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Naughty Dog explains Uncharted 4 microtransactions and The Last of Us influences

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Uncharted mud

I think people already knew to be excited by Naughty Dog’s games with the Uncharted trilogy, but The Last of Us cemented their role as a must-watch game studio. Uncharted 4 is coming early next year, and it has gotten plenty of people to board the hype train. Thanks to Paris Games Show and PAX, a bit more information about the game has emerged, some good and some less than great.

In a move that really shouldn’t surprise me, a big focus of their reveals has been on the Uncharted 4 multiplayer gameplay. They are still deciding about custom games, but have confirmed that there will be other mystical abilities (over and above the original ones from the Uncharted trilogy) that will be a part of multiplayer. However, because they are new the Uncharted universe, they haven’t been revealed yet. They are working hard to reduce latency with a new matchmaking system and there are possibilities for new maps to be revealed over time.

I know that plenty of people still love the multiplayer in the Uncharted trilogy, as well as the multiplayer in The Last of Us, but that will never be the reason I play these games – I’m much more enamored with the story and gameplay of these titles. And thanks to The Last of Us, Uncharted 4 is getting some improved gameplay. The AI system build for that title was pretty sophisticated, letting enemies flank the player and coordinate movements in intelligent ways. This was brought over to Uncharted 4; even though the gameplay is a lot faster in Uncharted, thanks to some robust scripting apparently that same intelligent AI will return.

However, for those planning to play the multiplayer, we also learned a bit more about how micro transactions will work, and I’m not 100% convinced that this is a good thing. There is in-game currency called Naughty Dog Points that can only be purchased with real money (after an initial taster amount that is given for free).

Only from the money that we’re giving you from the beginning, but basically everything that you can buy with virtual currency, you can also get from playing through the game. So we’re not gating anything off so that only people that buy that way [get it]. There’s nothing that actually changes your game mechanics behind it either.

In general, I don’t have a problem with this approach to microtransactions in single player games. Some people can actually play the game and get all the things, while others can pay in extra and buy their way to speed things up. Makes sense to me – it’s a way for Naughty Dog to make money to pay for the servers and it lets people who might not want to play diligently still enjoy the top-level items and gear. However, this becomes a problem in multiplayer. Depending on item drop rate and other variables, it can lead to some ridiculously overpowered players who simply bought their way to victory and throw the whole game out of balance. I know that the quote assures us that the paid for items won’t change the game mechanics, but it still sounds a bit dodgy to me. High level gear in multiplayer games should be something earned, something to be proud of, not just a sign that you had extra money to burn on the biggest and best stuff.

Last Updated: November 2, 2015

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