In March, Sony's end-of-year games line-up took a blow as Uncharted 4: A Thief's End slipped to 2016.
The title was perhaps the biggest first-party exclusive title that the PlayStation 4 could lay claim to this year, and that line-up was left looking much more anaemic after developer Naughty Dog said it needed more time to realise its ambition for Uncharted 4.
Sony is endeavouring to fill the void in its line-up with The Nathan Drake Collection, a compilation of the first three console Uncharted games – Drake's Fortune, Among Thieves and Drake's Deception – remastered for the PS4 with a slew of improvements.
Those games were all critically acclaimed when they first launched on the PlayStation 3 – scoring Metacritic scores of 88, 96 and 92 respectively.
The Nathan Drake Collection has been put together by Bluepoint Games, the studio who previously worked on the Metal Gear Solid, God of War, and Ico and Shadow of the Colossus HD collections for the PS3 and 360, as well as the Xbox 360 SKU of Microsoft's Titanfall.
All three Uncharted games have been lovingly rebuilt for the PS4,” PlayStation UK product manager Joe Palmer says. Changes include an upgrade to 60 frames per second, giving an enhanced fluidity to what was already regarded as outstanding gameplay.
Naughty Dog saw great success with online modes in The Last Of Us and that really raised the bar in terms of what fans are to expect from them moving forward. For those fans, the Collection includes exclusive access to the Uncharted 4: A Thief's End multiplayer beta happening in December [the multiplayer components for the first three Uncharted games are missing, however].
Other changes include brand-new trophies and a superb photo mode which allows players to capture their most memorable moments from the trilogy to share with friends directly from their PlayStation 4.”
"The Nathan Drake Collection certainly has the
power to be a system seller this Christmas."
Joe Palmer, PlayStation UK
So The Nathan Drake Collection certainly has all the makings of a success, but is this enough to fill the hole in Sony's Christmas line-up left by Uncharted 4?
The media response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with a unanimous view that Bluepoint has done an incredible job of upgrading all three games to be capitalise on the PS4,” Palmer insists.
Publications have praised the Collection for being more than a ‘remaster' and this level of the attention to detail is evidence that the game highly anticipated.
With the exclusive access to the Uncharted 4 multiplayer beta, and the value represented by the three games on one disk serves as a great catch up for fans and newcomers to the franchise as well as a taster for Uncharted 4, too.”
The collection has indeed been well-received, and at the time of writing has a Metacritic score of 86. Sony even thinks it could shift some PS4s.
It certainly has the power to be a system seller this Christmas,” Palmer says. It offers fantastic value as a gifting proposition, giving newcomers the chance to pick up a PlayStation 4 with three great games at a very competitive price. PlayStation's audience base has also changed significantly since the original Uncharted games were released, so there's a huge number of gamers looking to buy a PS4 who may never have played these games before.
We aim to appeal to several audiences; the fans who want to play through the series again in all its' remastered glory; the action-adventure fans who are new to-PlayStation; previous-generation players who are considering an upgrade to PS4.”
"There's a huge number of gamers looking
to upgrade to the PS4 who haven't played
the Uncharted games."
Joe Palmer, PlayStation UK
MCV asked Sony what the publisher's sales expectations for Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection were, and while the firm declined to comment, it says that the performance of its previous remasters show there is a healthy demand for games upgraded for the PS4.
The response and commercial success of the PlayStation 4 remaster of Naughty Dog's other opus, The Last Of Us really showed that there is an appetite for these titles on the new consoles,” Palmer says.
The Nathan Drake Collection is an even better value proposition, comprising as it does three highly rated titles on one disk. We have strong expectations for the success of this title.
This is genuinely something that players want in anticipation of the launch of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End in March 2016.”
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is coming out today (Friday, October 9th), while Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will be hitting stores stores on March 18th 2016. And Sony's marketing campaign will stretch far beyond The Nathan Drake Collection's release.
We have deployed a heavyweight advertising, PR and trade marketing plan to support The Nathan Drake Collection,” PlayStation product manager Joe Palmer says.
The plan will carry us through the Christmas period and tie in nicely with the campaign for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.”