Was Uncharted 4 Purposely Delayed?

On June 4 2015, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection was leaked early on PlayStation Store before being formally announced. This has made a lot of gamers happy as an completely re-mastered version of the entire trilogy is both exciting and something to hold them over until the release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End in Spring 2016. The announcement of the release only proves that gamers have been lied to.

When Uncharted 4 was delayed into 2016, Neil Druckman, creative director of Naughty Dog, went on record to say, “since we showed you our first gameplay reveal of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, more of the game and story have come together, and it’s become clear to us that this game is much more ambitious than we originally envisioned. After spending so many years with Nathan Drake, he means a lot to the team, and telling the climactic chapter of his adventures is a task we don’t take lightly — this game deserves every bit of the attention to detail, precise pacing, and nuanced storytelling Naughty Dog is known for. So we’ve made the difficult choice of pushing the game’s release date.”

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Well-spoken words, but the “difficult” decision Druckman had to make seems to have not been quite so difficult. Naughty Dog and Sony talked about creating an Uncharted HD collection two years ago, but the developers declared it wasn’t probable. While it makes sense for the company to develop a product such as this on the PS4, seeing as the conclusion to one of the best adventure games will be coming to the console soon, you can see that the “unexpected delay” was more than expected when all the pieces are lined up.

“What better way to get prepared for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End than to revisit – or play for the first time – the first three games that launched the fortune-hunting icon that is Nathan Drake?” said Arne Meyer from PlayStation Blog, and what better way to announce a game’s release date only to delay it for an entire year in order to spike up sales for your upcoming HD collection? What people want most they can’t have and right now we can’t have Uncharted 4, but that was painfully clear back when the Uncharted 4 gameplay reveal was presented at PlayStation Experience. You could tell without the announcement of a delay that the game was nowhere near completion as it had bugs and didn’t feel complete while watching it, but we were still told we would be able to place the game in our consoles this year and only a few short months after the event, we were told they were going to be delaying the game.

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The choice to delay the game to work on its story and overall experience is nothing but good news as there is never anything wrong with delaying a game for the better, but the fault comes in when you plan for a delay from the very start in order to get higher sales on an HD remake. Gamers would have never seen an HD remake of the Uncharted series if it wasn’t for the delay of Uncharted 4 as only the hardcore fans of the series would pick up the re-mastered version of the game after the release of the fourth and final installment. So in order to gain the maximum profit possible, they planed out a careful time-line leading up to the announcement of the delay of Uncharted 4 and the leak of the HD collection.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was announced during E3 with an excruciatingly short teaser trailer, which was released the same month as the PlayStation 4 itself. Sony later highlighted the game during its E3 2014 press conference then Sony showed off actual footage of the game being played at PlayStation Experience in December and confirmed it would be ready to ship out in 2015. There was no mention of a possible delay for the game, until the delay was most recently announce for 2016 and as an “apology” to fans they have decided to release a HD collection.

What kind of apology involves people handing the apologizer money in exchange? Llike many fans, I am excited for the HD collection and will surely be picking it up, but it would be ignorant not to point out the strangeness of how everything seemed to work out so perfectly to lead us into our corrals at the check-out counter for one last go around of Nathan Drakes adventures in 1080p 60FPS glory only made possible by the “unforeseen” delay in the final title’s release.