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Why Naughty Dog Is Finally Finished With The Uncharted Series

Since its debut on HBO, "The Last of Us" has been praised unanimously among fans and critics, creating a new buzz around the video game it's based on. With "The Last of Us" and game developer Naughty Dog firmly in the limelight, many fans may have wondered about the future of another of the studio's beloved franchises, "Uncharted." The action-adventure title has been roundly considered as one of the best in the genre since its debut in 2007. But in the aftermath of its last entry, "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End" — as well as a big-budget film adaptation — there hasn't been much word on a mainline follow-up to the series. As it turns out, according to the studio, "Uncharted" may be finished.

In an interview with Buzzfeed regarding the TV adaptation of "The Last of Us," Naughty Dog co-president and creative director Neil Druckmann commented on the future of "Uncharted," saying that he believes the series might be done, regardless of its financial success. "'Uncharted 4' was one of our best selling games — and we're able to put our final brushstroke on that story and say that we're done. We're moving on," Druckmann told Buzzfeed.

It's a rough thing to hear for "Uncharted" fans. After all, virtually every entry into the series has been lauded by critics and gamers due to its brilliant combination of action, platforming, and storytelling. But at the end of the day, it makes sense that "Uncharted" may be laid to rest by Naughty Dog.

The Uncharted film didn't click with critics

Much like with "The Last of Us," Hollywood attempted to adapt another Naughty Dog IP into a mainstream sensation by creating a film based around "Uncharted." The movie seemed to have the full backing of Columbia and Sony Pictures, with the film having a massive $120 million budget and a star-studded cast that consisted of Tom Holland as Nathan Drake, Mark Wahlberg as Sully, and Antonio Banderas as the film's primary antagonist. And to be fair, the bet paid off, with the film making over $400 million in box office receipts (via The Numbers). But, unfortunately, that's about as much as onlookers can say about the film's positives.

Despite its box office success and impressive ensemble cast, most critics were unimpressed with the "Uncharted" movie. According to Rotten Tomatoes, just 41% of all critics gave the film a positive review, with most complaining that the film was a rather forgettable experience — stuffed with exciting, over the top action and lacking a cohesive story. Films getting negative reviews aren't necessarily indicative of a franchise dying, and the movie raked in a decent profit. However, the film never caught on the way "The Last of Us" on HBO has. And this might have affected how Naughty Dog sees the franchise on the video game side of the business.

Nathan Drake's story is complete

Film adaptation aside, the question immediately goes to whether or not there are more stories Naughty Dog can squeeze out of "Uncharted" for future installments. "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End" was confirmed to be the end of Nathan Drake's story arc, eliminating the need for him to be in an "Uncharted 5." However, it must be said that Drake's status as the main character in the video game series makes it a bit challenging to find a way to refocus the story on someone else. Imagine "Metroid" without Samus or "Tomb Raider" without Lara Croft. 2017's "Uncharted: The Lost Legacy" did a fine job telling a side-story with some of the series' supporting characters, but it wasn't quite the same.

With Nathan's story running its course, is there a need for another entry into the series? "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End" was a triumphant exclamation point that served as a suitable ending to the franchise — and many fans seem to think so too. On Reddit, several "Uncharted" fans expressed satisfaction with how the series ended, noting Nathan's seemingly completed story arc. Other fans agreed, saying they'd rather the series have a definite conclusion over having it run the risk of losing its identity over time.

With most fans being satisfied with how the last "Uncharted" game tied everything up, there is no need for Naughty Dog to draw from that well again. As Druckmann said, the book has been shut on Nathan Drake and his thieving days. Even though there's certainly more money to be made, it's probably better to let a good thing go out on a high note than watch it diminish with unnecessary sequels.