A shocking revelation from the developers of the Uncharted series confirms that Nathan Drake's survival skillset is actually based on luck. If anyone had ever wondered how the series lead manages to escape all those dicey situations relatively unscathed, it's because his life meter is actually a luck meter.
Since players first picked up a copy of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune in 2007, the hunky hero has been shot at a lot in the action-adventure franchise. Across the four main games and various expansions, fans that assume they know everything there is to know about Nathan Drake should think again. As everyone patiently waits for any news on Uncharted's future, there is now proof of a game-changing mechanic if the franchise moves forward with Drake still in tow.
Posting on Twitter, Naughty Dog animator Jonathan Cooper revealed that as the screen progressively turns red, the user interface isn't signifying that Drake is taking a bullet. The character frequently tackles gun-toting villains, but the familiar scenario of a depleting "health meter" is a representation of Drake's luck running out before he's hit with a single, fatal, shot.
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
If anyone thought this was just Cooper making a joke, original Uncharted writer Amy Hennig clarified his comments in the same thread. She told Twitter that the luck meter was "the original intention" of the team with hopes to "stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging." See her tweet below.
True! That was the original intention (to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging).— Amy Hennig (@amy_hennig) July 8, 2018
Similar to how Indiana Jones manages to ride a rickety mine cart while being conveniently missed by a barrage of bullets, it's all dumb luck. With Uncharted pulling many comparisons with Steven Spielberg's adventure quadrilogy, Hennig's words definitely make sense. While it looked like Drake was once an ammunition-absorbing sponge, he is actually missed by all of his attackers unless the player puts him in harm's way. This different use of a damage system puts the Uncharted games in a niche category alongside the likes of Brother’s in Arms: Hell’s Highway's risk indicator.
As well as avoiding being shot at, Drake's lucky streak would also explain how he can survive the various plane and train crashes as well as the many seemingly fatal falls across the Uncharted series. It is an interesting idea that sets Uncharted away from most other third-person shooters. Video game history is littered with titles that see players chug along as their character slowly bleeds out, but having a super-lucky bullet-dodger like Drake changes everything. With plans for Shawn Levy's Uncharted movie still in the pipeline, let's see if Nathan Drake's big screen counterpart also has the same clever knack for surviving anything.