With only days left until Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End finally hits shelves, many PlayStation 4 owners will be salivating in anticipation for the next, and supposedly final, Nathan Drake adventure. Having built a franchise with four games (and a fifth if we count Vita's exclusive), spanning almost a decade, and selling over 21 million copies, the long wait for this hotly anticipated PS4 exclusive is nearly over.
December 2015 saw a successful multiplayer beta that promised a fresh addition to the series, and with Uncharted 4 now a week away, Sony and Naughty Dog have fully revealed the multiplayer offerings, microstransactions systems and the plan for future maps and content - all of which will be absolutely free to all players.
In a refreshing change of pace from the likes of Call of Duty where active players are required to pay out extra cash for new maps, Lead Game Designer for Uncharted 4, Robert Cogburn, shared details on PlayStation.Blog in an extensive user guide to their planned multiplayer experience. He kicks off the post by delivering the best possible news for those purchasing the game - that players won't have to pay a penny for any extra content or DLC.
"Right off the bat, we want to highlight that all future maps and modes will be included with Uncharted 4 at no additional cost, and all vanity and gameplay in-game store items will be unlockable through gameplay!"
Naughty Dog's aim is to keep all players not only happy, but on an even keel, meaning there won't be a division amongst fans based on who purchases specific DLC (something Microsoft applied to Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 on the Xbox One side of things). Cogburn's confident this new structure of community-based gaming will have a "hugely positive impact." Described as an "evolving experience," the approach is certainly new ground for games developers.
"We intend to keep the Uncharted 4 Multiplayer experience as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Over time, Naughty Dog will release a variety of new maps, modes and gameplay items at no additional cost (including Co-op), that will introduce new rules and play styles."
It'll work based on how often users play the game. With each day, as per Destiny and The Division, there will be challenges. Along with match wins, players will earn Relics, which they can access Vanity Chests and DLC Gameplay Chests which in turn unlocks content, including guns, ammo, and outfits. There is, however, an option to buy Uncharted Points which will give you quicker access to these features, meaning some impatient gamers will be able to advance quicker if they wish to splash the cash.
Anyone who has purchased the Triple Pack (it also comes with the Digital Deluxe Edition), will gain access to upcoming content such as a single-player story add-on, as well as two multiplayer packs that include new guns, taunts, and attire.
There's also long-term plans for the multiplayer, with new content released during summer, autumn, and winter - including weapons, boosters, skins, vanity items, co-op content, and additional maps. What's more, there's going to be a Cinema feature, whereby players can review replays and create videos of their intense multiplayer matches, which will add another element for users.
The amount of effort that's gone into the multiplayer appears extensive and impressive, especially given the franchise's origins as a story-driven solo experience. Naughty Dog acknowledges the importance of the online community rather than simply focusing on the single-player and there's a host of features that'll likely appease Uncharted fans who want something other than just a campaign mode. And should it be successful it could even ignite a new model for multiplayer content and DLC in general. Imagine not having to pay a wad of money for the latest Star Wars: Battlefront maps?
Whether Naughty Dog's decisions will impact on the video games industry and DLC pricing structure remains to be seen, but it's certainly given everyone more encouragement (not that it was required) ahead of Uncharted 4, that's for sure.
If you don’t have a PS4 and are interested in finishing Drake’s journey, check out the limited edition Uncharted 4 PlayStation 4 bundle available for pre-order.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is released worldwide on May 10, 2016.