Ah, the question that has been debated so many times since Uncharted first caught our attention when Naughty Dog announced it back in E3 2006. A “Tomb Raider clone” they called it, a “rip off” they stated but it wasn’t until the game first released in 2007 that gamers finally understood just how different Uncharted was compared to the PS1 classic Tomb Raider.
Unfortunately most gamers today still feel the need to state that Uncharted copied Tomb Raider, are they right and is Uncharted just a Tomb Raider clone. You want to know what my answer is, NO, that’s right a big fat NO.
Let me explain
The reason I’ve wrote this blog is because it’s become apparent while browsing through the web, reading comments off forums and YouTube while watching the brand new Crossroads trailer, that people still think that Uncharted is just a clone of Tomb Raider and Uncharted copied Tomb Raider right down to the last detail.
As a fan of both I want to explain why I think that the Tomb Raider games was the last place Naughty Dog looked for inspiration and for that I need you to remember the cult classic Steven Spielberg film Raiders of the lost Ark which was released in 1981, it starred the brilliant, brave, heroic explorer Indiana Jones who went looking for the Ark of the Covenant. Indiana Jones is basically the Nathan Drake of films and it’s obvious that Naughty Dog would of looked here first to this genre of films as inspiration for Uncharted rather then look at something like Tomb Raider first. I mean it was their goal right, to create a cinematic story based game it makes perfect sense they would look at these sort of films first
The thing which strikes me the most about the “They copied that” argument is that Uncharteds gameplay has always been about rolling behind cover, grabbing your AK and picking off wave after wave of enemies as you try to make it to your current objective, bringing you one step closer to an artistic cinematic cut scene which will tie the story together smoothly. In Tomb Raider however there was none of that, not even in the newer ones like Legend or Underworld. When playing Tomb Raider I never once thought of it as a game where I rolled behind cover, fight off wave after wave of enemies and then watch gripping cinematic cutscenes while watching the story and characters develop deeper in front of my eyes. If anything Tomb Raider was more about its puzzle solving then fighting off a huge amount of enemies. With Tomb Raider the enemies mostly came after Lara, like a walk predator stalking it's prey for example or to put it simply they were just in her way unlike Nathan Drake however who went out looking for trouble and pissing off the wrong type of people just so he could get to the treasure first. While Lara was the think first shoot later, Nathan Drake was the total opposite and often faced the harsh consequences of his actions after, a train rolling off a cliff after blowing it to pieces while still on board, by having a shootout on a plane, watching it's self explode and then break in two or how about throwing a grenade at the bottom of a cruise liner, like that was going to work out well, you get the point
It’s a shame people these days still think of Uncharted as a clone of Tomb Raider or even think that Uncharted would have never “existed” without Tomb Raider. Platforming was the main feature of Tomb Raider and Uncharted but platforming didn’t start with Lara Croft, the genre had been around for years going back to the Mario games. It’s pretty obvious that Uncharted or a game like Uncharted would have found its way into development with the right studio without the help of Lara Croft.
With this long debate I feel like it’s more to do because the two main characters are treasure hunters and because of the platforming genre even though the two games have many other features which would separate them by a lot, but most gamers ignore them and go straight to the obvious, "bu bu but there both treasure hunters".
If theres anything Uncharted has told us it's the fact that Uncharted is the game Tomb Raider should have evolved into back when Tomb Raider Legends came out but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
It’s obvious now that the developers of the brand new Tomb Raider which is ready to hit our stores next year would look to a game like Uncharted as inspiration. Do I think that Uncharted didn’t take any inspiration from Tomb Raider at all, of course not, it was obviously a game Naughty Dog looked into at some point but because they had already done platform games I highly doubt it would of been their main source of inspiration and the game would of been made with or without Tomb Raider. As I’ve said previously in this discussion I think that Naughty Dog looked more into films then games because of the cinematic story telling the Uncharted games presents us with.
If you take a stroll around the web these are some of the comments I’m referring to
"If it wasn't for Tomb Raider, Uncharted would have never existed"
"Uncharted pretty much owes everything to Tomb Raider"
"Uncharted" WAYYYYY before Uncharted was even thought of. There are some stupidly ignorant people in this forum..."
"Anyone who calls themselves a gamer and denies an ounce of influence of Tomb Raider in Uncharted is lying themselves"
"Looks like Tomb Raider copied from a game that copied from Tomb Raider"
"Narrative had been a focus on Tomb Raider since before Uncharted existed, action, set pieces even cinematic storytelling" (LOL I know)
This in my opinion seems a bit “fan-girlish”. These types of comments and thinking probably has more to do with nostalgia if anything else but not by logical thinking. Just straight to the "Tomb Raider did it first because there kind of similar"
Although there is another side of this whole thing which interests me the most
If you look closely at the way some of these comments are said you might start to see that most of them are said because of Tomb Raider being a multiplatform game now and the fact Microsoft dosen't have a game to rival Uncharted this gen. What I'm trying to say is most of the time this debate seems to be leaning more towards a fan boy "Xbox 360 vs. PS3" debate rather than the current debate we are already talking about.
In conclusion I would like to say I have high hopes for the new Tomb Raider and I hope the game does well as it's shaping up to be an excelent game, especialy untill Uncharted 4 comes out next gen. I do hope though in the future people will think about this debate logically then just basing their opinions off the obvious, nostalgia or other peoples opinions when thinking that Uncharted is just some clone of Tomb Raider.
I just like to point out that this is just my opinion; you will probably have yours which you'll share in the comments below :)