When looking at videogame footage from the past, we can always tell what’s live gameplay footage and what’s pre-rendered. Gameplay footage usually has unpredictable animations that don’t flow into each other naturally, a HUD displaying information and a set camera angle. Instantly, we can say, “Ah this is in-game action”. We can always tell that someone is behind the controller. With Uncharted 2: Among Thieves however, this line seems to be blurred. Nothing shows this off more than this new gameplay footage from PAX 09. Drake is seen scrambling for his life yet again, this time atop a high speed cargo train whilst being hunted by an attack chopper. Not only are the animations themselves smooth, but also the transitions between them. The guys over at Naughty Dog seem to know how to hide those clunky movements we see in games so much. One part in particular was very nice to see. When Drake is in cover and under fire, an aggressive enemy comes within melee range. Instead of the melee animation playing outside of the cover like in most games, Drake actually makes the smart choice and drags the enemy under the cover to take him out.
I would argue that if Naughty Dog shot this exact footage in a cinematic style, the title of this article would read “Uncharted 2 trailer smooth as” and we would be none the wiser. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is set to be released on October 13th.