Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

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Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Uncharted 4 box artwork.jpg
Developer(s) Naughty Dog
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s)
Designer(s)
  • Kurt Margenau
  • Emilia Schatz
  • Anthony Newman
  • Richard Cambier
Programmer(s)
  • Christian Gyrling
  • Sandeep Shekar
  • Vincent Marxen
  • Travis McIntosh
  • Jason Gregory
Artist(s)
Writer(s)
  • Neil Druckmann
  • Josh Scherr
Composer(s) Henry Jackman
Series Uncharted
Platform(s) PlayStation 4
Release
  • WW: May 10, 2016
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is an action-adventure video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 4 video game console. The game was released worldwide on May 10, 2016. Following Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, it is the final installment to the Uncharted series featuring protagonist Nathan Drake.

A Thief's End follows series protagonist Nathan Drake (portrayed by Nolan North), who has retired from fortune hunting several years after the events of Drake's Deception. He reunites with his estranged older brother Sam and longtime partner Sully to search for clues to the location of Captain Henry Avery's long-lost treasure to save his brother. Compared to previous installments in the series, the game's story campaign features significantly larger and more open-designed levels to allow players more freedom to explore and move about in combat situations, progress through enemy patrols undetected using stealth, and use vehicles to openly navigate around some sections of the campaign.

The game was first teased at the North America PlayStation 4 launch event in November 2013. Upon release, the game was met with widespread acclaim, and was regarded by critics to be one of the best games of 2016. Reviewers found A Thief's End to be a worthy conclusion to the Uncharted series, with praise directed towards its narrative, emotional depth, visual quality, multiplayer, improved gameplay mechanics, and music. The game received numerous year-end accolades, including various Game of the Year awards from several gaming publications and award events. The game sold over 2.7 million copies in its first week of release, and became the fastest-selling entry in the series, as well as the best-selling video game on the PlayStation 4.

Gameplay[edit]

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective, with platform game elements. The player assumes control of Nathan Drake, who is physically adept and is able to jump, sprint, climb, swim, scale narrow ledges and wall-faces to get between points, swing with a rope, use a grappling hook and perform other acrobatic actions. Drake can use various weapons to attack enemies. Stealth elements are incorporated into the game, allowing the player to sneak up to enemies and attack them without being noticed, and has been further expanded upon from previous games, allowing Drake to mark enemies and hide in long grass.[1] The melee combat system was reworked to avoid the presence of quick time events,[2] and Drake can control vehicles directly.[3]

While the game is linear, environments feature multiple paths for the player to explore.[4] Maps are significantly larger than the previous games in the franchise,[5] with the explorable area being 10 times larger than the previous games.[specify][6] The artificial intelligence (AI) of enemies is enhanced; they are now able to respond to the player's actions more responsively, coordinate tactics, and cooperate with each other.[2] The AI of Drake's companions, including Sam and Sully, are improved and they can assist Nathan in combat situations, though the player can not directly command them.[7] A dialogue tree is introduced, though it does not affect the story's progression.[8] The transition between cutscene and gameplay sequences has been described as "seamless".[9] Extra visual filters and modes, such as a zero-gravity mode, bullet time gameplay, and a cel-shaded artstyle, can be unlocked by using points players collected in the main game.[10]

Multiplayer[edit]

Competitive multiplayer is featured in the game. Players play as different characters in the series, and are tasked to defeat their opponents. Treasures can be found in all maps, which can be used to purchase items and weapons.[11] Multiplayer features "Mysticals", supernatural power-ups that boost players' ability. For example, the "Wrath of El Dorado" damages all opponents standing next to it, while the "Cintamani Stone" can heal both players and their teammates. Sidekicks are AI-controlled companions that can be summoned to assist players. The Hunter can immobilize its closest opponent for an easy KO, the Savior can provide medical support and ammo to players, the Sniper can attack opponents through the use of sniper rifles, and the Brute can attack enemies using a heavy machine gun.[12][13] Plunder mode returns, though it was scaled back to support eight players.[14] According to Naughty Dog, vehicles for the competitive multiplayer modes, and a cooperative multiplayer mode, could be introduced after the game's launch.[15][16]

After the final multiplayer beta for the game had ended, some fans expressed their disappointment at the absence of Steve Valentine, the voice actor of fan favourite character Harry Flynn. On March 7, 2016, Naughty Dog community strategist Arne Meyer addressed his absence and claimed that whilst they appreciated the fan feedback, Valentine was offered the role, but could not come to an agreement with the studio and developer to return.[17]

On May 2, 2016, Naughty Dog's lead game designer Robert Cogburn outlined the road map for the game's multiplayer, citing that "all future maps and modes will be included with Uncharted 4 at no additional cost, and all vanity and gameplay in-game store items will be unlockable through gameplay". He emphasized that this will mean "Uncharted 4's multiplayer community will not be fragmented by different types of downloadable content (DLC) and that this approach will "represent an entirely new direction for Naughty Dog".[18]

Synopsis[edit]

Characters[edit]

Nolan North provided the voice of Nathan Drake.

The main character of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is Nathan "Nate" Drake (Nolan North), a veteran adventurer and explorer who has, following the events of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, retired alongside his wife Elena (Emily Rose), a journalist, to a more normal life, and taken up employment with a salvage company in New Orleans for his boss Jameson (Brandon Scott). Uncharted 4 introduces Samuel "Sam" Drake (Troy Baker), Nate's brother, who was presumed deceased. Drawn back into a life of adventure by his brother, Nate is aided by his long-term friend and fellow adventurer, Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Richard McGonagle). Their journey to find and recover the long-lost treasure of pirate Henry Avery brings them into conflict with wealthy and dangerous Rafe Adler (Warren Kole), his ally Nadine Ross (Laura Bailey) who runs the private mercenary group Shoreline, and drug lord Hector Alcazar (Robin Atkin Downes). Child versions of Nate and Sam are voiced by Britain Dalton and Chase Austin respectively.

Plot[edit]

Years before the events of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, brothers Nate and Sam Drake are hunting the treasure of infamous pirate Henry Avery, who plundered $400 million during the 1695 Gunsway Heist. Alongside their financier Rafe Adler, the Drakes infiltrate a Panamanian jail to access the former cell of Avery's first mate, where Nate discovers a hollow St. Dismas idol. During their escape, Sam is seemingly killed by pursuing guards, causing Nate to abandon the quest.

Fifteen years later, Nate has retired with his wife Elena, though he misses the excitement of his old life. He is visited by Sam, who survived his injuries and has spent the intervening time incarcerated. He escaped with drug lord Hector Alcazar who, entranced by Sam's Avery tales, has demanded that Sam finds the treasure or be killed. Although reluctant to return to adventuring, Nate agrees to help Sam, but tells Elena that he will be working a salvaging job.

Aided by Sully, the Drakes steal a duplicate Dismas idol from an illegal auction, bringing them into conflict with mercenary boss Nadine Ross, and her employer Rafe, who is still searching for Avery's treasure. A map inside the idol leads the Drakes to St. Dismas' cathedral in the Scottish Highlands. There, they discover a hidden temple protected by tests assessing the subjects' penitence. Completing the tests reveals a map highlighting King's Bay in Madagascar. They are confronted by Nadine, but one of her men triggers a trap, causing the temple to collapse while the Drakes escape.

In King's Bay, the Drakes and Sully learn that Avery, Thomas Tew, and ten other pirate captains had pooled their treasures together. Following clues to a tower in the city, Nate uncovers a hidden map to Libertalia, a fabled pirate utopia founded by Avery and the other captains. The group returns to their hotel to find Elena waiting. Upset at Nate's deception and the appearance of his brother, whom Nate had never mentioned, Elena leaves. Nate refuses to abandon the quest and sends Sully after Elena.

The Drakes sail to the island on the map, navigating elaborate pirate-built structures and overcoming Nadine's forces to discover the hidden city of Libertalia. They find evidence of a civil war between the colonists and the founders, who stole the cumulative treasure for themselves and moved it across the island to New Devon, an extravagant town where the founders lived. On the way, they are cornered near a cliff by Rafe, who reveals that he released Sam from jail two years earlier and Sam's story about Alcazar was a lie; Alcazar has been dead for 6 months. As Nate reels from the deception, Rafe attempts to shoot him. Sam shields Nate, but Nate is knocked off the cliff and falls unconscious while Rafe takes Sam prisoner.

Elena rescues Nate, who reveals his past: as children, the orphaned Nate and Sam tried to steal their mother's, Cassandra Morgan's, auctioned possessions. They are caught by the new owner, elderly archaeologist Evelyn (Merle Dandridge). Upon learning their identities, she reveals that Cassandra was a brilliant historian in her employ, who had been researching Libertalia. Evelyn suddenly dies due to ill health before she can inform the summoned police that the pair are not intruders. The boys escape and decide to start new lives, changing their surname to Drake to honor their mother's theory about Francis Drake's descendants.

In New Devon, they learn that Libertalia descended into chaos, paranoia, and greed, over the treasure. Tew and Avery poisoned the other founders and absconded with the hoard, but Avery then betrayed Tew, pitting them against each other. Drake and Elena follow a secret passage in Avery's house used to transport the treasure to his ship. Fending off Nadine's forces, the group rescues Sam and convinces him to escape with them in Sully's waiting plane. However, he and Nate are separated from Elena and Sully; Sam decides to pursue the treasure and Nate gives chase to stop him.

Following Sam's trail, Nate finds Avery's treasure-laden ship in a cavern. Having already collected a large amount of treasure, Nadine refuses to risk any more of Avery's traps, but Rafe coerces her assistance to collect it all. Aboard the ship Sam triggers a trap, setting it on fire and trapping him beneath debris. Nate confronts Rafe and Nadine, who betrays Rafe and leaves, pointing out the skeletons of Avery and Tew who had killed each other over the treasure. Rafe, who has been handed everything in life, challenges Nate to a duel, wanting to prove himself better than the man who built a legend as an adventurer. Nate drops a bundle of treasure on Rafe, killing him, and frees Sam. The pair return to Sully's plane and the entire group escapes.

Sam and Sully team up for a new job while Nate and Elena return home. There, Elena explains that Sam had recovered some gold and given it to her. Realizing that they both need some adventure in their lives to be happy, she has bought Nate's company, installing him as owner, and plans to revive her old exploration show, which will first cover Nate's next salvaging mission in Malaysia, the one he had lied to her about. Years later, Nate and Elena have become successful artifact salvagers, and live with their teenage daughter Cassie (Kaitlyn Dever). After Cassie discovers relics and artifacts from her parents' adventures, Nate decides its time to tell her their story.

Development[edit]

On November 14, 2013, Naughty Dog released a teaser trailer for a new Uncharted game, saying that it would be released for the PlayStation 4. The trailer featured voice over by Todd Stashwick, who was to play Sam, Nathan Drake's older brother, in the game.[19][20] The trailer shows an ancient map of the African continent while the voice over can be heard. The map stops at Madagascar and Île Sainte-Marie is marked, which was part of Francis Drake's travel route. A Latin sentence is written next to the drawing of a skull: Hodie mecum eris in paradiso (which translates to "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise"), a quote from the Gospel of Luke 23:43.[21]

In March 2014, it was announced that Amy Hennig, the series writer and creative director, and Justin Richmond, the game director of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End at the time, had both left the studio, joining Visceral Games and Riot Games, respectively.[22][23][24] In April 2014, Todd Stashwick, who voiced the narrator in the teaser trailer and was set to play Sam in the game, was announced to no longer be involved in the game, with the role being recast.[25]

In June 2014, Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells revealed that game directors for The Last of Us, Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, were now leading the project in Hennig's absence.[26] As a result, many of the story elements and eight months of shooting were scrapped and abandoned.[27] At the Sony E3 2014 press conference in June 2014, the title of the game was revealed to be Uncharted 4: A Thief's End along with a 2015 release window.[28] On December 6, 2014, a gameplay demo of Uncharted 4 was shown as the initial presentation of the PlayStation Experience. Troy Baker later confirmed via Twitter that he had voiced Drake's older brother Sam, who appeared in the demo opposite Nathan Drake.[29] Although some critics asserted that the game suffered a graphical downgrade when comparing the demo to the E3 2014 teaser trailer, Naughty Dog explained that the art direction was different in the demo, which resulted in an altering look in visuals.[30]

On June 16, 2015, a new demo was showcased at the end of Sony's E3 press conference. The demo featured a much bigger environment, large amounts of destruction, new combat moves, and the return of Nathan Drake's mentor, Victor Sullivan. An extended trailer at an E3 press briefing revealed the return of Nathan's wife Elena Fisher.[31] On July 8, 2015, it was announced that Robin Atkin Downes would be involved in the game.[32] While Naughty Dog originally targeted a rate of 60 frames per second for the whole game,[33] it was announced that 30 frames per second was being targeted for the campaign, while 60 frames per second was still being targeted for the multiplayer modes.[34] Naughty Dog previously expressed difficulties in getting the game to reach 60 frames per second,[35] but at some point explained that they'd drop the idea if it compromised the player's experience of playing the game.[36] During The Game Awards 2015, a new character, Nadine Ross (voiced and motion captured by American voice actress Laura Bailey), was revealed.[37] It was later unveiled that Naughty Dog had also contracted Malaysia-based Passion Republic for the design of select in-game art assets.[38][39]

On March 18, 2016, Naughty Dog announced that development of Uncharted 4 was completed and that the game went gold.[40] A Sony Interactive Entertainment marketing manager said that Uncharted 4 was "PlayStation's largest ever software investment" whilst being their "biggest ever marketing campaign" for a game in the UK.[41]

The game's original score was written by Henry Jackman, with additional music by Alex Belcher, replacing former series composer Greg Edmonson. The score was co-produced by Jackman and SIE's senior music manager Jonathan Mayer, and was recorded with an orchestra at AIR Studios in London.[42] The official soundtrack was released digitally on iTunes, Amazon Music, and Google Play Music alongside the game's launch on May 10, 2016, physically on CD by La-La Land Records on May 17, 2016, and on vinyl by iam8bit sometime in late 2016.[42]

Release[edit]

Uncharted 4 was originally set to be released in 2015. On March 11, 2015, Naughty Dog confirmed that the game was delayed to March 18, 2016 to allow for additional development time.[43] It was delayed again on December 24, 2015 to April 26, 2016.[44] On June 4, 2015, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, which is a remastered collection of the first three games in the series, was announced for the PlayStation 4. Players who purchased the collection gained access to Uncharted 4's multiplayer beta which started on December 4, 2015 and ended on December 13, 2015. The collection released on October 9, 2015 in North America.[45]

On August 31, 2015, a Special Edition, Libertalia Collector's Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition, which includes several different in-game items and bonuses, were announced by Sony.[46] The series' first single-player downloadable content was announced on the same day. Naughty Dog added that they decided to develop this add-on for Uncharted 4 because it worked well in their previous game, The Last of Us.[47] The stand-alone expansion was announced in December 2016 at the PlayStation Experience, titled Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and featuring Nadine Ross and Chloe Frazer.[48] An artbook of the game, called The Art of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, was released in the first quarter of 2016.[49]

A preview of the game was attached to the theatrical premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[50] On February 4, 2016, Sony announced a Limited Edition Uncharted 4 PlayStation 4 bundle, releasing on the same day as the game. It includes a Limited Edition 500GB PS4 console in gray blue color featuring a silk-screened image of Nathan Drake, as well as a matching DualShock 4 and a copy of the game.[51]

On March 1, 2016, Sony announced that Uncharted 4: A Thief's End would be delayed once again, to allow a simultaneous worldwide release on May 10, 2016.[52]On April 26, which was the previous release date, Amazon.com began prematurely shipping copies of the game.[53] On April 27, Shuhei Yoshida stated that copies of the game were stolen while in transit to retail in the UK.[54] Naughty Dog employees expressed disappointment in gamers not hesitating to share knowledge of spoilers on the internet.[55]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 93/100[56]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 9.5/10[57]
EGM 9/10[58]
Game Informer 9.5/10[59]
Game Revolution 4.5/5 stars[60]
GameSpot 10/10[61]
GamesRadar 4/5 stars[62]
GamesTM 9/10[63]
Giant Bomb 5/5 stars[64]
IGN 9/10[65]
Polygon 9/10[66]
VideoGamer.com 8/10[67]
The Escapist 5/5 stars[68]

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End received universal acclaim according to review aggregator Metacritic with a score of 93 out of 100 from 113 critics,[56] making it the highest-scoring video game of 2016 across all game platforms.[69]

Steven Hansen of Destructoid scored the game a 9.5 out of 10, writing, "Stunning art direction; satisfying game feel; a willingness to shake up third-person action conventions, to know when to introduce variety, or let a foot up off the gas; excellent dialogue that reveals a lot without oversharing; and a heck of a conclusion. A thief couldn't ask for a better end."[57] Electronic Gaming Monthly's Nick Plessas scored the game a 9 out of 10, summarizing with: "Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a true work of art, and the only time the slightest apprehension may surface is when one compares it to the titanic installments that came before."[58] Andrew Reiner of Game Informer also scored the game a 9.5 out of 10, writing, "A Thief's End is the best Uncharted yet, delivering a story I didn't want to end, and an adventure that concludes with a hell of a payoff." Reiner applauded the world design, story, gameplay, soundtrack and voice acting.[59]

Mike Mahardy from GameSpot scored the game a perfect 10/10, saying: "Uncharted 4 is a challenge to the medium. In its writing, in its design, in its understanding of what makes games unique, Uncharted 4 is something to aspire to. It's a shining example. And we'll be talking about it for years to come."[61] In giving the game a score of 4/5, Leon Hurley for GamesRadar commended the visuals, the combat and exploration, which he said was the best in the series, and the larger environments. However, Hurley disliked Sam for feeling like an unnecessary character, and the first portion of the game for not being as well paced as the later portion.[62]

Daniel Ryckert of Giant Bomb scored the game a 5/5, writing: "This is one of the most fully-realized action campaigns of all time, and it sets a new bar of quality for what's possible in the genre."[64] Polygon's Griffin McElroy gave the game a score of 9/10, particularly praising the narrative and saying: "Uncharted 4 delivers a thrilling, moving conclusion to the series."[66]

Lucy O'Brien of IGN scored the game a 9/10, praising the story, visuals, gameplay and multiplayer, but criticized the elongated pacing of the third act of the story. She closed her review by stating: "Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a remarkable achievement in blockbuster storytelling and graphical beauty. Though it's let down by a lack of imagination and some self-indulgence, especially in a third act that drags on far too long, Uncharted 4 carries on the series' proud tradition of peerless polish and style, with a great multiplayer component to boot. Most importantly, it’s a gentle sendoff to the rag-tag group of characters we've known for nine years. A worthy thief's end, indeed."[65]

Keith Stuart of The Guardian scored the game 5 stars, saying that Uncharted 4 is in the category of video games that "everyone should experience". He went on to say the efforts of Nathan Drake's return for one last treasure hunt resulted in "a beautiful and exciting gaming experience that transcends its flaws."[70]

While Uncharted 4's more diverse combat options received praise,[57][61] reviewers were divided as to whether protracted gunfights and "bullet sponge" enemies, two of the series' more divisive elements, had been sufficiently trimmed down.[71][72][73]

Uncharted 4 received praise from other studios and figureheads in the gaming industry. Prior to launch, Phil Spencer, president of Microsoft's Xbox division, tweeted that "it will be a great game".[74] Spencer would later follow up his tweet by further congratulating Shuhei Yoshida and Naughty Dog "on another great Uncharted with #Uncharted4, amazing work".[75][76] Similarly, game developer Remedy Entertainment praised the game, thanking Naughty Dog for "raising the bar".[77] Remedy sent Naughty Dog a signed copy of their game Quantum Break, with a personal message of congratulations.[77]

Uncharted 4 became the most awarded video game of 2016 in receiving 161 Game of the Year awards, 88 of which were awarded by critics with another 73 decided through reader-voted polls.[78]

Sales[edit]

In the UK, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End had the strongest first week debut of the series, selling 66% better than its predecessor and becoming the best-selling retail game in the UK.[79] In Japan, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End was also the top selling game in the week of May 9 to 15, selling 128,725 copies, thereby making it the best first week debut for an Uncharted game in the region.[80] The game sold more than 2.7 million copies worldwide in the first week after its release, and became the fastest-selling game developed by a first-party Sony studio for the PlayStation 4 in the PAL region and North America.[81][82] According to the NPD Group, the game was the best-selling retail game in the US in May 2016.[83] In May 2016, the game has grossed $56 million in digital sales.[84] As of December 21, 2016, Uncharted 4 has sold over 8.7 million copies.[85]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2015 Game Critics Awards 2015 Best of Show Nominated [86][87]
Best Console Game Won
Best Action/Adventure Game Won
2016 Golden Joystick Award 2016 Game of the Year Nominated [88][89]
Best Storytelling Nominated
Best Visual Design Nominated
Best Audio Nominated
Best Performance (Nolan North as Nathan Drake) Nominated
Best PlayStation Game of the Year Won
The Game Awards 2016 Game of the Year Nominated [90][91]
Best Game Direction Nominated
Best Narrative Won
Best Art Direction Nominated
Best Performance (Emily Rose as Elena) Nominated
Best Performance (Nolan North as Nathan Drake) Won
Best Performance (Troy Baker as Sam Drake) Nominated
Best Action/Adventure Game Nominated
Gamespot's Best of 2016 The Best PS4 Games of 2016 Top 5 [92]
Game of the Year 2nd Place [93]
Giant Bomb's 2016 Game of the Year Awards Best Story Won [94]
Game Informer Best of 2016 Awards Best Sony Exclusive Won [95]
IGN Best of 2016 Awards PlayStation 4 Game of the Year 2nd Place [96]
Best Action-Adventure Game 2nd Place
Best Story 2nd Place
Best Visuals Won
Slant Magazine Top 25 Best Video Games of 2016 Game of the Year Won [97]
Game Revolution's End of 2016 Awards Best Game 10th Place [98]
EGM's Best of 2016 Game of the Year 3rd Place [99]
The Escapist Awards 2016 Best Action/Adventure 2nd Place [100]
The Sixth Axis' Game of the Year 2016 Awards Best Action/Adventure Game Won [101]
Best Visual Design Won [102]
Best Character (Nadine Ross) Won [103]
The Lazygamer Awards 2016 Game of the Year Won [104]
Best Art Direction Won [105]
Game Developers Choice Awards 2016 Game of the Year Nominated [106]
Best Narrative Nominated
Best Technology Won
Best Visual Art Nominated
Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences D.I.C.E. Awards 2016 Game of the Year Nominated [107]
Adventure Game of the Year Won
Outstanding Achievement in Story Won
Outstanding Achievement in Character (Nathan Drake) Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction Nominated
Outstanding Technical Achievement Won
Outstanding Achievement in Animation Won
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Game Design Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction Nominated
13th British Academy Games Awards Artistic Achievement Nominated [108]
Audio Achievement Nominated
Best Game Won
Music Nominated
Narrative Nominated
Performer (Emily Rose as Elena Fisher) Nominated
Performer (Nolan North as Nathan Drake) Nominated
Performer (Troy Baker as Sam Drake) Nominated
2017 15th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project Won [109]
New York Videogame Awards Game of the Year Won [110]
NeoGAF Game of the Year Won [111]
44th Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in a Video Game Won [112]
SXSW Gaming Awards 2017 Video Game of the Year Won [113]
Excellence in Narrative Won
Excellence in Design Nominated
Most Memorable Character Won
Excellence in Animation Won
Excellence in Visual Achievement Won
Excellence in Technical Achievement Nominated
Excellence in SFX Nominated
National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Animation, Technical Won [114]
Direction in a Game Cinema Won
Game Engineering Won
Game, Franchise Adventure Won
Graphics, Technical Won
Lighting/Texturing Won
Original Dramatic Score, Franchise Won
Sound Editing in a Game Cinema Won
Use of Sound, Franchise Won

Controversies[edit]

The revelation that white voice actress Laura Bailey was voicing new character and villain Nadine Ross, who is of Black South African descent, lead to some backlash.[115] Neil Druckmann cited websites like NeoGAF in the complaints of racial underrepresentation in acting in general.[116] Druckmann further explained that when the character was incepted, her ethnicity was not yet determined. Bailey was chosen from the audition of casting calls from a pool of actors of black, white, American, and South African heritage, believed by Druckmann to be the best candidate for the role.[117][118] Druckmann also noted that a Caucasian character in the game is voiced by a black voice actor.[116] Merle Dandridge, who voices Evelyn and a nun in-game, is of African-American descent.[119] Speaking on the controversy, Bailey stated that she did not know the character's skin tone when she came to the audition.[120]

On February 24, 2016, Naughty Dog released the story trailer. One scene of the trailer included a photograph that turned out to be a concept art image for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.[121] This was quickly spotted by Ubisoft employee Azaizia Aymar[122] and once this was realized, the trailer was taken down on the very same day and reuploaded with a new frame. In response, Naughty Dog stated they had made a "regrettable mistake", and apologized to Ubisoft, claiming that they would take full responsibility for the error.[123]

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