Uncharted 3 Dev Session Report
Developer Naughty Dog hosted an entertaining developer session at the Eurogamer Expo this past Thursday. Producer Richard Lemarchand and the prolific voice actor and Nathan Drake himself Nolan North discussed the upcoming Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
While the majority of game footage they showed was already publically available online Lermarchand and North provided their own commentary and insight into the making of the game to a packed out theatre.
Nolan North was arguably the big draw. Not only is he perhaps the best known voice actor in the video game industry but he was also highly charismatic and funny throughout the presentation. At one point he performed a few character voices on stage which proved to be particularly crowd pleasing. A brief demo of his performance of The Penguin from the upcoming Batman: Arkham City even led to a round of applause from the audience.
He took the crowd through the lengths the actors and even the animators went through to craft the animations and the cinematics of Uncharted 3, even demonstrating on stage some of the things he’d done during the motion capture process.
Sadly, we were told that filming was not allowed during the presentation. This seemed odd at first given that the first few videos had been publically released months ago. However, eventually we were shown world exclusive footage of a new sequence from the game. Taking place just after the desert plane crash (as shown in the various promotional materials and on the game’s box art) a dehydrated Drake stumbles towards a desert town looking for water.
The scene, which was played live, was very reminiscent of the snowbound crashed train sequence from Uncharted 2. The tone is very grim, with the sorrowful backing score and Drake’s animations suggesting that our hero is in very bad shape. While he eventually finds some water, in typical Indiana Jones-style he takes a further beating falling through a collapsing floor and eventually having to deal with some enemy gunmen.
The duo talked briefly about the upcoming Drake’s Journal, a companion book written by North that details the entire process of creating the game. North mentioned how his impetus for writing it was his ignorance about development, likening the situation to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory saying that “everyone loved the chocolate but you didn’t know how they made it.”
He mentioned that this book was to “give credit where credit is due” to the dedicated staff and Naughty Dog and “to show you [the gamers] how it’s done”. It will be published both in digital and physical form by Gamespheres.com sometime after the game launches to (presumably) avoid spoilers and breaking embargoes.
The Q&A section was probably the highlight due to some excellent audience questions and responses from Lemarchand and North. When asked about the facial capture technology used in L.A. Noire North commented “I think it would be incredibly inhibiting. I’ve talked to some of the actors who’ve done it. You can’t move… it’d be very, very difficult.”
Eventually North directed the discussion to another prominent motion capture actor Andy Serkis, most famous for playing Gollum in the Lord of Rings movies.
“Andy Serkis is a bit of a hero of mine. He really is a genius… he had a great quote recently saying that what I do in a performance capture suit is nothing different to what any other actor does… except I wear digital make up. I thought that was brilliant… I read somewhere that he should be considered for an Oscar – he should.”
For a little more insight from the developer session here’s the audio from the Q&A section for your listening pleasure.