It only took us nearly 11 years to uncover the truth behind Nathan Drake’s seemingly inhuman ability to take the punishing bullet wounds that have befallen him throughout the Uncharted franchise.
As it turns out, Drake is actually dodging each bullet that comes his way thanks to sheer luck. Drake’s red, on-screen health meter is merely an indication of his luck running out as each bullet whizzes by, until ultimately, his luck runs out and an enemy gets a clear enough shot to take out the charismatic treasure hunter.
The insight into this design comes straight from Naughty Dog animator, Jonathan Cooper, in response to a tweet featuring a daring clip of Drake making an impressive – and lucky – cliffside swing, once again cheating death as only he knows how.
True! That was the original intention (to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging).— Amy Hennig (@amy_hennig) July 8, 2018
Cooper’s words were also backed up by Amy Hennig, who wrote and directed the first few games in the Uncharted series. In her response, Hennig noted that it was an intended element to game, “to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging.” Where would Indiana Jones or James Bond be without possessing a little bit of luck and serendipity?
The news spread across the internet like wildfire, primarily in regards to how much sense it makes (*insert mind-blown memes here*).
Generally speaking, most on-screen health meters designate how much life is remaining before a character meets their maker. Often, blood shed or visible body damage accompany characters being shot. This is rarely the case in Uncharted. While Drake may seem to flinch during the multiple shootouts that occur throughout the games, he never really appears to be very bloody.
The health bar system requires gamers to suspend their disbelief more often than not. Not too many characters can tout their regenerative abilities like that of Wolverine, but many games feature that type of self-healing skill that may be necessary before re-entering the fray of a firefight.
Ultimately, the intention behind Uncharted’s luck dynamic holds true throughout all of the games in the franchise. Honestly, how many multiple plane, train, and car crashes can one person survive? Uncharted’s luck bar is just a fun and different way to visualize Drake’s remaining chances.