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Uncharted Nathan Drake : Adventurer Extraordinaire

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June 10, 2015

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Image Courtesy of Sony / CC BY 3.0

Uncharted Nathan Drake: An Introduction

Uncharted Nathan Drake / I AM Nathan Drake, a modern day adventurer. My life is full of daring adventures and thrilling exploration.

I am one of the few living who has seen the magnificent golden El Dorado before it plunged to the bottom of the ocean. The quest for it eventually lead me to an adventure playground in the Pacific. An old fort, a sunken city, a raging river and a monastery. The quest was fraught with danger. Pirates, mercenaries and a dark curse which made monsters out of men!

My second adventure had me in pursuit of Marco Polo’s lost fleet. I was in search of the Cintamani Stone that it was supposedly transporting. While the stone was not to be found there was a clue that led to the location of Shambhala. Here a great power lay. No epic quest seems to be without dangers though. Zoran Lazzarevic, a war criminal, was also intent on finding the stone. Giant horned monsters were determined to stop us both!

My third adventure was in search of the lost city of Iram of the Pillars in the desert of Rub’ al Khali. A location shown to me by a celestial map. There we kept the hallucinogenic power of the Djinn out of the hands of our enemies. We managed to escape the city as it was sinking!

I owe a lot to my two companions. Sullie, a man who picked me out of obscurity and became my mentor. Elena, a feisty reporter hell bent on getting a story and who has become the love of my life.

Uncharted Nathan Drake : Character Creation

Nathan Drake is the protagonist in the immensely popular Uncharted video game series on the Playstation 3.

A lot of thought went into making the character. This combined with the amazing range of expressions Nathan Drake was given is the reason why he is arguably one of the most memorable characters in gamedom.

Character Design: Drag-and-Drop

The developer Naught Dog started off by doing a bit of a drag and drop when creating Drake.

Drake’s appearance and personality were inspired from a number of sources including the heroes of pulp magazines, novels and films. His creators though were determined not to make a derivative Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider.

Lead game designer Richard Lemarchand took the “coolness and goodness” he saw in actor and stuntman Johnny Knoxville. He also drew on comic characters like Doc Savage and Tintin as inspiration for the character.

uncharted nathan drake johnny Knoxville inspiration

Johnny Knoxville is an American stunt performer, comedian, actor, screenwriter and film producer. He is probably best known as the co-creator and star of the MTV reality stunt show Jackass.

Image by Chris Dotson (Flickr) / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The series writer Amy Hennig had Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis and even Cary Grant in mind which helped give Drake his irreverent, roguish sense of humor and gritty charm.

Drake has a habit of thinking out loud. This was meant to correlate with the likely thoughts and reactions of the player.

Unlike Indiana Jones who will fight to see that an artifact finds it’s way into a museum Drake is in it for the money. He’s also quite happy to align himself with thieves and steal something from a museum.

He was imbued with qualities like resourcefulness and intelligence. Strong-willed and humorous which includes the many sarcastic quips that he comes up with.

He knows when he’s in way over his head. You’ll hear him commenting or complaining about the absurdity of the situation.

Naming the Character

A number of names were shortlisted for the character including Ethan, Samuel, John and Matthew. Eventually, Nathan was chosen because it could be shortened to Nate. Some felt that it also had an historical ring to it.

Outward Appearance

In an effort to make Nathan Drake a relatable ordinary character he wore jeans and a T-shirt. In the first game he wore a gun holster and in the second a brown henley. This helped Drake to embody the everyman archetype. A “blank slate” that everyone would feel comfortable playing.

The remarkable range of expression Drake has comes courtesy of the programmers who designed a layered-animation system to make Drake’s motions realistic by blending mutliple poses and reactions together. This in turn allowed them to create the complex facial and wrinkle mapping system which makes Drake seem all the more human.

He was made to be a fallible human-being, too. He stumbles while running. There is no guarantee that he will make the jump! (trust me on this one!) Even when he does he sometimes barely does so.

Actor Nolan North was influencial in how the character turned out. As motion capture was used in the game Nathan’s physical reactions are those of North’s. North was also allowed to ad-lib dialog and infuse some of his own personality into the character.

Nathan Drake is definately one of the most interesting characters I’ve played. Having played through all of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune I was indeed struck by how life-like he was. Though the first game is 6 years old now it’s still an impressive game by today’s standards.

Uncharted Nathan Drake – Can you think of any video game character that trumps Nathan Drake when it comes to realism?

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is expected out in Spring 2016.

My thanks to the Wikipedia community who did a great write-up on the character Nathan Drake.
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