Female Gamers Deserve to See Themselves in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection
The Uncharted series has been a flagship PlayStation franchise since 2007, when we were first introduced to the charismatic and rebellious treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Since then, there have been four main entries in the series that all focused on Nate’s adventures. Fans adore Nate, and with good reason — he’s an interesting, nuanced character and Naughty Dog have handled his character development exceptionally well over the course of these games. But in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Naughty Dog dared to do something different — they shifted the focus off Nate and onto Chloe and Nadine. And it gave the series a second wind.
Creating an Uncharted game that didn’t focus on Nate proved that the series could continue with new characters. But what drew fan’s attention most was the fact that, for the first time in Uncharted history, two women were the heroes.
We first met Chloe in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as a fellow treasure hunter and a love interest for Nate. Similarly, Nadine first appeared in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End as a villain. Playing as Chloe, with Nadine by your side, makes The Lost Legacy a must-play for long-time Uncharted fans and newcomers alike — especially for women, who are so often overlooked in gaming.
The Lost Legacy and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End are getting PS5 remasters in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, which releases on January 28. Ahead of the release, we spoke to Shaun Escayg, the creative director and writer at Naughty Dog and Kurt Margenau, the co-director for The Lost Legacy and lead designer on Uncharted 4. They told us about the incredible PS5 enhancements in the remaster, why Naughty Dog chose Chloe and Nadine for The Lost Legacy, why it’s important for games to feature heroes who aren’t destructive men and what’s next for Uncharted.
You’ve Never Played Uncharted Like This
Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy both look incredible to this day, but Naughty Dog did the most when they were remastering these games for PS5.
“It’s like the highest-fidelity version of the game,” said Margenau. The Legacy of Thieves Collection has more visual options, from 4K to even playing at 120FPS, if your TV can handle it, but the most beautiful change is in the upscaled textures.
“All the characters have ultra-ultra-high quality textures that we’d only ever used in the past for the extras model viewer and promotional materials — but they’re now the real-time versions of the characters.”
It also makes great use of the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive trigger support. Now you’ll feel it when you touch something in the game, when something touches you or when you’re in combat. You can even feel the difference when you’re driving over different surfaces or turning at high speeds.
“It’s literally the best way to experience these games,” said Escayg.” You’ve never seen Nathan and Chloe look like this, I guarantee it.”
Chloe and Nadine weren’t always Naughty Dog’s first choice for The Lost Legacy. The team sat down for weeks to work out what the standalone expansion was going to be about. When someone suggested Chloe, “we started hearing the excitement in the room for her first solo adventure,” said Escayg. Until this point, Chloe had been a fan favourite, but a sidekick. Now, Naughty Dog wanted to use The Lost Legacy to explore her past and make her more than a foil to Nate.
“When we landed on Chloe, I think the key thing was: why was Chloe so self-centred? What would put a person in that position?” mused Escayg. From that, every other decision about the game was born. The Lost Legacy is set in India because they wanted to explore Chloe’s heritage. She’s searching for the tusk of Ganesh because it’s an artifact associated with self-sacrifice — a nice counter to Chloe’s selfishness.
“We had to tell the story,” said Escayg. “We thought, this story can elevate the franchise and show a different side and perspective of Uncharted.”
It made a lot of sense to pair Nadine and Chloe in The Lost Legacy. They’re both strong-willed, self-centred and fan favourites, and Naughty Dog realised they could bring out something special in each other.
“The way I like to think of it is like taking each of those characters and putting them in an uncomfortable situation,” said Margenau. “Nadine is used to being in charge and after the events of Uncharted 4 she’s down on her luck and working for someone else. And we put Chloe in a place where she has to be the hero. She’s someone who always flips sides, or picks the side that she thinks is gonna win. So can she be put in a situation where she has to become the hero.”
Chloe and Nadine aren’t always allies in The Lost Legacy, but they realise — perhaps for the first time ever for these characters — they’re stronger together than alone.
Handle with Care
Throughout development, the team kept asking: what if a thief found something worth saving? So much of Uncharted is about claiming long-lost treasure, and although Naughty Dog handles these stories with care, they wanted to try something different. The Lost Legacy is about Chloe connecting with her heritage and reconciling her image of her late father.
“People were happy to see this strong female protagonist who doesn’t do, I guess, stereotypical male stuff, which is pillage and steal,” said Escayg. “They mentioned the kurti and all the authentic elements [of Indian culture]. We can’t take all the credit, we had great advisors there making sure we stayed true to the culture.”
Ultimately, The Lost Legacy is a game about saving history, not profiting off it, and making Chloe and Nadine the heroes made that possible.
Charting the Future
Naughty Dog learned a lot about Uncharted while making The Lost Legacy, including some things that might influence the future of the series.
“The Lost Legacy was testament to many things. We didn’t necessarily need Nathan Drake. We can have other characters own this world. Uncharted can be bigger than the Nathan Drake perspective,” said Escayg. “We’re pretty excited about what else that means for the world, how many other stories we could tell at that level or even bigger.”
Does that mean Chloe and Nadine will be returning? Shaun and Kurt stayed tight-lipped about the future of Uncharted, but didn’t rule it out. For now, though, they’re excited for people to experience Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy again in the Legacy of Thieves Collection. It’s the best way to play these games, and a great ride from start to finish.