Voice actor Nolan North has an exhaustive list of credits under his belt, but perhaps his best known role in the world of video games is as rakish adventurer and treasure hunter Nathan Drake, in Naughty Dog’s Uncharted adventure game series. Claiming to be a direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake, Nathan’s adventures take him all around the world, through tombs and lost cities, and frequently into the jaws of danger.
The Uncharted games are published by Sony Computer Entertainment, and over the past several years efforts have been made in Sony’s film production branch, Sony Pictures, to bring the Uncharted franchise to the big screen as well. Like many video game movie projects, Uncharted is currently stuck in development hell, and North has revealed that he doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Speaking in an interview with Game News, North explained that he has no involvement with the development of the Uncharted movie, though he has been keeping track of the ups and downs of it.
“My opinion on all this stuff, from what I’ve heard from fans, is they don’t want an Uncharted movie, no matter who’s the star of it. Maybe it’s because it’s such a cinematic experience in itself. I don’t know if it’s financially feasible for the studios to make this film any more, personally… The most recent film, Hitman, wasn’t received very well and others have not done very well. Some have, I know Resident Evil did OK, but that’s a different genre…
“I think the emotional investment people have with Nathan Drake is so high that it would be very difficult for them to accept someone else – even me, with my face – as Nathan Drake.”
North makes a good point about the cinematic nature of the Uncharted games. In essence, these games are designed like a playable action movie; their ‘hook’ is using exciting, fast-paced scenes of explosions and chases and shootouts, and allowing the player to take control instead of just sitting back and watching passively. There’s nothing inherently groundbreaking about the idea of turning Uncharted into a movie, because Steven Spielberg already made that movie three decades ago with Raiders of the Lost Ark. That’s not to say, of course, that the right screenwriter and director couldn’t make a great Uncharted movie.
The point about video games fans not being ready to accept a different actor playing Nathan Drake seems a little more dubious, as there is plenty of speculation as to who should play the character in a movie (Nathan Fillion circa 2003 seems to be the most popular choice). Moreover, a movie adaptation would have to court more than just the hardcore fans of the game series in order to be successful.
The success or failure of upcoming video game adaptations like Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed may well have an effect on Uncharted‘s fate, and those fans who really aren’t interested in a movie version of Nathan Drake could probably be won over by the right trailer. For now, though, it doesn’t look like the project is making much progress.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will be available for the PlayStation 4 on March 18, 2016. We’ll keep you updated on the Uncharted movie as development continues.