What if Uncharted 4 isn’t good?

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Posted March 2, 2016 by Sean Capri in Video Games

A couple weeks before Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered, a friend of mine said something unthinkable. He said, “guys, what if it isn’t good?”

Silence.

The mere thought of an average-or-worse Episode VII paralyzed the group. The thought had never crossed our collective mind. Not even once! Did you think about it? Asking “what if it isn’t good” was considered blasphemous but given our outrageous expectations, it wasn’t a completely unfair contingency to consider.

But seriously. What if Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End isn’t a 10? What if it isn’t a 9? What if it’s an 8? Or a 7? What if it’s a 5!? That’s really going to depend on you and your experience with the game, of course. The point is, what if you’re disappointed?

When it comes to game delays, I’m pro-choice. Heck, I’ve endured some of the most infuriating delays in gaming history. Anyone who remembers Starcraft’s development knows what I’m talking about. In fact, that’s a terrific example of the game delays rule of thumb: delays are good. More to the point, Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley have attributed the quality of The Last of Us to the extra development time Naughty Dog was afforded by Sony.

Let me be clear: I want Uncharted 4 to be a masterpiece. I expect it to be a masterpiece. Part of the motivation behind writing this piece is to keep my own expectations in-check because before today, they were escaping earth’s orbit. And no, this isn’t an article that I’ll be referring to as a #seanwasright. I don’t want that. Nobody wants that.

Not all delays are created equal. Today’s “manufacturing delay” might be the most difficult to digest. Adding polish to a game? Totally understandable. But what’s next? A delay for shipping? A delay for receiving? A delay for printing those little inserts to advertise a Season Pass? This just strikes me as odd. Is there anything else of material importance to remember before pushing this game out the door? It’s almost like everyone forgot that after all the coding, all the voice acting, all the motion capture, all the composing, and after bringing it all together, somebody needed to clone the gold copy onto millions of discs and put them in their cases.

Either that or some market research expert (or astrologist) suggested May 10, 2016 will be a much more profitable launch day.

Either that or the game needs another two weeks of polish but Naughty Dog already played that card.

The note from Sony specifies a “considerable worldwide demand” for the game. Translation: the game will sell more copies than previously projected. Why not let the game sell out on the shelves? There are plenty of examples of limited availability actually driving sales in the long run. Plus, it has to be mentioned, there’s always digital. So I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t buy it.

I don’t buy that out of nowhere, a windfall of support has befallen Sony or Naughty Dog for Uncharted 4 to catch them off guard like this. I mean, when was the last time anyone looked at those projections anyway? Was it when the PS4 launched and now, mere weeks away from release, Sony is realizing there are tens of millions more consoles than they originally expected. That’s a thing that happens – even if it sounds like incompetence. And incompetence doesn’t engender optimism, at least not for me. 

Maybe it’s the sense of dishonesty that’s causing me to wonder if the game is in trouble. Is Naughty Dog scrambling like someone who’s late for work and forgets his phone on the kitchen counter? Or is the studio acting purposefully and composed like a basketball team perfectly executing a clutch buzzer-beater play the dying seconds of a playoff game? Should we look at major events, like the departure of Amy Hennig or voice actor Alan Tudyk as signs of a game in trouble? Until the game comes out, it’s completely speculatory. But this is as good a time as any to stop and think, what if Uncharted 4 isn’t good? It’s something every discerning gamer should consider about every game, no matter who’s behind it.

A final thought: If it’s true, if Sony is actually concerned about facing a supply issue, if there’s even a quantum risk that more people will want to buy this game than are physically available, that’s probably a very, very good sign.

 

 


About the Author

Sean Capri

I am a beady-eyed Canadian. I play video games and feed/walk my three dogs.