If 2009 is to be the year of the PlayStation 3 then certainly the outcome is hinged upon the successes of key exclusive titles, namely Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
The crew at Naughty Dog, developers of the famed original, has been quite secretive regarding the hotly anticipated sequel, but today, in an interview with IGN, Richard Lemarchard, co-lead designer on the project spilled a few beans regarding environmental design and teased us more with six new and snowy screenshots.
Speaking about the new traversal system Lemarchard said:
“To that end, we’ve added animations and technology that allow Drake to climb and explore the environment in a much more free-form and organic manner. Drake’s movement has expanded by leaps and bounds (Pun intended!) beyond just jumping from handhold to handhold. Drake now freely clambers hand over hand on all sorts of objects like walls, ladders, signposts, monkey bars, ledges, ropes and so on. We added the ability for him to swing on free-hanging ropes across chasms, too.”
Unlike the original, Among Thieves will have Drake climbing over more than just rock ledges, prompting the question of how Naughty Dog goes about level design.‚ Lemarchard noted that no new game engine was built for the sequel, instead borrowing from the original allowed for developers to:
“Very quickly rough out a space in 3D, build it in our tools, and then immediately run and climb around it to get a sense of the space: the feeling of scale that the environment has, how easy it is to perceive paths through the level, the lines of sight that you have from the various spots that you can climb or run to, and so on.”
Finally, as you may remember, in the jungles of the original, the water looked beautiful and had the physics spot on.‚ The elemental successes Naughty Dog created in the original have been carried over to Among Thieves Lemarchard promises.
“We’ve spent a lot of time focused on the distinctive look that snow has as it falls and is blown by the wind, and of course on the way in which Drake leaves footprints as he trudges through the snowdrifts in the Himalayan mountains that he ventures to. When he’s out in the snow he’ll accumulate a layer of snowflakes on his clothes and in his hair, which will slowly thaw when he gets back inside under cover. Ice reflects light in a way that cleverly mimics the sub-surface scattering that goes on inside a chunk of frozen water, and gives it a look of incredible volume and density. We have a few more tricks up our sleeves, too – all in all, we’re really happy with the way the weather’s shaping up in Uncharted 2.”
Mixing elements from the short and tantalizing teaser trailer in December and now this interview, Among Thieves really looks and sounds to be truly top-notch.‚ No rush Naughty Dog, take your time, we will wait.
Enjoy these snow-ridden screens found in the gallery.
Head on‚ over to IGN.com for the full interview and high-res screens.