Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
|Uncharted: Drake's Fortune|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Engine||Naughty Dog Engine 1.0|
|Release date(s)||NA November 19, 2007
|Genre(s)||Third-person shooter, action-adventure, platform|
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is an action-adventure third-person shooter platform game developed by Naughty Dog, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation 3. It is the first game in the Uncharted series. Combining action-adventure and platforming elements with a third-person perspective, the game charts the journey of protagonist Nathan Drake, supposed descendant of the explorer Sir Francis Drake, as he seeks the lost treasure of El Dorado, with the help of journalist Elena Fisher and mentor Victor Sullivan.
Originally announced at E3 2006, the title was developed for about two years before being released at the end of 2007. Seen as a key title for the PlayStation 3 during the holiday season of 2007, the game was well received by critics, many of whom cited its technical achievements and its high production values, similar to that of summer blockbuster films. The game went on to sell more than one million copies in ten weeks, and become part of the European best-selling Platinum Range of titles. A sequel titled Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, was released in 2009 and a third entry to the series, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, was released in 2011.
Gameplay in Uncharted is a combination of action-adventure gameplay elements and 3D platforming with a third-person perspective. Platforming elements allow Nate to jump, swim, grab and move along ledges, climb and swing from ropes, and perform other acrobatic actions that allow players to make their way along the ruins in the various areas of the island that Drake explores.
When facing enemies, the player can either use melee and combo attacks at close range to take out foes or can opt to use weapons. Melee attacks comprise a variety of single punches, while combo attacks are activated through specific sequences of button presses that, when timed correctly, offer much greater damage; the most damaging of these is the specific "brutal combo", which forces enemies to drop twice the ammunition they would normally leave. Nate can only carry one pistol and one rifle at a time, and there is a limited amount of ammunition per gun. Picking up a different firearm switches that weapon for the new one. Grenades are also available at certain points, and the height of the aiming arc is adjusted by tilting the Sixaxis controller up or down. These third-person perspective elements were compared by several reviewers to Gears of War, in that the player can have Drake take cover behind walls, and use either blind fire or aimed fire to kill enemies. In common with the aforementioned game, Uncharted lacks an actual on-screen health bar; instead, when the player takes damage, the graphics begin to lose color. While resting or taking cover for a brief period, Drake's health level, indicated by the screen color, returns to normal.
The game also includes vehicle sections, where Drake must protect the jeep he and Elena are in using a mounted turret, and where Drake and Elena ride a jet ski along water-filled routes while avoiding enemy fire and explosive barrels. While players direct Drake in driving the jet ski, they may also switch to Elena by aiming the gun in order to use her weapon — either the grenade launcher or the Beretta, depending on the chapter — in defense, or to clear the barrels from their path.
The game also features reward points, which can be gained by collecting 60 hidden treasures in the game that glimmer momentarily or by completing certain accomplishments, such as achieving a number of kills using a specific weapon, performing a number of headshots, or using specific methods of killing enemies. In subsequent playthroughs of the game, the player can use these rewards points to unlock special options; these include in-game bonuses such as alternate costumes and unlimited ammunition but also non-game extras, such as making-of videos and concept art. There are also several references to other Naughty Dog games, especially the Jak and Daxter series; this is done through the "Ottsel" branding on Drake and Fisher's wetsuits, a reference to the species that mixes otter and weasel found in the game, and the strange relic found in one of the earlier chapters, which is actually a precursor orb from the same series.
The game is censored when playing on a Japanese console to remove blood, which normally appears when shooting enemies; this follows the trend of other censored console games in the region, such as Dead Rising and Resistance: Fall of Man.
Nathan Drake (Nolan North) recovers the coffin of the explorer Sir Francis Drake, his ancestor, from the ocean floor off the coast of Panama, using coordinates inscribed on a ring in Nate's possession. He is assisted by journalist Elena Fisher (Emily Rose), who is there to record the events for a documentary. However, the coffin contains only a diary written by Sir Francis, pointing to the location of El Dorado, the fabled city of gold which Sir Francis sought, proving that he faked his death as Nate originally believed. After their boat is destroyed by a band of pirates who have been tracking Nate, Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Richard McGonagle), Nate's friend and partner, rescues them; he and Nate ditch Elena in order to covertly travel into the Amazon and find El Dorado, where they discover clues that it is in fact a large gold statue, and that it was removed long ago by Spanish Conquistadors. Searching further, Nate and Sully discover a long-abandoned Kriegsmarine U-boat containing a missing page from the Drake diary that points to a southern tropic island in the Pacific where the statue was likely taken.
Before they can set out to find the island, Nate and Sully are accosted by Gabriel Roman (Simon Templeman), a competitive treasure hunter who has hired the services of mercenaries led by Atoq Navarro (Robin Atkin Downes), an archaeologist with knowledge of the statue, and Indonesian pirates led by Eddy Raja (James Sie), an old rival of Nate. The mercenaries hired by Roman and the pirates who have been tracking Nate are revealed to be working together to find El Dorado in order to compensate for money that Sully owes Roman. Nate refuses to help Roman, who then shoots Sully in the chest. At that moment the U-boat explodes from a torpedo Nate accidentally set off and he escapes. Elena arrives to confront Nate but the two flee from the scene and fly off in Sully's plane to the Pacific island where the Spanish took the statue.
Having been shot down near the island and separated, Nate works his way to a fort where he spots Elena's parachute; though he spots her from afar he is unable to find her and continues into the fort, where he finds a message from Sir Francis stating that he had gone to the fort's Tower. Upon arriving at Drake's Tower, he is soon captured by Eddy, who demands that Nate assist him in finding the treasure. Elena rescues him and they are shortly reunited, escaping from the fort, Eddy and his pirates. The two work their way through a long-abandoned port city and discover, through a log book in its custom house, that the statue was moved further inland; as Elena spots Sully - alive and well - working with Navarro, heading north, they decide to follow him to the monastery. Along the way, Elena is forced to drop her camera to save herself. Once inside the monastery, they locate hidden passages and rescue Sully, who survived thanks to Drake's diary blocking the bullet, and played along to fool his captors.
Nate and Elena find a series of maze-like passages below the monastery leading to a large treasure vault in which they find Sir Francis Drake's body, assuming that he died on the island searching for the treasure. Before they move on, they encounter Eddy running scared for his life, chased by mutated humans possessing incredible speed and strength. After Nate co-operates with Eddy to fight for their lives, he and Elena escape when Eddy is killed by the creatures, and find themselves in an abandoned Nazi submarine base built into the island. Nate ventures out into the base to restore power to exit the base. During his exploration, he discovers that the Germans had sought the statue during World War II but that, like the Spaniards before them, learned that the statue was cursed; the creatures attacking them are in fact the mutated descendants of the original Spanish colonists. Sir Francis, knowing the statue's power, was actually trying to keep it on the island, before he was killed too by the mutants.
Nate attempts to return to Elena, but finds her captured by Roman and Navarro. He and Sully fight through the descendants and Roman's forces to find that Roman has the statue. Navarro urges Roman to open it; inside is the mummy of El Dorado. The dust from the rotting corpse is inhaled by Roman, who begins to mutate, before Navarro shoots and kills him; he had planned to sell the mutagen as a weapon all along. He then has the statue lifted out by helicopter as his mercenaries are attacked by the descendants. Nate then jumps onto the net the statue is in. Elena, held captive in the helicopter, inadvertently causes the death of the pilot, and the helicopter then crashes onto a cargo ship used by Roman. A final fight breaks out between Nate and Navarro and his mercenaries, before Nate is able to rescue Elena from the helicopter. As Navarro regains consciousness, Nate pushes the helicopter off the tanker, whilst the chain connecting the helicopter to the statue, which has become tangled around his leg, plunges Navarro and the statue into the ocean for good.
Moments later, Sully arrives on a small speedboat, having escaped the island and taken several boxes of treasure he found in the cave. Once aboard Elena reminds Nate that because she lost her camera, he still owes her a story. As the boat sails towards the horizon, Nate assures her he will not break his promise.
After completing Jak 3, Naughty Dog assembled their most technically talented staff members and began development of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune under the codename Big. It was in full production for about two years, with a small team of engineers working on the game for about a year before hand. Naughty Dog decided to create a brand new IP rather than opt to develop a PlayStation 3 Jak and Daxter game—they wanted to create a franchise suitable for the new hardware, in order to develop such ideas as realistic human characters instead of stylized ones owing to limitations of previous hardware, as well as create something "fresh and interesting", although termed as 'stylized realism'. Inspiration was drawn from various sources in the action and adventure genres: pulp magazines, movie serials, and more contemporary titles like Indiana Jones and National Treasure. The team felt the sources shared themes of mystery and "what-if scenarios" that romanticized adventure and aimed to include those in Uncharted.
The game was first unveiled at E3 2006. From early previews of the game, inevitable comparisons of elements such as platforming and shooting between Uncharted and the well-known Tomb Raider series were drawn, earning the title the nickname of "Dude Raider". However, the developers saw their game as concentrating more on third-person cover-based play, in contrast to Tomb Raider's "auto-aiming" play and greater puzzle-solving elements. Throughout the game's development the staff tried to remain flexible and detached from the original design concepts; attention was focused on the features that worked well, while features that did not work were removed. The development team intended the game's main setting, the island, to play a big role in the overall experience. Feeling too many games used bleak, dark settings with monochromatic color schemes, they wanted the island to be a vibrant, believable game world that immersed the player and encouraged exploration.
In designing the characters, the artists aimed for a style that was photorealistic. The creators envisaged the main protagonist, Nathan Drake, as more of an everyman character than Lara Croft, shown as clearly under stress in the game's many fire fights, with no special training and constantly living at the edge of his abilities. Director Amy Hennig felt a heavily armored, "tough as nails" protagonist with a large weapon was not a suitable hero, and decided a "tenacious and resourceful" character would portray more human qualities. Supporting characters (Elena Fisher and Victor Sullivan) were included to avoid a dry and emotionless story. Fisher's character underwent changes during development; in early trailers for the game, the character had dark brown hair, but ultimately the color changed to blonde and the style was altered.
The game went gold in the middle of October 2007. A demo was then released on November 8, 2007 on the PlayStation Network before its final release on November 19 in North America. The demo was first placed on the North American store, and was initially region-locked such that it would only play on a North American PS3. However, this was later confirmed as a mistake, as the developers were apparently unaware that people from different regions could sign up for a North American account and download the demo; a region-free demo was released soon after.
Graphics and technology
Uncharted uses the Cell microprocessor to generate dozens of layered character animations to portray realistic expressions and fluid movements, which allow for responsive player control. The PlayStation 3's graphics processing unit, the RSX Reality Synthesizer, employed several functions to provide graphical details that helped immerse the player into the game world: lighting models, pixel shaders, dynamic real-time shadowing, and advanced water simulation. The new hardware allowed for processes which the team had never used in PlayStation 2 game development and required them to quickly familiarize with the new techniques; for example, parallel processing and pixel shaders. While Blu-ray afforded greater storage space, the team became concerned with running out of room several times—Uncharted used more and bigger textures than previous games, and included several languages on the disc. Gameplay elements requiring motion sensing, such as throwing grenades and walking across beams, were implemented to take advantage of the Sixaxis controller. A new PlayStation 3 controller, the DualShock 3, was unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, and featured force feedback vibration. Uncharted was also on display at the show with demonstrations that implemented limited support for vibration.
Being Naughty Dog's first PlayStation 3 game, the project required the company to familiarize themselves with the new hardware, and resulted in several development mistakes. The switch from developing for the PlayStation 2 to the PlayStation 3 prompted the staff to implement changes to their development technology. Naughty Dog switched to the industry standard language C++ in order to participate in technology sharing among Sony's first-party developers—the company had previously used their own proprietary programming language GOAL, a Lisp-based language. In rewriting their game code, they decided to create new programming tools as well. This switch, however, delayed the team's progress in developing a prototype, as the new tools proved to be unreliable and too difficult to use. Ten months into full production, the team decided to recreate the game's pipeline, the chain of processing elements designed to progress data through a system. In retrospect, Naughty Dog's Co-President Evan Wells considered this the greatest improvement to the project. Additionally, the animation blending system was rewritten several times to obtain the desired character animations.
The game was patched on August 4, 2008 in Europe and North America to version 1.01 to include support for the PlayStation 3's Trophy system. There are 47 trophies in the game that match the medals that can already be won in the game and one further trophy, the Platinum trophy, awarded when all other trophies have been collected; Uncharted was the first PlayStation 3 game to include the Platinum trophy type. Similar to other PlayStation 3 titles that receive trophy support via downloaded patches, players must start a new save game to be awarded trophies, regardless of how many medals they received in previous playthroughs. This was enforced because the developers wanted to avoid the sharing of save data in order to gain trophies they did not earn. The patch was described as "incredibly easy" to implement, owing to the game already containing preliminary support for Trophies via its Medals system; it was also stated that these hooks were already included due to Naughty Dog's belief that Sony would roll out the Trophy system before the game's launch in November 2007. Despite mentioning that the game was developed as a franchise and that it lent itself to episodic content, it was later stated that no content available via download would be made for Uncharted.
Shortly after the release of the game, Naughty Dog's co-president, Evan Wells, stated that Uncharted had been developed as a franchise, and so a sequel was likely. It was later confirmed that the development team had put their work on the next installment of Jak and Daxter on-hold to work on Uncharted 2 for release in 2009. This sequel was revealed to be entitled Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in December, 2008 by Game Informer.
Film producer Avi Arad has stated that he is working with a division of Sony to develop the film adaptation of Uncharted. In response to a question posed to Richard Lemarchand, lead game designer of Naughty Dog, on whether he would like to see a film adaptation of Uncharted, he replied "no comment.".
Since then, Columbia Pictures has confirmed that an Uncharted film is being developed. It is to be produced by Avi Arad, Charles Roven and Alex Gartner. As of June 30, 2009, it was confirmed that the Uncharted film has been in development for the last year-and-a-half. On October 8, 2010, it was revealed by Columbia Pictures that David O. Russell will be writing and directing the film. On May 26, 2011 it was reported that Russell had left the project. In July 2011 it was reported that Neil Burger, director of Limitless would direct the film adaption. In late August 2012 it was confirmed that Burger had left his position as director of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Nathan Fillion has expressed great interest in playing Nathan Drake.
During the Closed Beta of PlayStation Home on October 11, 2008, Naughty Dog released an Uncharted themed game space for PlayStation Home. This space is "Sully's Bar" from the game. In this space user's can play an arcade mini-game called "Mercenary Madness", which during the Closed Beta, there were rewards. The rewards were removed with the release of the Home Open Beta. There are also three other rooms in this space, in which during the Closed Beta, users had to find out codes to the doors that accessed these rooms. The code entry to the rooms was also removed with the release of the Home Open Beta. The three other rooms are the "Artifact Room", "Archives", and "Smuggler's Den". There is an artifact viewer in the Archives and Smuggler's Den rooms. Also in the Archives there is a video screen that previews Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The Artifact Room only features seating and different artifacts for users to look at. This space was one of the first five game spaces of the PlayStation Home Open Beta in North America, which Home went Open Beta on December 11, 2008. This space was released to the European version on November 5, 2009, almost a year after the Open Beta release. Naughty Dog has also released a game space for Uncharted's sequel on October 23, 2009 making Uncharted the first game series to have a game space for both games in its series.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was well received by game critics. Game Informer complimented the visuals and dialogue between the characters Drake and Fisher, calling them stunning and entertaining respectively. They further added that the production values appeared high, citing the level of detail and musical score. PlayStation Magazine echoed similar statements about the visuals and compared them to that of Crysis.
The overall presentation of the game received unanimous praise from critics, who recognized the game's high production values, describing them as "top-notch", "incredible" or comparing them to those found in Hollywood. When combined with the overall style of the game, this led many reviewers to compare Uncharted to summer blockbuster films, with the action and theme of the game drawing comparisons to the Indiana Jones film series. As part of the presentation, the game's story and atmosphere were also received well. The depth of the characters was praised, each having "their own tone". The voice acting was also received well, as the cast "nails its characterizations"; overall, the voice acting was described as a "big-star performance", "superb" and "stellar".
The technical achievements in creating this presentation were also lauded. The graphics and visuals were a big part of this, including appreciation of the "lush" jungle environments, with lighting effects greatly adding to them. The game's water effects were also appreciated. Overall, many reviewers commented that, at the time, it was one of the best-looking PlayStation 3 games available. Further to the graphical aspects, both facial animation and the animation of characters, such as Nate's "fluid" animations as he performs platforming sections were noted, although the wilder animations of enemies reacting to being shot were over-animated "to perhaps a laughable degree".
Criticism of the game included some graphical issues, such as texture pop-in and screen tearing. Of more concern were gameplay issues, including overall gameplay length being rather short, with reviewers completing the game in anywhere from six to ten hours, and some disappointment with the "not particularly memorable" vehicle sections; the inability to both aim weapons and drive the jet-ski was a well-noted issue. Further, some "frustrating, repetitive slogs" with regards to the "constant stream" of pirates and mercenaries, and "moving from one infuriating firefight to the next" towards the end of the game were cited as part of poorer elements of overall gameplay.
Uncharted received several accolades from web review sites such as Kotaku and IGN, who named it their PlayStation 3 game of the year. The game went on to sell one million copies after its first ten weeks of retail, and later became one of the first batch of titles to be released as part of Europe's budget Platinum range of best-selling titles.
Sony announced at E3 2009 that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune has sold over 2.6 million copies worldwide and was a hit for the PlayStation 3. Game designer Tim Schafer, well known as the creator of the early LucasArts adventure games such as The Secret of Monkey Island, has also lauded the game, saying he "liked it a lot", and jokingly thanked it for teaching him a new fashion tip (Nathan Drake's "half-tucked" shirt).
- List of Uncharted characters
- List of regionally censored video games
- List of films based on video games
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- Nathan: Don't I wish. No, this was ah... this was Francis Drake's ring. I, y'know, kind of inherited it. Elena: "Sic parvis magna"? Nathan: "Greatness from small beginnings" - it was his motto. Check out the date. Elena: 29th of January, 1596. Nathan: One day after he supposedly died. Elena: Wait, what are these numbers, right here? Nathan: Coordinates. Right off the coast of Panama. Elena: Oh, so that's how you found the coffin. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan: Of course. 'El Dorado' - 'the Golden Man'! Sully, it wasn't a city of gold, it was this. It was a golden idol. [...] I bet the Spanish dragged it out on cut logs. Huh... we're four hundred years late for this party. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan and Elena have just escaped Eddy's clutches. Elena: So who was that guy? Nathan: Just an old business asso - OH LOOK OUT! Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Gabriel: Gabriel: See, your friend owes me money, Mr. Drake. A lot of money. So when he told me that you two were onto something big - "the find of a lifetime," he said. Well, I was intrigued. But he's made grand promises before. Haven't you, Victor? And here we are again. Another fool's errand. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan: UK2642... you got that? [...] It's Kriegsmarine coordinates. I think I know where the Spanish took El Dorado. [...] The problem is, so do the bastards who killed Sully. Damn it! If the Spanish found the treasure, they had to've moved it there, to that island. And Drake followed 'em. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan: "Fletcher - we have gone to the great tower. I pray that you will meet us there. Francis Drake"... Wow... So you made it... but what were you plotting? Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Elena: He's alive. Nathan: Huh. Elena: I don't know, Nate... I mean, how much do you trust this guy? It's not exactly like they're holding him at gunpoint. Nathan: I know. Yeah, it seems weird. But no. Sully's a lot of things, but he's not a back-stabber. Which way were they headed? Elena: Uh... North-ish. Yeah, towards the mountains. Nathan: Okay, it's gotta be the monastery. Let's go. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Sully: Now wait a goddamn minute. Roman had a contract out on me. I needed to buy some time. All right, stupid mistake. I didn't realise they'd try and track us. [...] Elena: All right, so how is it you're standing here breathing and all, huh? Sully: You are not gonna believe this. He picks up Francis Drake's journal and shows Nate a bullet-hole in the middle of it. Nathan: No way... Ol' Francis took a bullet for you? Sully: Yeah. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan: It's Drake. He never found it. He just... died here. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan: Eddy, get back here. Oh crap. Eddy: Drake, if we don't make it out of here, I just want you to know - I hate your guts. Nathan: Yeah, likewise pal. Now let's do this. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Sully: Jesus, what are those things? Nathan: It's the Spaniards, Sully. They never left. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan: We gotta stop 'em, Sully. They don't know what they're dealing with! Sully: What are you -? Nathan: I don't know how, but that statue destroyed the whole colony, and it killed the Germans too. [...] Sully: You wanna tell me what the hell's going on!? Nathan: Drake didn't want to get the treasure off the island, Sully. He was trying to stop it from leaving! Sully: What? Nathan: It's cursed or something. Sully: Oh, Nate, for God's sake... Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Gabriel: It's magnificent. The craftsmanship, I've never seen anything like it before. Navarro: That is only a shell. The real treasure of El Dorado lies inside. Open it. Gabriel pries open the statue. There is nothing inside but a rotting corpse. Nathan: My God... Dust billows out from the mouth of the corpse. Gabriel inhales the dust and starts coughing. Navarro: Watch this. Still coughing, Gabriel closes the statue and falls to his knees, gasping for breath. Gabriel: Navarro... Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan: Navarro, that thing wiped out an entire colony. You don't know what you're doing. Navarro: Wrong. I'm the only person on this island who knows what the hell he's doing! [...] You are so pathetic, all of you scrambling around for your petty treasures. Do you have any idea what this is worth, to the right buyer? Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan: Elena! Oh God... Elena. C'mon. Can you stand? Elena: I'm okay... I'm okay. Nathan: Are you all right? Elena: Oh - Nate! Nathan turns to see Navarro standing up. Nathan: Watch out. Nathan pushes the helicopter off the side of the platform. Nathan: Adios, asshole. Navarro: Huh? The rope connecting the statue and the helicopter is tangled in his legs and drags him across the floor and into the sea. Elena: Oh my - Sully's boat arrives, and they wave to him. Elena: Oh... Quite a day. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Nathan: Sorry you didn't get your story. Elena: Ah, that's all right. There'll be other stories. You still owe me one. Nathan: I'm good for it. Naughty Dog (2007-11-19). Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (in English). PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment.
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