Anyone who has played an Uncharted game is probably at least somewhat familiar with the ring that Nathan Drake wears strapped around his neck. While this ring was a major plot device in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Uncharted 2 only made use of it very briefly, more as a bit of fan service than anything else. However, according to the Uncharted 3 trailers we've seen thus far, this ring is going to play a significant role in the series once again. What secrets could it possibly still hold? Let's dig into the hard facts and look at some possible theories.
In Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, the ring held the secret to the location of Drake's tomb. As we all learned very early in the game, that tomb was empty; Sir Francis faked his death before he went searching for the wealth of legends. Inside the tomb, however, he left a journal detailing some bits and pieces that Nate would eventually piece together to find to treasure of El Dorado.
At one point during the game, Nate almost leaves the ring behind. When he discovers the actual corpse of Sir Francis Drake, he feels compelled to let the ring lie with its owner. Thankfully, a thoughtful Elena Fischer notices it and picks it up, allowing Nate to keep it through later adventures.
If you look closely, you'll notice that the ring is kept around Nate's neck through all of Uncharted 2. Over the course of the game, it never seems to affect the overall plot all that much, but it might actually be quite a bit more important in the story of Uncharted 2 than it would seem at first glance. In fact, I have an interesting theory about this.
Where did Nate get the ring? As a direct ancestor of Sir Francis, he could have inherited it as it was it passed down through the generations. It did contain enough information to lead Nate to the coffin of Sir Francis, after all, meaning this ring was most likely a product of Sir Francis' post-fake-death adventures. (This is the period in which Sir Francis would have had children, according to Uncharted lore, as he supposedly had no descendents before he faked his death.)
However, there's a little tidbit in Uncharted 2 that might give more insight into this. The beginning portion of the game includes some flashbacks in which Nate meets with an old friend, Harry Flynn, and has a couple beers over a proposition. Nate is asked to help Flynn (and Chloe Fraiser, or course) break into a Turkish museum to steal an artifact that is seemingly fairly worthless.
Nate's immediate objection is that he knows two people who were killed trying to steal something from that very museum. Flynn shoots back: "And one who made it out." Who is that person? Everyone's favorite treasure hunter, Nathan Drake, of course. Flynn tells him, "You're the only one who's cracked it. And you know better than anyone, it's a two-person job." Nate retorts: "No no no no. Three, actually."
From this brief conversation, we learn that Nate has already stolen something from this Turkish museum. Since it was supposedly a three-person job, we are pretty safe in assuming that the two people killed must have been with Drake during that heist. It was obviously a dangerous job, so what was it that Nate took from the museum? Well, observant players will notice that prominently featured throughout this entire conversation is the ring of Sir Francis. Does this suggest that the ring was the very thing Nate took from the museum during that fateful heist? The game is never clear one way or another, but it definitely makes some subtle hints that this could very well be the case.
Trailers for Uncharted 3 have shown that this ring is going to be important to the story once again. In the Spike VGA trailer, the ring is still around Nate's neck after the infamous plane crash in the desert scene. Once again, this seemed like mere fan service at first, but the 2011 E3 trailer showed us more. Toward the beginning of the trailer, Drake gets shot after having this ring stolen from him by one Katherine Marlowe. Later, we see her holding the ring and saying, "Finally, Drake's secret will be revealed."
A little more about this Marlowe woman was revealed in an interview with USA Today. Richard Lemarchand, lead designer on Uncharted 3, said this: "(Nate and Marlowe) are both contending for the ring which connects our Drake to Sir Francis Drake… And they both believe they have a claim of ownership for it. And really the ring is what propels them on this adventure that leads them all around the world and finally ends up in the heart of the desert on the Arabian peninsula."
This is very interesting indeed. Obviously, Nate feels he is entitled to the ring as a direct descendent of Sir Francis. But what ownership can Marlowe possibly claim over it? In that same interview, Lemarchand said that Marlowe "is the head of an order whose history reaches back 400 years to the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First." For those who aren't history buffs, it was Queen Elizabeth that supposedly bestowed knighthood upon Sir Francis Drake in the first place (hence the "Sir.") Could this ring have been passed to Francis by Queen Elizabeth herself? Perhaps Sir Francis had even stolen it from her.
We don't yet know what information Sir Francis Drake's ring still holds, but Uncharted 3's trailers have left us with a lot to contemplate. Perhaps this November we'll finally understand the mystery of Drake's ring.
CCC Editor / Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*