One of the biggest ways players have to suspend disbelief in video games is when they must believe that their avatar can survive a flurry of bullets, hide behind cover, and be totally fine. That’s the case in most games, but that has never been the case in the Uncharted series.
According Naughty Dog animator Jonathan Cooper, Nathan Drake never actually gets hit by more than one bullet before dying. While enemy soldiers and mercenaries shoot boatloads of ammo at him, the darkened, red-laced screen that emerges when Drake is “shot” multiple times actually represents his luck running out after having consecutive near-misses.
That’s a mega-swing! Sidenote I learned on joining the team: Drake doesn’t ever take bullet damage. The red UI that shows ‘hits’ is to represent his ‘luck’ running out. Eventually enemies will get a clear shot and kill him if he takes enough near-misses. https://t.co/byzVKYXVe7
— Jonathan Cooper (@GameAnim) July 8, 2018
Amy Hennig, creative director of Uncharted 1, 2, and 3, confirmed the tidbit. “That was the original intention,” she said. “To stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging.”
It’s an interesting way to look at the way shooters like Uncharted work, and how designers think about their games. Of course, this asks us to suspend our disbelief in a different, if slightly more believable way: Thinking that the hundreds of enemies Drake has confronted throughout the years all have terrible, terrible, aim. Just like in the movies!