We've recently had a question about the game Uncharted 4.

Is this game on topic for SFF:SE? Does it contain significant elements of the supernatural such as ghosts, zombies, djinn or other such fantasy tropes?

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  • Well, a week later and this seems to have been an enlightening discussion with a clear consensus! ... Er. – user31178 Dec 3 '16 at 6:32
  • @CreationEdge - not overwhelming. – Valorum Dec 3 '16 at 8:46
  • That was sarcasm. When I posted the votes were exactly the same, up and down. – user31178 Dec 3 '16 at 8:47
  • @CreationEdge - Everything I post is said with a mildly sarcastic tone :-) – Valorum Dec 3 '16 at 8:57


The game's multiplayer cooperative mode contains very significant fantasy elements including magical powerups and zombie Djinn pirates. It's hard to say how this mode ties into the (plotted) single player game, but it's also something that can't be ignored.

Interestingly, in an interview in 2009 (prior to the release of U4), the game's 'Lead Designer' Evan Wells stated that the supernatural elements were in fact potentially explicable without needing to invoke fantasy.

The first Uncharted takes a swing towards Doom territory towards the end. Is that going to happen in this game?

EW: *Part of that is that there are mystical elements to the world that don't necessarily have a supernatural explanation. We really try to walk that X-Files line where there could be a real world explanation. So I don't know if we made the point clear enough in the first game. But the idea was that there was this virus trapped inside that sarcophagus, or that mummy, for thousands of years. It was released, and of course these people have no immunities built up to this virus and it has some really nasty effects.

People that survived the effects inbred and they created those creatures that we saw in the first game. That was the more scientific explanation as opposed to the mystical one, that they are just demons.*

Evan Wells Interview

While the game's 'Lead Multiplayer Designer' Robert Cogburn is adamant that the supernatural permeates the entire game series as well as its subsidiary materials.

You talked about the Mysticals. Can you talk about the decision to include these supernatural powers in multiplayer? All three previous Uncharted games end up taking these weird supernatural twists. Is this your effort to carry that between the two modes?

RC: Absolutely. It was something we intended to do from the very start. The Mysticals span the entire Uncharted universe, not only from the games, but from the books and the comics and such. The elements that they bring into the moment-to-moment multiplayer really mix things up and they can be used in such a tactical way that they're not overpowering. None of the Mysticals are a one-hit kill.

From the start, with this sort of being our last game, it was really something we wanted to try to pull off in terms of fan service, and it just gave us a lot more flexibility that we didn't have previously. In Uncharted 2 and 3, it was a pretty grounded experience. For Uncharted 4, we wanted to make sure that we elevated the action. Mysticals really helped us do that.

Uncharted 4 Will End the Story, But Not the Action

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  • There's comics? – user31178 Nov 28 '16 at 5:56
  • @CreationEdge - Yup – Valorum Nov 28 '16 at 7:32
  • This reigning policy about on-topicness should be linked here. Based on the evidence provided, I think it meets at least 2,4 & 5 and possibly 3 of the points listed. Only one criteria point is required to meet on-topicness. – user31178 Dec 3 '16 at 6:44

Probably not

Uncharted 4 has no appreciable speculative fiction content, as the plot description here would seem to indicate. There’s a lost, ruined pirate colony that probably never existed in real life, but this is mere historical conspiracy a la National Treasure, not a true alternative history.

Some previous games in the Uncharted series do have significant speculative fiction content. For example, according to the Wikipedia description of the first game:

Looking for a way out, Nate finds a letter written by Drake exposing the truth: El Dorado is protected by a curse that turned both the Spanish colonists and the German soldiers into monsters. Drake sought to destroy it, but the creatures killed him before he could, a picture reveals that Drake’s corpse was in front of the statue before it was moved by the Germans.

However, the supernatural elements of the games were gradually toned down, with the most supernatural thing in the third installation of Uncharted being a really strong drug that was once possessed by King Solomon. The fourth installment, the one in question, lacks even this minor element.

Per this consensus, if a sequel contains science fiction and fantasy content, that does not automatically make the original work on-topic. This logically extends to situations in which one work in a series is science fiction and fantasy, and others are not—as is the case with Uncharted. There having been one supernatural game in the series does not make the rest on-topic.

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  • My research suggests that this is the only game in the series without supernatural stuff. 1 out of 4. – Valorum Nov 25 '16 at 10:34
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    and I think you have the consensus wrong; that was about sequels retroactively making older works on-topic. Per our Nolanverse rule, if a work takes place in a fantasy universe but has no sf/f elements itself, it's still on topic. – KutuluMike Nov 25 '16 at 10:47
  • @KutuluMike - Gotham is also a good example. There are entire episodes where it's basically a 'police procedural', with zero fantasy content. – Valorum Nov 25 '16 at 12:25
  • @Valorum - I was under the impression that Gotham got in under a special sort of exemption. Weren't we answering questions about it back when it was nothing but a police procedural? – Adamant Nov 25 '16 at 20:44
  • @Adamant - It's set inside a world where Superman could turn up at any moment. There were enough "nods" to the DC universe to make the setting a fantasy, even if nothing fantastical actually happens. – Valorum Nov 25 '16 at 21:38
  • For clarity, has anyone here played the series and specifically the game? Or are we just going off synopses? – user31178 Dec 3 '16 at 6:36

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