Details on Amy Henning’s Uncharted 4 version story emerge
Info about a troubled production and her departure.
Uncharted 4 released last year and received good criticism in the video game industry. However, there is a story that hasn’t been told in the game, the story of what happened to Amy Henning. Jason Schreier, a journalist from Kotaku, oversees this is in his book “Blood, Sweet and Pixels” and it is an interesting story.
In her version of uncharted 4, Sam was the main villain. He had a grudge against Nathan for leaving him in the Panamanian prison 15 years ago. Nathan thought Sam was dead, and while trying to leave his treasure hunter life behind, he finds out that Sam is his brother. Eventually, they come to terms and make peace with each other, right in time to join forces against the real villain, a thief named Rafe who served time in prison with Sam.
This marks an interesting plot twist because originally they didn’t know they were brothers. There was no Nadine here, probably Neil Druckmann came up with this idea. You can take a look at the teaser trailer launched in 2013 to glimpse her idea.
Originally, Henning had the idea to make Nathan traverse half of the game on vehicles, yes, she wanted to add vehicles. Also, she wanted to make Nathan go without picking a gun for the first part of the game. She thought it could be an interesting twist to change to melee combat for the treasure adventurer.
Now, onto the development of the game. In 2014, many problems appeared in the studio, from lack of resources and personnel for the Uncharted 4 project to internal conflicts between Henning’s team and the co-presidents of Naughty Dog. Jason describes this problem as lack of “cohesive direction”.
This all ended with Henning’s departure in March 2014. Her creative partner and other staff of her team resigned later after that. The co-presidents thought the game wasn’t going the direction it needed. They felt the game wasn’t going well on a general outlook. So they decided to change the story and that led to her departure.
“Druckmann and Straley stopped seeing eye-to-eye with Henning and that they had fundamental disagreements on where to take the uncharted series”.
According to Jason’s book, “Henning signed a no disparagement agreement with the studio that would prevent both her and Naughty Dog from making negative public comments about what had happened, according to people familiar with the arrangement”.
After she left, the co-presidents had a meeting with Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley to decide the fate of Uncharted 4. They would take over the project on the condition to have “Full Creative Control”. They salvage some characters (Sam, Rafe) and environments (like Scotland and Madagascar)
They scrapped a lot of work like animation, cutscenes, and voice work. They even recast major roles for Sam and Rafe. This meant ditching work already recorded by the actors. So they basically turned over the project completely to achieve their vision of where the game should go.
At this point, they dropped the polemic idea to make this the last adventure for Nathan Drake. “We looked at the previous games,” said Druckman. “We looked at the arcs, looked at where Nathan Drake was at, what kind of stories are left to tell, and the only one that came to our mind was the final one, how do we take him out?”.
Before Henning left Naughty dog, the team worked on several mechanics for Uncharted 4. From allowing Drake to propel forward, to a rhythm game in an Italian auction house with Elena.
How Uncharted 4 changed from the original idea to what it is now is really interesting. It seems the success that Druckmann and Straley had with the last of us guarantee them future leaderships projects at the company. You can go here for a video explanation of this story.
In the end, the game did really well with excellent reviews and praises from fans. So you could say it was a happy ending for the series, at least it didn’t end like Mass Effect Andromeda.