In the first game, a lot of the innovation was in the environmental puzzles and the platforming. Is that going to be more complex in this game?
We have really expanded [Drake's] move set so he could traverse his environment in new ways and explore his environment in new ways. The biggest change, I think, comes in expanding on that traversal gunplay.
"Any situation you can imagine or any scene from a movie, it is like, 'Well we can put that in our game.'"
It was a big overhaul; that and being able to do all those moves on moving objects. So on the train, or on the building, or riding in the back of a truck; all those things. That really required a huge overhaul to all of our systems, because basically every single system was touched in order to be able to do that.
But the payoff is huge. It really allows our designers to think completely creatively. Any situation you can imagine or any scene from a movie, it is like, "Well we can put that in our game."
At this point, are you guys as sick of comparisons to Tomb Raider as Crystal Dynamics is?
I imagine we could have a pretty healthy competition to see who is sicker of it! It comes up a lot. The only reason I can see it is sort of natural for people to think that is simply because they share an occupation of treasure hunter.
But from the style of gameplay, ours is much faster and action based, and has a really unique think pace to it. There is also an equally interesting, but very different pace in terms of the exploration or the puzzle element.
Even the character designs are wildly different, apart from the gender, which is a little bit superficial. The fact that Drake is much more at the edge of his abilities and pushing himself to his limit, versus Lara who seems much more in control all of the time and has much more of the grace of an acrobat, and her coming from a background of wealth and education. Drake is much more of a street smarts and school of hard knocks kind of guy.
So is Nolan North going to be in every game that you guys work on?
He is a very talented actor. He certainly embodies Nathan Drake and just brings so much to the process in terms of his ability to capture that really unique and comedic character that Nathan Drake has become.
"Drake is much more of a street smarts and school of hard knocks kind of guy."
Then when we go to capture all of the audio for our in game moments, like when he is talking about the nice parking job and all that stuff, what we will do is we just record a game play, a play through one of our testers, myself, or whoever is playing the game, and then we will just sit that in front of Nolan in the sound studio. He just ADRs from the game play footage. Some of the best stuff comes from stuff that we didn't even write. They are just comments as he is watching the game.
We noticed that Naughty Dog protagonists tend to get goatees every time. We didn't get to see the adversary in this. Is he going to have a goatee?
Yeah, we do have a lot of goatees. Hmm, let me think. No. He is clean shaven.
World exclusive! Clean shaven! Are we going to see cameos from Elena or Sully in this game?
We get asked that question a lot. It is really flattering, because I think that means that we have done a great job of creating some characters that people are actually interested in seeing. But for the time being, we are really just focusing on ...
"We don't want to be distracted by talking about any other characters that may or may not be in the game."
What is the time frame between the two games? How much time has passed?
We haven't really specified, but it is in the vicinity of two to three years. It is a decent amount of time.
Are there any throwbacks or references to Drake's Fortune?
Well the most important thing for us to do is make sure that the game is a standalone adventure; that it is its own chapter and that any throwbacks are just for added color for somebody who might have played it.
Perhaps a little aside that somebody will notice?
You don't have to have played the first one to get this one.
Not at all. A really simple example of that is some of the signs we were climbing on in that demo you saw today, say like the hotel sign. We are doing little throwbacks like that. (Note: the hotel sign in question reads "Hotel El Dorado.")