Ok ok so... I was thinking about the amazing car chase scene in Uncharted 4 and I wanna write a small thread about how well designed and curated it is. Let’s gooooo....! https://t.co/I0cZSFwHDt
I don’t have to scream at you about the cinematic mastery of Uncharted, that’s pretty obvious. But I specifically love the grit of Uncharted 4 and especially how it uses voice acting and sound design to emphasise timing and pretend that Drake is kinda winging everything.
So we start off the chase segment by - of course - jumping into the car, because of course. We get a verbal cue for our task here, which is very simple, but brilliant to set your mind to what comes next: “Just to down”, meaning downhill. It implies a “no matter how”.
The no matter how is important because the following couple of minutes are supposed to *feel* chaotic and messy as you drive through small alleys, but it’s actually heavily curated.
The level design is so cleverly made that you constantly pick off-road sections, seemingly at will
Of course that’s not at will and instead masterfully crafted with enemy cars busting out sideways to usher you down a certain path, emphasised by witty comments by Drake and companion.
I’m pretty convinced you can’t actually kill civilians in this car chase, but I haven’t tried ;) Hidden design much?
I absolutely *love* the sound design around Drake’s voice lines: “I got this ...! — I don’t got this, aaah!” And things like sounds of surprise when he makes an impossible jump - his VO lines reinforce the “oh shit oh shit” that you’re supposed to feel in the flow scenes.
In the car chase, I love how Uncharted creates naturally recognisable paths without using actual roads: joined roofs, dried-up riverbeds etc. It feels natural to follow these without needing to fall back to just driving on a boring road.
When you’re hanging off the truck’s mounted crane, that’s probably the time I was hysterically giggling alternating with holding my breath and yelling - kinda mirroring Drake’s emotions portrayed while being dragged through water, swinging around obstacles and crashing.
Some comedic relief helps with the tension - sometimes you slide through a bunch of chickens or Drake makes a witty comment (“Coming through!”) - if you remember how flow is created by alternating between high tension and relief, this is a tool in your tool belt for it.
I’d be real curious about the sun assist during that scene and how much hidden design is involved, because my gut feeling is that the game helps you plenty under the hood here, given that the aim of the scene is to keep it flowing.
When I played, I messed up the truck chase where you have to steal jeeps a bunch of times (I suck ok), which means that the level design has to cater for pretty much endless driving until you manage. I never noticed repetition though, which is brilliant.
Hell, there’s not even repetition in the way you take over cars if you have to do it multiple times!
I’d die to know the system behind that... taking suggestions and ideas if you have any :D
And then suddenly, once you finally reach your brother... crash. Calm. Almost silence. You’re allowed to breathe for one second, lean back in your seat. It’s an incredibly important moment to set you up for the finale of the chase.
What’s next is essentially a boss fight - Uncharted style! Now tables are turned and YOU are the one being chased, requiring you to see the chase in reverse, fighting the giant armoured truck while slinging your way through muddy roads on a motorbike barely holding together.
So you’re basically just shooting like a maniac while the incredible camera work of the game gives you the dynamic that was previously achieved through your own driving. You’re doing something a lot simpler, gameplay-wise, but it compensates through camera dynamic.
In the end, everything explodes (of course), you magically end up at the exact same spot every time no matter how long you took to take out that truck, witty VO line, comedic relief - and scene ❤️
If you haven’t played it yet, please do. It’s such a beautiful masterpiece.
I know people complain about it being too cinematic a lot. So be it. It’s fucking MAGIC to make an interactive scene cinematic. I mean, next-to-impossible-magic. The craftsmanship that goes into this scene is beyond most people’s comprehension. Not kidding.
... I really need to stop typing these on a phone, my auto correct makes some seriously terrible choices.
Veet Voojagig @bgstech
Thanks for this thread! I love the game and was so into the car chase that I was *literally* perched on the edge of my seat half way through and standing towards the end!
Veet Voojagig @bgstech
Kinda embarrassed to admit I didn’t really think about to all the work until your thread! just how much bloody fun it was. I did feel bad for the artists though, for all the landscape and buildings and stuff I couldn’t really look at as we flew past :)
That’s ok, you’re allowed to just enjoy it for what it is :)