Naughty Dog Talks UNCHARTED 3 Multiplayer Free-to-Play

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Naughty Dog Talks UNCHARTED 3 Multiplayer Free-to-Play

UNCHARTED 3: Drake's Deception for PS3

Naughty Dog, purveyors of fine action-adventure games including the upcoming survival action game The Last of Us, made a bold move yesterday. They decided to make the core multiplayer component of their most recent game, the globetrotting epic Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, free.

In a world of microtransactions and freemium stigmas, gamers naturally had questions about this decision. Why Free-to-Play? How will this affect the game’s community? We caught up with Uncharted 3 Game Director Justin Richmond, who gave us an inside look at the company’s thought process behind giving away the core multiplayer mode of one of Naughty Dog‘s most popular games.

PlayStation.Blog: Why Free-to-Play? What opportunities does this model present that aren’t there in the more traditional one?

“Free-To-Play takes away a huge barrier that exists for many players.”

Justin Richmond, Uncharted 3 Game Director: One of the biggest issues with multiplayer games, particularly multiplayer games that are part of a larger package (such as in the Uncharted Series) is barrier to entry. The Free-To-Play model takes away a huge barrier that exists for many players. With this model, people can check out the game without having to pay a dime, and in fact play it in perpetuity without ever paying a cent. This just isn’t something we can support in the traditional releases.

We have a thriving player base, with nearly a half a million unique ID’s logging on to play Uncharted 3 every month. This model will hopefully add to that community and show players that never took the chance how active and fun that community is.

PSB: F2P has a certain stigma to it — lots of “freemium” mobile games are built around coaxing the player to spend money in order to make the game easier, or gives them an unfair advantage in multiplayer scenarios. How will U3’s foray into Free-to-Play avoid these frustrations?

JR: We wanted to give the players the ability to pay for the specific parts of the game they are interested in playing. If you want to only play the core competitive multiplayer, you can just pay for that. If you just want co-op, you can pay only for that part. We feel that the a la carte model gives our users the most flexibility and choice when it comes to playing Uncharted 3. If a player downloads the Free-To-Play experience and really gets into it, Naughty Dog recommends that you go ahead and purchase the Digital Game of the Year edition of Uncharted 3, simply because this is by far the most bang for your buck. You are basically getting the entire single player campaign for free with this purchase.

“Players are getting the full Uncharted experience”

We are steadfast against the idea of pay to win, and we worked hard to maintain the balance of the game. This new player group is also getting to experience the full player base. The Free-To-Play version puts players in the same matchmaking as the full retail game. This means that players are getting the full Uncharted experience, not some watered down version.

PSB: How do you create a high-quality Free-to-Play multiplayer console experience? Did you look at any other developers for inspiration on the implementation?

JR: We looked at what other people had done with their Free-to-Play models, and decided to strike out on our own in many ways. The a la carte model is something that has never really been done on the PS3. We spent a long time evaluating and making sure that it was our best choice. At the end of the day, we feel it gives our players more options than any other game when it comes to this model.

PSB: What kind of transition can current players expect? Will they maintain their progress, or are servers going to be reset? Will they have any sort of advantage or exclusive content over F2P players?

“We will be giving out a few surprises for players that have been playing before Free-To-Play”

JR: The current players will experience no difference in their gameplay at all, other than an influx of new players in the system. As a thank you for supporting the game, we will also be giving out a few surprises for players that have been playing the full retail disc before the Free-To-Play version was released. The only real transition is that we will be resetting the leaderboards in the interest of starting fresh with the new player base.

PSB: What kind of success has Uncharted 3 multiplayer seen in comparison to that of Uncharted 2, and how do you think F2P will influence that?

JR: Uncharted 3 has had great success compared to Uncharted 2, and we hope that the Free-To-Play version will keep that going. We aren’t just sending this version out to die, either. We have long term plans in terms of content releases and support as we move forward.

PSB: Are you battening down the hatches, so to speak, server-side? What kind of technical commitment is required for something of this magnitude? Are you anticipating an influx of new players once this goes live?

JR: We did spend time shoring up our tech, and figuring out if a la carte options were even going to possible. Fortunately, our programmers are awesome and they managed to get everything sectioned out and running in a way we were all happy with. It was definitely not something that we took lightly, and we are really pleased with the results we have achieved.

PSB: Naughty Dog has mentioned that The Last of Us will also feature a multiplayer mode of some sort – is Free-to-Play something you’d consider down the road for it, too?

JR: I can’t really comment on The Last of Us right now, as we are still actively working on it. But I will say that if this endeavor goes well, it is something we will certainly be looking at for future products.

Comments are closed.


  • it was ok. i couldnt get used to the 3ed person view, im used to FPS

  • the online is definitly not as flow-i as FPS, but i do LOVE the Uncharted series. How do i quit an online game? I jumped into a team deathmatch and after a match i pressed ecery button and never came across a quit screen, i had to start a round and then quit.

  • I hope this means faster matchmaking now I can try to convince more freinds to play a game we all have

  • If you already own the full game on disc, can you download this and not need the disc to play multiplayer and still keep all the perks of being a non-free-to-play player?

  • Fun times.

  • here’s a question

    why is it that those like myself who bought all the content have to repurchase it in order to use it on the free to play model? i like that the multiplayer is separated, but now you all are forcing people with the dlc to still use the disc. i think we should at least get a code that unlocks it since we supported yall by buying the content, or at least a discount for it, because the add-ons are not cheap.

  • Thank you so much , i wanna purchase uncharted Dual pack then purchase uncharted 3 but first i need to know are we going to see uncharted trilogy in one pack or thats it and just to pick the games from psn in its current price ?

  • i bought the split screen add-on, but was not able to play it last night. i will be jumping on today after my gf, gets home. I was just wondering, if there will be dual sign in option, when playing split screen? My girlfriend want’s to get trophies too.
    I do remember it not being an option when i played the beta a year ago or so. Is it the same way, and if yes, can there be a option in the future?

  • They should of done this with UC2

  • This thing is a total ripoff, naughty Dog idk what you’ve guys been thinking but seriously you’re ruining things. Why is it that all “addon” content for this costs more than the GOTY edition exactly? that doesn’t even make sense. Can’t wait to see you put out The Last of Us and then go back and ruin it like you did with Uncharted 3.

  • @#4 I would also like to know the same thing.

  • Give me UNCHARTED 2 free 2 play! It is waaayyy better than the horrid mess of UNCHARTED 3 MP.

  • I have to agree with ShadySaiyanz, You guys over sold and exploited U3 like a street walker.
    The microtransactions and 50+ trophies was ridiculous. please PLEASE don’t do this to The Last of Us

  • My friend downloaded Uncharted 3 F2P Multiplayer and he said it has a platinum trophy, but the trophies seem to be from the original game. How does this work, can I download the F2P multiplayer then go play the story on my disc and get another plat or?….

    Please please please answer this. Thanks!

  • i want all of sony’s first party online supported titles to use this business model….Resistance 3 could use so much more love…

  • They mean Demo with hidden micro transactions.

  • I tried out the Free to Play Mode and it does at least acknowledge my level, map packs, characters, ect. It does not let me play co-op, or arena, or split-screen or Single-Player (obviously). I hoped I could just buy those parts digitally and it would be cheaper than the GOTY edition. But damn… look at those prices! Who do you think you are? Activision? I already own all the DLC from the Fortune Hunters.

    I think a lot of us just want a digital option that doesn’t involve us repurchasing things we already own. We don’t want to dig out our discs every time we want to play a few matches.

  • people also failed to realize they did this before the game came out with the subway promo….i literally ate subway everyday until the promo ended..

  • @12 I prefer Uncharted 2 multiplayer also.

  • “One of the biggest issues with multiplayer games, particularly multiplayer games that are part of a larger package (such as in the Uncharted Series) is barrier to entry. The Free-To-Play model takes away a huge barrier that exists for many players. ”

    um no, the barrier that is the FREAKING ONLINE PASS! I could buy or borrow the game, but it would depreciate if I redeemed the online pass so I simply didn’t bother at all. Think about how many other potential players also decided to skip the MP for the same reason? The MP must’ve been a ghost town because of this barrier and that’s why you had to resort to introducing this F2P model to remove the “online pass” barrier, so don’t give us this BS that buying the game itself is a barrier because everyone knows the truth. Online passes stop people from joining MP and without people MP. DCUO had to go F2P for the same reason.

  • Why has no-one bothered to answer anyone’s questions here?
    Seems people need some clarification.


  • I was just about to ask the same question.

  • again sony and their first party devs have good ideas. ftp multiplayer is a good idea but they’re execution is poor. first of all, the multiplayer is very limited. i don’t care about the level cap, that’s not a bad idea actually. but why in god’s name is splitscreen not free? why is co-op not free? i personally think that when it comes to ftp multiplayer, it should have all the features that the payed one has, except the dlc and the level caps. its gonna give people the wrong idea about the multiplayer and it’ll make them think its this limited. also, the prices are not that good. single player is $30 when the game of the year edition is $40? what is naughty dog’s message here? that multiplayer including all the multiplayer dlc isn’t worth very much? i would think single player being $20 would be good. in fact cut every price in half and those are good deals.

  • you can get the game of the year edition for $30 in stores and the original, (which has the same single player as there is no single player dlc), for less than that.
    sony needs to get better prices for games on the psn. most times i’m seeing that a game is actually more expensive on psn than in stores. not really an incentive to go digital actually.
    i was really hoping the prices were good here because i was wanting to pick up the single player only but not for $30. if it was $20, then yes i would.

    sorry for the double post but the character limit isn’t that good

  • This Uncharted tv is intrusive as hell.

  • I’ve played all Uncharted’s. The third, for me, is the weakest. But still a good game. I think free to play it’s a good thing, better than paying for ‘Real Ending’ dlc’s. You try, you play, you like? Buy it. Nothing it’s for free in this world, nothing. Nor birth or burial. If they give you a chance to try before you buy, excellent. I think it’s better than sell a season pass for crap content.

  • And I really, really dislike the ‘buy a better gun’, ‘buy more continues’, ‘buy the real ending’, ‘buy the true story’ ‘buy the missing part’ add-ons. a game should be complete, always. an add-on is an additional thing for a complete game, not parts of the games to be sold separately. In some ways, I miss the cartridges. ‘This is your game, nothing else’.

  • I played first split screen game, found the answer to my question, that i had before.
    Next question, Do you support TURBO CONTROLLERS? I don’t like playing against people, who use them. It is an unfair advantage to them.

  • Dont diss a company who is offering on line interaction at no charge. ”oh we wont get the super duper grappling hook, oh we wont get the shirt with the camo sleeves.”’ Shut up and play the free game while you go camp out under a cliff somewhere with your free butter knife and sling-shot shooter while I hunt u down with my paid- all access , super duper nuclear plasma launcher. Oh yea, I’ll be the one wearing my military issued, bullet proof armor, with camo sleeves.

  • I hate it when they give you a free-to-play game, then if you want cooler stuff, or add-ons they want you to pay, it’s not free-to -play if you have to pay for it. It’s ridiculous.

  • WOW !…….simply……\/\/ O \/\/ u cant make this stuff up!

  • I hate f2p games… They always make me feel like a lamb. Anyway, Naughtygods should’ve taken the contents from uncharted 2 & 3 and rebranded it as this free2play multiplayer arena. You really can’t execute this way and try to get accurate results. Why didn’t they just do that and go all out!? And come off as it being a new experience rather than an “experiment”? Now, when it does get some positive revenue and response, you’d have other companies coming into the space you’ll built executing better. For example: uncharted universe! An app where it gives you a unified multiplayer experience. 2&3 integrated into 1 game, and you can still download uncharted 1, 2, or 3 under 1 roof! …sigh.. I have a nice marketing degree, maybe you guys could hire me. I’ll intern. Lol,
    Anyway.. This way the ads would be tolerable. Instantly switching from uncharted 2-3 and vice versa… Same with GoW. I could teach you guys something

  • thanks Naughty Dog :D

  • This is so hilariously overpriced. You can buy a retail copy of the full Uncharted 3 game at MSRP for less than you are charging for just the multiplayer. Greedy much? I’ve lost a lot of respect for Naughty Dog with this bs.

    • The digital edition of Game of the Year is comparable to what you can find it for at retail. We will likely be offering bundles, price drops, and sales as time goes along.

  • yo this is spiderman make this game free in psn store please i have a psvita

  • I’d love to have a nice Uncharted Trilogy, but not something cheap, something like the Mass Effect Trilogy.

  • What you guys need to do is have a sale especially for plus subscribers look at what they did with starhawk you guys need to do something like that one of the main reasons i stopped playing was because i have to spend 25 bucks for the map packs just so i can get the trophies you guys added i want all 3 map packs for 10 bucks

  • Is the 3d option only for active?(no passive) please help to clear this up.
    It also looks like some games that are 3d don’t show when using the store filters, like “jak and daxter” also “god of war origins” and many more. I also would like to see new demos support 3d.(disappointed about the crysis3 and god of war ascension demos not showing off 3d capabilities)

    P.S. thank you for all the cool content, the free to play games are great.
    Sony ROCKS! and all of you at playstation show so much love to all us gamers.

  • I Downloaded the Free to play and im a level 75 and i can play no problem.

  • WTF. I’m finishing rounds but not getting any money for it. I can’t even level up.

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