Just a few days ago we hosted a large press event with editors from the US and Europe where we gave everyone a first taste of our expansive multiplayer mode in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. I’m sure you’ll easily find your way to the many articles that hit the net this morning if you want to check out an independent perspective of what was shown. Read on for our own rundown – we’ve got so much to share that I don’t even know where to start!
First off, Uncharted 3 multiplayer is a complete evolution from the initial foray we made into multiplayer with Uncharted 2. The leap forward in gameplay, technology — not the least of which is 3D stereoscopic support — and depth is nothing short of astounding, no joke. Our goal has always been to take the signature Uncharted gameplay and our penchant for awesome set-piece moments to serve as the key building blocks for creating a multiplayer experience like no other. We dipped our toe in with Uncharted 2. Now, with Uncharted 3, we’re diving in headfirst.
The Uncharted 3 Multiplayer trailer, which was JUST released today, is the best crash course on everything we’ve revealed about our competitive multiplayer modes — and more. Check it out below.
At the event we provided the assembled editors hands-on time with two of our multiplayer maps – The Airstrip and The Chateau. Both are great examples of the whole spectrum of map design and dynamic environments we’re aiming to have available in Uncharted 3.
The Chateau is a more traditional style arena map, with multiple levels to take advantage of our unique Uncharted traversal options — including ziplines. The Airstrip is a two-part map where the location and map layout actually changes in the middle of the match! The first part of the match takes place on a massive cargo plane being chased by trucks, with players jumping from truck to truck and between the cargo plane and the truck convoy. You can see some of this better in the Uncharted 3 Multiplayer trailer we released today. The second part of the match begins when the cargo plane is about to take off from the runway. After takeoff, the match changes locations for all players to the airstrip hangar area for a slightly more traditional multiplayer setting and layout. Just watch out for the fighter planes that will inevitably come in for a strafing run.
We revealed two of our new competitive modes, along with the perennial favorite Team Deathmatch. One is Three Team Deathmatch, which is a small-team 2 vs. 2 vs. 2 variation on Team Deathmatch. The other is the oft-requested Free For All – with every player out for themselves. Over the months left until release – that’s about six-and-a-half months if you’re counting – we’ll detail all of our competitive modes.
As you’re looking to get into matches, we’ve made some updates to make it easier to get into games quicker, and with your friends. The first is Late Join, which is a staple of many online games and for good reason. It ensures that matches stay full, that you can get into matches faster and you can get into your friends matches faster if there’s a slot for you, instead of waiting for your friend to finish their current round. We’ve heard that many of you want to play with a friend on the same couch and we’re really proud to say that we were able to not only implement same-console split screen but you can log into two independent PSN IDs for most gametypes – the ones you can’t are to prevent unfair collusion between players.
Playing with friends and creating a team environment is extremely important for us and we’re trying to encourage this with the Buddy system. Each player will be partnered with a Buddy and you’ll be able to collectively share your successes throughout the match with each other. You can even pick up Treasures — more on that later — for your Buddy. The Buddy system also allows you to choose to spawn on your Buddy if they are safely out of combat so you can jump into the action together quicker. This is key since most of our game modes are all about team play and teams that stick together will do far better than teams who don’t.
New to Uncharted 3 multiplayer is character customization. Both heroes and villains skins will have a hundreds of customizable parts, from accessories to shirts and pants to a deep weapon customization feature. Even named characters, like Drake or Sully, will get plenty of options to make your character your own. Hand in hand with customization is our emblem editor. If you’ve worked with emblem editors in other games, you’ll be pretty familiar with the one we’ve implemented in Uncharted 3. Our emblem editor extends the level of customization of your online profile with hundreds of decals, three layers, rotate and scale functions – you’ll see your final emblem on your character and even possibly in the environment during matches.
Speaking of weapon customizations – it goes beyond the cosmetic. We have weapon mods that not only change the look of your weapon of choice, but they are functional too, adding precise scopes, bigger clips and more!
Boosters are back in Uncharted 3, but we didn’t just carry over the Booster selection from Uncharted 2. There are a few old favorites in there, but we’ve created what we feel is a more satisfying mix of old and new based on your feedback and selection patterns. We’ve extended the Booster system with a special subset of Paid Boosters, give you a one-time Booster that you spend some cash to have the option of using during a match. There’s still other ways to get minor advantages during a match. You have to option to select a specific Medal Kickback, which activate when you’ve racked up the required number of Medals for that specific Kickback. You can see this in the Multiplayer Trailer when the RPG Kickback is activated at 00:50 into the video. You’re taking a little chance when you select these, as some really choice Kickbacks require you to get a significant number of Medals before you can activate them.
Those are a TON of customization options you can pick through and we know that you don’t want to be bogged down in menus in the limited time before the match begins trying to figure out which sets of customizations you want to slot for that match. We’ve introduced four slots to save specific loadouts — your starting rifle, starting sidearm, weapon customizations and mods, Boosters, and Kickbacks.
All of these customization and modifier options allowed us to extend our in-game reward system. No longer is everything tied to level gain or cash. During matches, you’ll have the opportunity to get items from treasure chests on the maps. You’ll also be able unlock a wide variety of items and modifiers through Missions. There are two types of Missions – some are instant missions and others, accessible from the Multiplayer menu, are more long term. Instant missions can appear in the middle of a match and provide a target that you can complete within a few matches tops. The Missions you select from the Multiplayer menu will take significantly more time, days of playtime possibly, and the rewards will be accordingly more significant.
A couple of things we’ve learned over the past year and a half of reviewing thousands upon thousands of Uncharted 2 matches is that it really sucks to be blown out on the way to losing a match and that winning or losing a tightly contested match by some kill made way off-screen is a bit of a letdown. We’ve thought of some ways to make these inevitable multiplayer moments a bit more exciting and satisfying. Power Plays activate when one team is way behind in the score count. They provide the team on top with an opportunity to maximize their cash for the match, while evening the odds a little for the team on the losing end of the equation and giving them the opportunity to close the gap a little.
If matches are too close to call as they get close to the end, Overtime will activate, giving either time an opportunity to win the match by more than one point within a limited time. If the game is still too close to call, the match enters Sudden Death. Sudden Death is similar to Elimination – there are no respawns and the last player standing wins the match for their team.
We’ve also made it easier to share your passion for Uncharted 3 multiplayer with your real life friends and family through social media hooks we’ve added to the game. We’ve integrated Facebook into the game in a way unseen on a console game so far – way more than just sharing videos and photos, or updates to your Wall. USA Today has an exclusive look at our plans to bring social networks into Uncharted 3. Cinema mode has gotten a revamp allowing you to create clips from full matches and upload them directly to your own YouTube OR Facebook account (or both). We’re streaming a tightly curated list of awesome Uncharted videos created by you – our community – back into your multiplayer menu via Uncharted TV. We’ll have more details on all of the above over the next few days.
Oh yeah, and we have a brand new Sprint button. Don’t hate on it until you’ve had a chance to go hands on! We feel it works extremely well and, of course, we’ve built Uncharted 3 multiplayer to take into account that you can sprint.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about competitive multiplayer, but what about co-op? Fear not, co-op is most definitely IN Uncharted 3 multiplayer and it too has been vastly expanded upon. We didn’t cover anything co-op related at our multiplayer event last week – everything and anything co-op will be revealed further down the line.
When can you get a crack at Uncharted 3 multiplayer? In just a couple of months – the Multiplayer Beta for Uncharted 3 begins WORLDWIDE on June 28, 2011, with early access for PlayStation Plus members or by purchasing specially marked copies of Infamous 2.
Stay tuned as that date draws near for more details!