"Uncharted 4: A Thief's End," to be released May 10, is just that for Nathan Drake. Naughty Dog is bringing the curtain down on the franchise with a finale that's fitting for a devil-may-care treasure hunter. For Naughty Dog, the game developer acquired by Sony in 2001, this is the end of their most successful franchise ever, selling oved 21 million units. "Uncharted 3" sold 3.8 million copies in its first day alone when released in 2012. In a preview event in New York City March 31, Naughty Dog revealed the expansive world of "Uncharted 4." Drake is on the hunt of the elusive treasure of Henry Avery.
There's a question at the heart of the Uncharted games that the latest title, released to great acclaim this month, tackles most directly: is the dashing lead protagonist, Nathan Drake, a hero or a thief? The continuing success of Naughty Dog's action-adventure series, along with the resurgent Tomb Raider games, shows that the "adventuring archaeologist" trope is a resilient one. The modern precursor of both Nathan Drake and Lara Croft is of course Indiana Jones, who retains a vice-like grip over the public imagination. But Jones represents an archetype that stretches back much further, of course; his true inspiration can be traced beyond the 1950s movie matinee serials and pulp comics that inspired George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and toward the great colonial fantasies of King Solomon's Mines, The Lost World and the Boy's Own magazines. There are even older precedents: Egyptian literature from the first century CE introduces Setna – a prince who raids tombs in search of a magical book.
Need some video game pursuits to keep you occupied during the stay-at-home measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus? Sony has a giveaway for PlayStation 4 players. Once you download the games, you can keep them. "People all over the world are doing the right thing by staying home to help contain the spread of COVID-19," wrote Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan in a post on the PlayStation blog. "We are deeply grateful to everyone practicing physical distancing and take our responsibility as a home entertainment platform seriously, so we are asking our community to continue supporting the safe choice and the need to Play At Home."
The newest chapter of the Uncharted series, The Lost Legacy, should make you want to throw out every game in the franchise before it. Calling Lost Legacy a promising next step for the series in a post-Nathan Drake world doesn't do it justice. The comparison diminishes what the game uniquely accomplishes, which is far more than anything Nathan Drake ever did. While undoubtedly popular and beloved, until now the Uncharted series did little to innovate beyond perfecting the wall-scaling, linear action-adventure game formula. Each new game in the franchise came across as essentially a prettier version of "more of the same."