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Naughty Dog

Uncharted is a cinematic action-adventure video game series where you climb things, shoot things and solve puzzles. It is a game where Nathan Drake, the protagonist you play as, gets shot at.

A lot.

If you’ve ever played a video game that involves guns, you’re likely aware that the screen filling with red is an easy way for the game developers to say “YOU ARE TAKING DAMAGE!” 

Until today, I believed that was true of all games where you get shot at. Turns out, when it comes to Uncharted, I am completely wrong.

Jonathan Cooper, an animator with Uncharted developer Naughty Dog, explained on Twitter Sunday that when he joined the team, he learned the surprising truth about bullet damage.

“Drake doesn’t ever take bullet damage,” tweeted Cooper.

That’s right. When you see the encroaching red ring in an Uncharted game, that is not Drake being physically hit with bullets. That’s his “luck running out”. As Cooper explains: “Eventually enemies will get a clear shot and kill him if he takes enough near-misses.”

The red represents bullets missing Drake.

This changes everything.

To really solidify this as truth and not just Cooper pulling legs for a cheeky laugh, Amy Hennig, original writer and creative director of the Uncharted series, chimed in, stating that the “original intention” of the design choice was to “stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging.”

Uncharted wears those homages on its sleeve, with connections to films such as the iconic Indiana Jones series apparent from the opening credits. So while that explanation explains the reasoning behind Uncharted’s “luck” system, it doesn’t make me any less surprised.

Mind. Blown.

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