Uncharted 3 Celebrates 10th Anniversary by Looking Back at the Plane Scene

Yesterday marked 10 years since Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception first released on PS3. Within this third entry, Nathan Drake traversed through sinking ships, burning buildings, and even a bar fight. Arguably though, 3's most memorable moment was the cargo plane sequence.

In a special Naughty Dog blog post commemorating the occasion, Game Designer Kurt Margenau sat down with Naughty Dog's president, Evan Wells, and Vice President, Christian Gyrling. Discussing their favourite memories working on the sequel, Margenau mentioned the challenges of crafting this plane sequence.

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Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary With A Look-Back At The Plane Scene

Margenau discussed how the idea came about, with initial discussions highlighting the scope of the scene:

It was truly a collaborative effort with animators, programmers, sound designers, and anyone else who cared to contribute. It started with an off-the-cuff idea of, 'What if you could chase down a plane on the tarmac and board it,' which turned into, 'Ok, what if the plane crashed while you were in it?' and then figuring out how that could even work and be playable.

Micro-details such as the cargo trucks had to be intricately animated, while also projecting real-time changes in scenery.

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I was making little models of trucks on my desk to figure out how the player could climb on these things as they're hanging out of the back of the plane. Jeremy [Yates] was doing wire-work on the mocap stage to capture climbing on a cargo net blowing in the wind. We had to implement some old-school perfectly seamed-up infinitely scrolling backgrounds to make the desert able to move infinitely below the plane.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End marked the end of Nathan Drake's story.
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Uncharted 4: A Thief's End marked the end of Nathan Drake's story.

Margenau also teased the existence of a zero-gravity sequence in the plane, though that part was eventually cut. Meanwhile, Wells noted the multiplayer as a highlight of the game's development. Gyrling discussed the challenges of fixing last-minute glitches, leading up to the submission of a final build to Sony:

After a few hours of playing, the game started having glitches. The glitches got worse and worse until enemies would be invisible, the ocean became blood red, and levels would be outright missing.

A resolution was quickly discovered through quality assurance testers playing two versions of the game side-by-side, resulting in the implementation of a bug fix on release.

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While the Uncharted game series finished with The Lost Legacy in 2017, Tom Holland is leading the PlayStation film adaptation next year. Glimpses of the plane sequence can also be seen in its first trailer, and we'll keep you updated with further news.