WTF?! Video games aren’t famed for their realism, especially when it comes to representing the damage done by bullets. In most titles, protagonists can soak up multiple hits before their ‘health’ finally runs out and they expire. But for Nathan Drake, star of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted games, the bullets aren’t actually hitting him.
Those who have played the games will probably imagine that as Drake comes under fire, the red that fills the edges of the screen represent his life draining away. But animator Jonathan Cooper has revealed that this actually shows Drake’s luck, not his health, running out. Once he’s taken a certain amount of near-misses in a short time, enemies finally get a clear shot at the treasure hunter and kill him.
The explanation does require the suspension of disbelief—Drake must be the luckiest person alive, or all of the bad guys in Uncharted are terrible shots—but it offers a better explanation than other action games, where characters take physical damage from bullets before slowly self-healing while not being hit.
Amy Hennig, who directed the first three Uncharted titles, confirmed the ‘luck’ design was the original intention of the games, adding that it aligned with the "spirit and tone" of the movies it was homaging, such as the Indiana Jones franchise, where the heroes survive despite being shot at by multiple enemies.
True! That was the original intention (to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging).— Amy Hennig (@amy_hennig) 8 July 2018
So, if you find yourself wondering how a video game character can seemingly take hundreds of bullets and keep on going, maybe they’re not being hit at all and are just really, really lucky.