "We've been with this franchise for almost ten years now from inception all the way to this point. Luckily, we don't get too much time to dwell on that feeling because we're so busy, but every once in a while... you know?"

Before that, lead designer Kurt Margenau indicated Uncharted 4 may be the final entry in the series to star Nathan Drake: "We are fulfilling that vision and it's going to be awesome. It's Nathan Drake's final chapter, so I think fans are going to be happy."

Sony would certainly have good cause to continue the series, as Uncharted is a tentpole franchise for the company. It has also reached more than 21 million copies sold to date and a movie based on the games is in development.

It has been speculated that Naughty Dog may return to The Last of Us for a follow-up, given the critical and commercial success of the first game. Nolan North, who voices Drake in Uncharted and a character in the Last of Us, has said a sequel is in the works.

Following North's statements, Druckmann clarified that a prototype for The Last of Us 2 was made, but the sequel is not currently in development.

"When Bruce (Straley, co-director) and I moved over to Uncharted 4, we were brainstorming ideas for The Last of Us 2 with characters; ideas for TLOU 2 with Joel and Ellie; ideas for a sci-fi game; ideas for a fantasy game, and building prototypes for each one of those ideas," he explained.

"So, I guess [Nolan North] was kind of right in that we were working on stuff, but we don't know what we're doing next and we won't know until probably a few months after we finish Uncharted 4."

Sony has confirmed the Uncharted 4: A Thief's End release date as March 18, 2016. A multiplayer beta for Uncharted 4 will launch on December 4.

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