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Uncharted: Golden Abyss Presentation Details Cut Features From Vita Game


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Mobile prequel Uncharted: Golden Abyss launched for the PS Vita in December 2011, though it didn’t come to Europe and America until February 2012. It received very positive reviews at the time, though Naughty Dog never followed through on bringing it to the PS4. But as it turns out, the game that players got to experience is not everything the designers intended to put out.

Reddit user Cooper 941 recently shared a lost concept presentation recovered from the Internet Archive. The presentation revealed some exciting details about Bend Studio’s Uncharted: Golden Abyss. It includes multiple unimplemented features that never made it into the final product.

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The pitch brought up Bend Studio’s desire to enhance rather than replace Uncharted’s traditional gameplay. This was largely the case with the release version, which utilized the Vita’s touch screen and motion controls. However, Bend Studio also had ideas to use the Vita’s built-in camera and light sensor to incorporate augmented reality features into Uncharted: Golden Abyss. The first would have allowed players to reveal hidden symbols by shining real-world lights on the screen. The second concept would have adjusted the game’s gamma setting based on the light levels in the Vita’s surroundings.

The latter option may not seem particularly exciting and comes across as redundant, considering the Vita came with similar features. However, if implemented well, it could have been a nice quality-of-life feature. The former suggestion also sounds like it could have been an engaging augmented reality minigame. However, neither sounds like a make-or-break feature, so it’s not surprising Bend Studio left them on the cutting room floor.

Bend Studio also seems to have toyed with the idea of introducing a multiplayer component to the game. However, the term “multiplayer” is only mentioned briefly in a longer statement about risk assessment and franchise expectations. The multiplayer component may refer to a proposed social interaction game. Players would compete to collect the most in-game artifacts to become the world’s most successful treasure hunter. It’s also possible Bend Studio intended to have both treasure hunting and a more traditional PVP or co-op multiplayer.

As mentioned above, the presentation also included a section dedicated to risk assessment. For example, Bend Studio estimated it would need about $13.5 million to develop and market Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Based on that number, the studio projected it would need to sell 647,000 copies to break even.

That may have been an overambitious target as Golden Abyss only sold around 500,000 copies and was still one of the most successful games on the PS Vita. However, it’s possible the final product cost significantly less to develop. On the other hand, it would certainly be a disappointment to the studio if it made one of the platform’s best games but still lost money. Either way, the recent leak offers an intriguing peek behind the curtains of the game’s development.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss is available on PlayStation Vita.

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