Throughout the Uncharted trilogy, we see how Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher’s relationship grows throughout the adventure, but at every beginning of the next installment it seems the two of them are always at odds. Are they really meant for one another, or is the duo due for a divorce?
Nate and Elena’s on and off again relationship is both psychological and flawed; not only are they the worst “relationship cycling” couple since Ross and Rachel’s run during the television series Friends, but we can see that there are a lot of red flags to be raised as we look deeper into the roots of their relationship. The most notable one being their mysterious separation between each game’s ending and the new beginning with little to no explanation on what caused the break-up in the first place.
Let’s take this relationship analysis one step at a time. First let’s take a look into the psychological standpoint of both Drake and Elena. Evidence drawn from a study of couples that experience this on-again, off-again relationship type has been dubbed “relationship cycling,” so we can shed light on their constant breaking-up between games. With statistical evidence drawn from a sample of 323 cohabitating and 752 married, middle-aged couples who participated in the study, it was revealed that an on-again, off-again relationship is fairly common among adults with thirty-seven percent of cohabiters and twenty-three percent of married couples reported at one time breaking up and then getting back together with their current partner. (Venum t al., 2014)
Most of the cycling occurred during the couple’s dating phase much like Drake and Elaine had between the first Uncharted and Uncharted 2, but what we learned in Uncharted 3 is that Drake and Elena had gotten hitched (i.e. the wedding band on Elena’s ring finger) sometime between the end of the second game and the beginning of the third, so this relationship cycling doesn’t fit them. Actually, approximately twelve percent of those married couples that had experienced cycling at one point or another during their relationship before getting married also did so during their marriage as well. Meaning that they either had trial separations or full-blown divorces during this off-again experience, but what if the reason for the separation was not a psychological one at all, but an internal one?
In Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception we see Elena once again helping Drake and Sullivan. It is revealed that she and Drake were married and later broke up in between the events of Uncharted 2 and 3 due to what is believed as Drake’s motive which is to simply keep Elena safe after the events of Uncharted 2. As the conversation goes on, Drake and Elena begin to argue over their sudden arrival and over Elena’s wedding band. Nate is more interested by the fact, that she is still wearing her wedding ring from their separated marriage but Elena claims that she only wears it because “it helps in this part of the world” then telling Nate not to flatter himself.
Nate just smiles knowing she’s not being entirely honest with him, but Elena suspects that Nate is not being completely honest with her either and is worried about his obsession with Sir Francis Drake’s expedition. Elena also announces her concern about how Nate shouldn’t make Victor Sullivan run across the globe with him due to his age. This is more so of Elena voicing her issue with Nate and her relationship stating she doesn’t like it when Nate is treasure hunting when she doesn’t want him to go.
This explains more between the two of them than we would ever read into while running through a quick playthrough of the game. We do in-fact learn in each game why or what caused the break-up each time. If you were to carefully read into the dialogue between all three characters, we learn that each time Nate is the one initiating it. Nate breaks up with Elena every time, the first time is when we find out that they had gone their separate ways and Elena thinks that Nate had simply swapped her our for a newer model when he actually had commitment issues. Then we find out that he had broken up with her to protect her from him after the almost tragic events of the second game, and now with the fourth installment, we find out that once again Nate is running away from Elena in now another form.
It has been confirmed that Nate is living a domestic life in a home with Elena during the beginning of Uncharted 4, yet we find out that he lies to her at the end of the extended demo about where he was going because he didn’t want her to know that he was once again out risking his life while chasing after treasure. Elena has been trying to change Nate and his treasure hunting ways since the end of the first game. Nate not being the ideal type of stay at home partner that she is looking for, she tries to find reasons to end the cycle whether it is through nagging him about dragging Sullivan, his oldest and dearest friend, around the globe with him in search of treasure or her expressing her frustration of finding Nate in Nepal once again searching for treasure. Elena finds herself in the classic fixer-upper situation as she views Nate as a project and thinks of him as something she can fix or change to turn him from treasure hunting thief to domestic nine to fiver earning an honest wage.
Regardless of the reason for the separation in the first place, the couple always comes back together and this constant cycle of break up, make up, again and again cycle also threatens the health and well-being of the relationship and its members in the union. But it takes two to make a partnership, not one person is always right or always wrong and you’re not always going to see eye-to-eye on every little thing the two of you do. It doesn’t make you smarter, superior, or right to point out every little thing the other does that’s not to your liking.
They are a perfect couple during times of high stress and eminent danger with risk of sudden death, but the two of them can’t seem to get things straight when it comes to a normal everyday domestic life. This is only more evident with the upcoming installment where Nate has yet again gone treasure hunting against Elena’s wishes, but this time has lied to her and headed out head first into danger once again without her blessing. This could threaten to once again start up the relationship cycling, or end their relationship all together as Elena seems to look betrayed by the fact that Nate, her partner, had lied to her about his whereabouts at the end of the extended demo.
Can Elena really blame Nate, though? Although all the details on the story are not quite clear, it might be that Nate’s long lost brother had dragged him back into the treasure hunting game. Of course, he could have simply wanted to return to the only life he knows. The only way out of the house without Elena worrying or getting angry with him was to try to sneak around her in order to avoid getting into another fight with her.