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Uncharted's Nathan Drake isn't a bullet sponge after all

The treasure hunter loses luck, not health.
Nick Summers, @nisummers
July 9, 2018
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Almost every action-adventure game has an unrealistic health system. In Gears of War, for instance, you can take a shockingly high number of bullets (at least on the standard difficulty) before your hero starts to crawl along the floor. Halo: Combat Evolved has regenerating health, and countless games have some kind of insta-healing med kit. You might think that treasure hunter Nathan Drake falls into the same boat, but it turns out the Uncharted franchise has a different health system entirely. That red ring around the screen? It doesn't represent damage, but the hero's luck.

Jonathan Cooper, an animator at Uncharted developer Naughty Dog, revealed the tidbit on Twitter. He said: "Side-note 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." That detail changes the tone of the series dramatically. As Amy Hennig, director of the first three Uncharted games explained: "True! That was the original intention (to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging.)"

Those films, of course, include the iconic Indiana Jones series. (I would argue the games pull from Tintin and the odd James Bond movie too.) The revelation gives the Uncharted franchise a lighter, more swashbuckling feel -- though only slightly, because of course Drake kills a lot of people during his four (five, if you count Golden Abyss) adventures. (Chloe and Nadine have a pretty high head-count in The Lost Legacy too...) Like, seriously. Some of the shooting sequences in Uncharted 3 go on for-freaking-ever.

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