A little game design magic.
One of the highlights of Uncharted 2 is the famous scene where Drake fights enemies on the train. Nine years after the release of the game, it no longer seems so special technically, but at the end of zero the decision to make the movement of the composition of the level here almost threatened the whole project.
Uncharted 2 is not the first game where there is an interactive fragment with a train. However, in the past, the developers mostly left the squad stationary, while the game drove past it with a looped monotonous environment. In Uncharted 2, everything is not so – here the train really travels through a huge location.
According to the staff of Naughty Dog, for the episodes with the train and the falling home, the studio had to almost completely rewrite the mechanisms of interaction between the main character and the environment. Initially, the physical model of the Uncharted 2 engine was not at all ready for this. If Drake, standing on the roof of a moving train, threw a grenade in front of her, she flew back to his face, since all the mechanisms of the game were created under the main character’s movement in a static environment.
But the risk of encountering a lot of bugs and even not coping with the task was worth it. According to the developers, thanks to the new system of interactions, Uncharted 2 turned out to be a real “summer blockbuster” and outrun competitors for several years – at least in the field of playable cinematic scenes.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]But if the train in Uncharted 2 really goes to a really huge level, why does it always reach the point the developers need in sync with the player’s actions?[/perfectpullquote]
So that the user could explore the cars indefinitely, Naughty Dog had to go for a few tricks. If you turn on a free camera in Uncharted 2, then you can see that the whole episode with the train actually consists of two giant loops (one with greens, the other with snow) and connecting links between them.
While the player is engaged in the affairs, the structure simply goes circles. But these circles are made so large that few users have time to notice repetitive details.
The exit from the first loop in the game is hidden with the help of a freight car with high sides. In it, Drake needs to turn the red valve to go further.
While the player is keen on QTE and shooting a helicopter at the main character, Uncharted 2 puts the camera in such a way that only the car and the sky remain on the screen.
At the time of opening the door, the developers simply switch the environment – the train teleports from the loop to the linear part of the level, where Drake has already prepared a spectacular scene with a jumping car.
In the tunnel, the developers go for a similar trick – they turn on the cut-scene and right in it dramatically change the environment to the snow-covered one, taking the train to the second huge loop.
All these tricks drew the attention of a blogger under the nickname Freako. In early May, he shared his findings with the Boundary Break project, which tells about the backstage of popular games. Their joint video gained more than 100 thousand views, after which fans of the game asked Freako to tell more about the level with the train.