Uncharted 4 has one of the most impressive car chases in video games, and the way it’s structured could be emulated for the upcoming Project 007.
The car chase through a Madagascar city in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is still a towering achievement in video game action set pieces, and Project 007 would do well to glean some inspiration from it. IO Interactive, the Hitman developer, shared few details on Project 007 following its announcement, but seeing as car chases are something of a staple for the classic film franchise, there’s a chance for the game to capture the same excitement. Plenty of other video games about the famous MI6 agent have included car chases, but none stand up to the well-choreographed sequence created by Naughty Dog for Uncharted 4.
Within a larger mission, the Uncharted 4 car chase through the streets of King’s Bay has its own compelling, self-contained structure. It is essentially a story told in three acts, the first being Nate and Sully’s attempt to escape a seemingly insurmountable foe by fleeing in pursuit of Sam. Players appear to give the armored car the slip, but are quickly thrust into the second act, segued by a daring stunt in which Nate grapples onto a crane overhanging a bridge. The variation in action helps it become Uncharted and Naughty Dog’s best chase scene as the player is flung onto the back an enemy vehicle.
Attempting to aid his brother, who is fleeing a privatized military on a motorcycle, Nate has to jump between vehicles, engaging in ranged and melee combat, hijacking cars from enemies, and blowing plenty of stuff up. Just when Nate and Sam think they have escaped, the armored car reappears from the first section of the chase and nearly kills Nate, trapping him under a burning jeep. Following the return of the insurmountable foe, players do nothing more in the third act than sit on the back of Sam’s motorcycle and spray dozens of bullets at the pursuing car until it explodes. Despite the reduction in player control, it’s a tense conclusion to the long car chase.
How Project 007 Can Learn From Uncharted 4’s Car Chase
Although there are plenty of things Project 007 should borrow from Hitman, the series lacks a distinct amount of action sequences. However, as Uncharted 4 proves, there’s more that can be done aside from simply putting the player in control of a vehicle with enemies swarming. The wide range of gameplay elements – driving, grappling, shooting, jumping, punching, etc. – help the car chase from becoming stale, letting it feel organic as players progress from one segment to the next. The rough three act structure helps it stand alone as a fun and compelling gameplay segment. Someone wouldn’t have to play any other part of an Uncharted game to recognize what is going on, what the objective is, and how threatening the big bad appears.
Perhaps even more importantly, in the game’s larger scheme, is that the chase is bookended by two compelling, but slower-paced sections. Just prior, players completed an impressive puzzle in the bell tower (which has some intense moments of its own). A cutscene immediately after has a heart-wrenching moment with Nate’s wife, Elena, who deserves a bigger role in Uncharted moving forward. The latter especially is a great emotional contrast to the excitement of the car chase. Some of Uncharted‘s more unbelievable stunts are reminiscent of the Pierce Brosnan Bond era, but Project 007 can learn from Uncharted‘s emotional undulation if it hopes to emulate the more serious tone brought to the franchise by the Daniel Craig films. The car chase in Uncharted 4 is not only a good example to Project 007 of how to craft an extended action set piece itself, but also how one can effectively be placed within the larger narrative of the game.
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