Like many action games of its era, the Uncharted series uses a regenerating health system wherein protagonist Nathan Drake recovers by avoiding damage for a short period of time. Up until now, I assumed (as I’m sure many others did) that Drake took a bunch of bullet damage and magically healed himself; just one of those silly video game suspensions of disbelief we all make so that the play experience can be streamlined. As it turns out, there is actually a pretty straightforward answer as to why Drake can take so many bullets without dying and it all has to do with luck.

No, seriously.

According to Naughty Dog Animator Jonathan Cooper, Nathan Drake never actually takes bullet damage throughout any of the series’ five games. When the Uncharted UI turns red and we think that the character is getting hit, it’s actually just his luck running out. Once Drake’s luck is up, a single shot will kill him.

Naughty Dog

“Sidenote I learned on joining the team: Drake doesn’t ever take bullet damage,” Cooper tweeted earlier this week. “The red UI that shows ‘hits’ is to represent his ‘luck’ running out. Eventually enemies will get a clear shot and kill him if he takes enough near-misses.”

Cooper’s explanation was backed up by Amy Hennig, creator of the Uncharted series and director of the first three games.

“True! That was the original intention (to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging),” she tweeted in reply to Cooper.

Pretty cool, right? I’m going to go ahead and assume this “luck” also applies to other characters in the Uncharted universe as well, particularly Chloe Frazier, the protagonist of last year’s excellent spin-off, The Lost Legacy.


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