At the PlayStation Experience this weekend, Naughty Dog hosted a panel called “Modeling Nathan Drake: Bringing an Iconic Character to the PS4,” in which the studio demonstrated its process in bringing Uncharted protagonist Nathan Drake to current-gen hardware in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
Naughty Dog’s Ashley Swidowski explained that while designing Nate’s outfits, the studio sought out to find a balance between a recognizable look for the character while also maintaining a realistic subtlety that’s required of a character in a “contemporary costume,” or “clothing that exists in the present.”
”So, creating costumes for contemporary characters can be very much more complex than designing for a period character,” says Swidowski. “With a period film, the look can be researched and reproduced, and the audience will often be more accepting when clothing is not familiar to them.”
In designing Nate’s outfit in Uncharted 4, Naughty Dog needed to ensure that nothing in his clothing would distract from the situation at hand within the game. This is the reason for Nate’s all-around normal and casual look, and is something the studio also kept in mind when designing characters like Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us.
“So, in Uncharted and in The Last of Us, we focus on stories that take place in the present; or in the case of The Last of Us, some years in the future, but we still use clothing that’s very familiar so we don’t distract from the story itself,” Swidowski continued. “So, Uncharted was no different.”
“Same sort of thing with the holster design and pouches. Anything we were going to stick on Drake we really wanted it to be very simple, and again, to not distract from the head model, the actor’s performances, the mood of the scene.”
Elsewhere in the panel, Naughty Dog confirmed that while Nate had 120 facial animations in Uncharted 3, Uncharted 4 will feature around 800 potential animations on his face alone.
Other tech demos shown at the panel featured wind physics that would affect everything from Nate’s hair, shirt, and even his visible chest hair.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is coming to PlayStation 4 in 2015, and Naughty Dog debuted the game’s first gameplay trailer at PlayStation Experience.
Check out plenty of pictures from Naughty Dog’s panel below: