Can Uncharted 5 work without Naughty Dog?

A new advert for the PlayStation 5 has fans in a frenzy after it appeared to herald the next adventure in Naughty Dog’s beloved Uncharted franchise. The question comes up; Can a future sequel succeed without the guiding hand of the acclaimed developer?

The Live From PS5 commercial is presented in a news report style and features most of PlayStation’s heavyweights such as Ratchet and Clank, Aloy, Kratos and Spider-Man. At first glance, it seems like any other PS5 promo designed to spice up the console and its upcoming games for the year to come. But attentive viewers spoke of the young woman exploring an ancient-looking cave and uncovering artifacts. Clips of the footage have led fans to believe this could be the first look at Uncharted 5, with Cassie Drake at the helm – Nathan and Elena’s teenage daughter.

First introduced in the Uncharted 4 epilogue, Cassie could be controlled by the player as she uncovered mementos of Nate’s past adventures long after he retired. Uncharted 4 was always meant to mark the end of Nathan Drake’s journey, and while the story ended largely satisfactorily, the door may have been left open for Cassie to fill in the shoes left by her father.

Uncharted is a mammoth franchise at this point and one that has been pivotal to PlayStation’s identity, reputation and success. Last year there was cautious optimism that Naughty Dog would return to the world of Uncharted after a recruiter suggested it LinkedIn Search for new talent to “build future teams not only for new titles but also for the legacy of Uncharted”. However, Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann appeared to dismiss the prospect in an interview last week BuzzFeedSaying:

For us, Uncharted has been insanely successful – Uncharted 4 has been one of our best-selling games – and we can put our final touches to this story and say we’re done. We continue.

Neil Druckman via BuzzFeed

If Naughty Dog really pulls out of the franchise, there’s a chance another developer will take the reins, but can they deliver the same level of quality? Well, it’s possible, and there’s reason to hope that Uncharted 5 can live up to the series’ lofty expectations. Naughty Dog has previously entrusted both Bluepoint Games and Iron Galaxy with collection ports of the Uncharted series on PS4 and PS5, respectively.

Working on ports of previous games has given both developers a basic understanding of the series’ basic gameplay mechanics, but both are largely known for ports. Bluepoint Games recently made their mark in the industry with their remake of Demon Souls on PS5 and their support for Sony Santa Monica on God of War Ragnarok. However, there is still a long way to go before the studio can release a major AAA title.

If there’s one studio in the PlayStation family that truly deserves a shot at Uncharted, it’s Bend Studio. The developers of Days Gone? For real? Yes! Uncharted: The Golden Abyss is a prequel to the main series and was developed by Sony Bend for the PlayStation Vita in 2011. While it didn’t quite reach the heights of the first three games, it was still a solid sequel and faithfully recreated the series’ high-octane action-platforming and over-the-top set pieces.

It was previously reported by Bloomberg that Bend Studio was making a new Uncharted game but backed out after fearing the project would be taken over by Naughty Dog. Now that Druckmann has made clear the studio’s intention to pull out of the franchise, the way may be clear for Bend to take the reins.

The studio is something of a black sheep among first-party developers for PlayStation fans due to the overwhelming release of Days Gone. However, Bend has a solid foundation to build on with their success at Golden Abyss to take with them into Cassie Drake’s first adventure. That aside, what a story it would be for the studio to have a full redemption arc by delivering another stellar entry in one of modern times’ most revered series. Can Uncharted 5 work without Naughty Dog?

Fry Electronics Team

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