Play Life, Live Games column: PlayStation could be headed back to ‘Uncharted’ territories

Dusty Ricketts
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Taft Midway Driller

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

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While it doesn’t have the Marios or Zeldas that Nintendo does, or the Halos and Gears of War titles that Xbox has, PlayStation has long been the home to the exclusive video game titles that appeal most to me.

“Marvel’s Spider-Man,” “The Last of Us”, “God of War,” “Ratchet and Clank” and “Astro Bot” are some of the top titles in their respective genres. As great as those franchises are, my favorite PlayStation franchise, my favorite video game franchise, is the Uncharted series.

“Uncharted” is like a modern-day Indiana Jones series, following treasure hunter Nathan Drake as he and his friends get in over their heads trying to secure their fortune and glory. Each game in the series plays out like a massive Hollywood blockbuster, with huge action set pieces and great characters and beautifully written, acted and animated characters.

Since the series started in 2007 on the PlayStation 3 with “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune,” there have been three direct sequels and one spinoff game all created by the developers at Naughty Dog, along with a prequel created for the PlayStation Vita handheld system that was designed by Sony’s Bend Studio rather than Naughty Dog.

Naughty Dog wrapped up Nathan Drake’s story in “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” in 2016, and the series has been dormant since the 2017 spinoff “Uncharted: The Last Legacy” was released. That game instead focused on Chole Frazer, Nathan’s old friend, former love interest and associate who is a treasure hunter of her own.

But finally, it looks like a new game in the Uncharted series is in development, just not at the Naughty Dog studio. Instead, it looks like Sony has created a new unannounced studio based in San Diego that is hard at work on the next chapter of the Uncharted series.

Michael Mumbauer was apparently the studio head at this new studio through last November. On his LinkedIn profile, he wrote: “His latest achievement is having built a brand new, all-star, AAA Action/Adventure development team for PlayStation. Based in San Diego and utilizing proprietary engine technology, this team was assembled to expand upon existing franchises and craft all new stories for the next generation of gamers.”

While his page doesn’t specifically mention the Uncharted series, he also shared a YouTube video on his page about Sony setting up a secret studio to create “Uncharted 5.”

Naughty Dog has created masterpiece after masterpiece since 2007, so I am disappointed it has moved on from the Uncharted series. That said, I am extremely excited to see this series continue. “Uncharted 4” did an amazing job wrapping up Nathan Drake’s story, so it will be interesting to see if the next game in the series will bring him out of retirement somehow or focus on a new character.

(Editor’s note: Spoilers are ahead for the end of “Uncharted 4”) The fourth game ended with an epilogue that jumped the series forward many years and put you in control of Nathan’s teenage daughter Cassie. I wouldn’t mind if “Uncharted 5” moved the story ahead a few more years and focused on Cassie going on her first real adventure and could even have Nathan around as a support.

Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at dricketts@thedestinlog.com.