Uncharted 4 was a critical success, and it achieved it in spite of the fact that Naughty Dog lost long-term series visionary and game director Amy Hennig. As it turns out, had she remained with the studio for all of development, Uncharted 4 would have looked a lot different, including some major changes to characters.
Amy Hennig is famed for being one of the creative minds behind Uncharted, and has won awards recognizing her for her contributions to both the series and the games industry as a whole. Her departure from Naughty Dog was one of the most high profile moves that year, as she chased an offer from EA to help create the now infamous Visceral Star Wars title. While that project didn’t work out and Hennig has left EA as a result, it’s likely only a matter of time before she’s involved in another major game release.
In the meantime, Hennig sat down with US Gamer to discuss the cancellation of Star Wars, the formation of her development team at Visceral, and the way she would have approached Uncharted 4. Hennig stated that she was a little put-off from playing the game initially because it felt strange to watch characters she created handled by a different writer. Once she got past that, though, she had a number of interesting insights into how the game would have looked had she remained creatively involved:
“The major differences had to do with like, I was introducing the idea of Sam as the brother. But my take on it was sort of different, that it was a little bit more-I mean I wouldn’t call him the antagonist in the classic sense, but it wasn’t an antagonistic force in Drake’s life that he had to reconcile. So it was, you know, complicated by stuff coming up from the past.”
Hennig’s interpretation of Drake’s brother Sam was certainly a little bit edgier compared to the one we got in Uncharted 4. It did seem that Hennig wanted Drake to have to reconcile his past before he and Sam worked together properly, which would have been a different perspective for the game’s story. Hennig also stated that the team behind Uncharted 4 made some additions after she had left that she hadn’t considered for the game:
“So all the beats, if you look at the chapter beats – with the exception of we didn’t have the flashbacks to his childhood and then we didn’t have the Nadine character – but just looking at the break by break that sorted the chapters…that was all while I was there.”
It’s interesting that Hennig specifically noted that Nadine wasn’t one of her characters. Nadine came under criticism for being a black woman portrayed by a white woman in-game. The character was also divisive outside of that fact, and was a talking point for many when Uncharted 4 first released.
Luckily, we don’t have to long for an alternate reality where Hennig was still at Naughty Dog for the completion of the game. Uncharted 4 was great, a fitting end to the story of Nathan Drake if that’s how it stands. Still, though, it’s fascinating to get a glimpse into what it might have looked like had a brilliant mind like Hennig’s remained on board for the entirety of its development.
Source: US Gamer