Why The Uncharted Movie Shouldn't Be A Direct Adaptation, According To One Of Its Creators

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

The Uncharted video game series is one that seems perfect for a cinematic adaptation. This is why it surprised a lot of people when it was decided that the first Uncharted movie wouldn't be based on any game. Rather than tell a story of one of Nathan Drake's swashbuckling adventures, the upcoming Uncharted movie will be a prequel to the games, starring Tom Holland as a Drake before he became the globe-trotting hero. Neil Druckmann, the creative lead at Naughty Dog, the game studio behind Uncharted, thinks this is actually the right way to go because if you want to see a cinematic version of Uncharted 's hero, you can just play the games. According to Druckmann...

We used to just be excited--oh my god, movies are looking at us! There could be an Uncharted movie on the screen, and then as more time passes on, we're not excited by a direct adaptation of the story we told, because we feel we've already told that story very well cinematically, so I don't know what else you could bring to it.

The Uncharted games clearly take inspiration from the Indiana Jones film series, as they focus on Nathan Drake, a man who travels the world searching for valuable historic artifacts. As such, the games were designed to come across like a movie in a lot of ways. The latter games especially were very good at transitioning between gameplay sections and storytelling sections seamlessly, so as not to take the player out of the story. But, of course, this is exactly why Uncharted movies would seem to make perfect movies, there's less adaptation that needs to be done and more direct translation, potentially making Uncharted the movie that could break the curse of the video game adaptation.

However, as Neil Druckmann tells Gamespot, in the end, whatever gets put on screen in a direct adaptation is going to be compared to the games, and whatever happens, some aspects will be found lacking. The main character will never look or sound the way fans of the games see him, and it seems that Druckmann already knows that whatever voice Drake spoke with on a screen wouldn't sound right to his ears, since voice actor Nolan North is the real voice of Nathan Drake. The same goes for the leads in Naughty's Dog's other big game set for a cinematic adaptation, The Last of Us.

For me--and I know for Naughty Dog and for a lot of our fans--Nolan North is Nathan Drake. Ashley Johnson is Ellie. Troy Baker is Joel. It would be very disorienting to see someone else in that role.

Perhaps the movie makers realized this as well, which is why they made the decision to make a prequel instead. Perhaps, if Uncharted movies are successful, Tom Holland can grow into his own Nathan Drake, so things won't feel so off when he becomes the grown-up hero in his own right.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.