Sony and Naughty Dog have started a new “Making of” series for Uncharted 4 , and I have mixed feelings about it. “Making of” videos for games can be both useful and useless. They can be useful for getting people interested in game development, explaining some key aspects of that development, and are a good informational starting point. However, “The Making of Uncharted 4 : The Evolution of a Franchise,” and videos like it, can lead to misunderstandings about the complexity of making games, and the information presented is not educational enough for aspiring developers. I don’t know how much it really costs to put one of these ‘making of’ videos together, but I do not believe it’s entirely worth it.
“The Making of Uncharted 4 : The Evolution of a Franchise” skims over complicated details of game development, and could lead to misconceptions about the video game industry. Especially for aspiring students of video game design and development, this video is not very useful. Misconceptions, for example, can stem from the apparent emphasis on the use of motion capture. Emily Rose, one of the three voice actors quoted in the video, stated that the cutting edge part of Uncharted games was the process by which they decided to capture the content. This is followed by an anecdote from yet another voice actor, Richard McGonagle, which discussed how pleasantly surprised he was by the required motion capture during line delivery.
That motion capture was deemed what made Uncharted ‘cutting edge’ completely disregards the animation and design teams that made the series what it is today. The video goes on to skim over complicated details of game development such as animation, gameplay, plot, and audio. This can be frustrating for those more experienced in the genre and those aspiring to design their own games, who would like more technical details. Such details, however, could be included in future videos – how the animation of Nathan Drake’s face works, for example.
That being said, “The Making of Uncharted 4 : The Evolution of a Franchise” could be a small insight into the much larger world of game design and development. Perhaps motion capture captivates an aspiring game designer enough to make them explore how it truly works and what it means for video game animators. In addition, the video does touch on how setting, audio, gameplay, action, plot, and character development must all be in a specific balance depending on the developer’s intentions. This is but a glimpse into the amount of toil goes into creating a video game, especially a triple A one like Uncharted 4, and could make this ‘making of’ series a great springboard for potential game designers.
“The Making of Uncharted 4 : The Evolution of a Franchise” is a video that would make a great introduction into the industry of video game design and development, and indeed the future videos in the series would do well to elaborate on the details. Alone, such a video can lead to misconceptions and information too vague to be considered anything but circumstantial fact. It is not, I believe, very useful. If you’d like to make up your own mind, here it is: