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Did Uncharted Really Copy Tomb Raider?

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 :)

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Valenka2176d ago

While my opinion will seem biased as I am a huge Tomb Raider fan, I do need to point out some things about your blog that are just wrong, and I'll apologize for my bluntness in advance.

Saying that Uncharted didn't copy or take anything from Tomb Raider is rubbish. Uncharted took inspiration from Tomb Raider as Tomb Raider took inspiration from Indiana Jones. Your piece acknowledging that Uncharted took inspiration from Indiana Jones and denying that it took any from Tomb Raider is even more rubbish.

Uncharted probably wouldn't have existed without Tomb Raider. Why? Well naturally, if that was the case, why did Naughty Dog take so long? They, like everyone else, noticed the Tomb Raider games were in decline and strategically waited for the falling point where they could pop out and say, "Hey! Forget Lara Croft, check out Nathan Drake over here!" I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, because Uncharted did a LOT of things right, especially when compared to the last couple of Tomb Raider games. But don't sit there with your head so far up your ass and tell me Tomb Raider wasn't a factor in Uncharted's creation.

I've stopped listening to the people who've got their heads collarbone-deep in their Playstation 3 disc slots claiming that Tomb Raider is an Uncharted wannabe. It's nonsense. Like I said in my own blog, Tomb Raider has been around for years longer than Uncharted. I've also stopped listening to the people claiming Uncharted is a Tomb Raider clone. The games are VASTLY different while the theme remains the same. The THEME. That's the only similarity, really. And if I had a coconut for every time multiple games shared the same theme...well, let's just say I'd be neck deep in fruit.

Parts of your blog are proper spot on, though, and what helps is that you're a fan of both Uncharted and Tomb Raider which prevents you from being narrow-minded, praise the Lord. I remember reading what you mentioned, that the developers claimed they were going for the same cinematic styled action that made Uncharted successful, and there's nothing wrong with that. The developers are following in the footsteps of a game that did things right! People should praise that, not talk crap about it.

Although, I will admit that you might want to watch your wording--I couldn't help but get the impression that you might be an Uncharted fanboy, given the way you said certain things.

user54670072176d ago

I'm not an "Uncharted" fanboy, I like Uncharted I just think in my opinion they are two differen't games and I'm sick of them being compared to one another and the whole "who did what first" when really Uncharted looked at other types of mediafor their main inspiration, not just Tomb Raider

Just an average gamer getting sick of seeing other people getting so defensive when people say one thing, even if it's praise, about the new Tomb Raider reminding them of Uncharted and they get called for it because they are constantly reminded that "Uncharted wouldn't exsist without Tomb Raider"

pixelsword2175d ago

I gotta say if Uncharted copied Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider copied Pitfall Harry's Jungle for the Atari 2600, if you really want to get stupid with it.

The playing style and storyline are totally different betwixt Tomb Raider and Uncharted. The gunplay in TR is and fighting in TR is non-existent.

Besides, if you seen the latest TR in the Microsoft conference, TR blatantly copied Uncharted's degradable cover.

BRB: gotta watch more stuff...

lastdual2174d ago (Edited 2174d ago )

Mike, when you make a statement like this:

"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."

That type of broad generalization does sound like something a fanboy would say. "Most gamers" do not claim that Uncharted is a TR clone. They might say that Uncharted took inspiration from TR (even Naughty Dog has said that), but I hardly ever see people claiming that it's just a clone. Those that do are the minority, not the majority.

da_2pacalypse2173d ago

I don't understand what we're arguing about... Does Tomb Raider look awesome? yes. So why does it matter where they got their inspiration from? You would be lying to yourself if you said you weren't disappointed with the quality of Lara Croft games lately, it's good to see them taking a step in the right direction. I can't wait for Tomb Raider!

Laika2175d ago

I agree the theme is the main thing Uncharted borrowed from. Other than that it is its own game and calling it a clone is doing it a great dis service. Because of uncharteds success you can see an influence on this newest Tomb Raider although I wouldnt call it a clone either. The two biggest clones I have seen this gen would be Dantes Inferno and PS AllStars and Uncharted is no where in that league.

irepbtown2175d ago (Edited 2175d ago )

How can one borrow a theme?
How have Uncharted managed to borrow a theme from Tomb raider?
Did Prometheus borrow a theme from Star Trek?
No, they may be Sci-Fi but that's a genre millions of films are categorised as.

I'm an utterly confused...

Apart from that first sentence I agree with you.

Edit; I can understand if one says; Uncharted have joined the same style as Tomb raider; or something similar. Borrowing is an intriguing and confusing word to use.

WrAiTh Sp3cTr32175d ago

"that people still think that Uncharted is just a clone of Tomb Raider and Uncharted copied Tomb Raider right down to the last detail."

I've never seen anyone claim such a thing. Down to the last detail? Nope. But it's obvious that Tomb Raider influenced the Uncharted series. How could it not? The creative director for Uncharted, I can't remember her name, used to work at Crystal Dynamics. So being around, what I consider Crystal Dynamics most popular game, can do nothing but rub off on a person and inspire them.

Kaos_Vll2175d ago

it's amazing people don't know this yet claim there is no relation between the two.

Neko_Mega2175d ago

Uncharted would have came out because of Indiana Jones then and not Tomb Raider, I get what he is saying.

Tomb Raider you can fly through the game and if you are good with puzzle an go at shooting.

Uncharted you spend more time shooting people then doing puzzle, and why does it matter if it is a copy?

You have to be pretty dumb to waste time crying about something so pointless, both are great games. The only thing is that Uncharted is doing better then Tomb Raider an hopefully the new Tomb Raider will change that.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 2173d ago
Nitrowolf22176d ago

I like Uncharted and Tomb Raider. TBH I remember playing pitfall on the old console and then playing the 3D edition and it being about treasure hunting and such. Anyway, I think this genre has always existed in some form.

Uncharted borrowed from Tomb Raider, but there is nothing wrong with that because without doing so it would not be what it is.

Tomb raider reboot devs have already said that they have looked to Uncharted for ideas. To me this tells me that the only people who really care about this kind of stuff are fanboys.

Both games can be awesome and both can coexist. For me, Uncharted or Tomb Raider will never be the same no matter how much similarities they have.

user54670072176d ago (Edited 2176d ago )

Good points, very well made

"To me this tells me that the only people who really care about this kind of stuff are fanboys."

Yeah I know, I mentioned this

It seems that when this debate is brought up people turn it into a fanboy war and the argument ends up becoming a "Xbox 360 vs PS3" argument because of Uncharted being exclusivly for the PS3 and Tomb Raider being a multiplatform game. I think it's the reason you get so many "They copied Tomb Raider" arguments, not because it is but because 360 fanboys see this as a way to downplay Uncharted.

Ducky2175d ago (Edited 2175d ago )

... the reason you're getting so many 'They copied Tomb Raider' arguments is because of the new TombRaider footage.

The initial argument is actually that the new TombRaider is copying Uncharted... and the reasponse given is that it was Uncharted that copied TombRaider first.
You're overlooking the initial argument.

Kaos_Vll2175d ago (Edited 2175d ago )

@nitro and fatman
spot on! it has everything to do with everytime they show a tombraider clip some uc fanboy screams it's a clone. gamers like myself are sick of it and are just setting facts straight.
I think it has little to do with 360 vs ps3.

pixelsword2173d ago (Edited 2173d ago )

I'm sure the genre TR was in Inspired Uncharted, just like Rock 'n' Roll Racing inspired Twisted Metal, but you can't call TM a ripoff of RnRR by any means.

Everything that made TR... TR, they got from Indiana Jones in terms of it's flavor and ultimately that's where the credit should go. TR gets credit for the inspiration, of course, but I'm not comparing the acrobatic, dual-wielding, dinosaur-having gameplay TR has to UC's fighting and gunplay.

wishingW3L2175d ago (Edited 2175d ago )

Uncharted and Tomb Raider are so different that the only people that say they are similar is because they hasn't played neither. But the TB reboot, now that's a rip-off just like the Sony All-Star.

majiebeast2175d ago (Edited 2175d ago )

More like tis the other way around now Lara is taking elements from Drake with the blockbuster action and so is resident evil 6. Games borrow elements from each other thats how it works and makes better games they arent just ripoffs of each other.

user54670072175d ago

"Lara is takjing elements from Drake with the blockbuster action "

I agree but what I'm trying to say in my blog is if you say something like thsat...which is true, the MS TR demo showed this then TR "fangirls" or 360 fanboys will get all defensive and try to state Uncharted copied TR first which is simply not true.

WitWolfy2175d ago

I welcome the new TR reboot with open arms, it will def blow everybody away that wants a an Uncharted like experience.. Lets just hope its longer than 8 hours at least...

coolbeans2173d ago (Edited 2173d ago )

"More like tis the other way around now Lara is taking elements from Drake with the blockbuster action. . ."

I didn't know the Uncharted series originated the idea of blockbuster action in its entirety. You see, these are the statements that propagate the 'Dude Raider' comments. The fanboy parts of the internet have essentially fallen into an "originality ouroboros" that's only caught on like wildfire since the beginning of this gen. We're constantly devouring the landmark franchises that have come before and replacing them with new ones all for the sake of justifying a new series we've grown fond of, to the point of annoying the heck out of me.

There are two points that hit me in this somewhat-weak argument (no offense), MikeCosgrove:

1.) "Clones" in the industry don't have to copy their inspirations down to the tee in order to receive that title. You mention that Tomb Raider and Uncharted both have a different emphasis on what should take up the gamer's time, but miss one aspect: they both retain the same gameplay elements whilst falling into the adventure genre, like Indiana Jones and co. I honestly don't see how anyone can deny that ND designers may have looked to TR's varied playbook when coming up with their initial concepts.

2.) Who's to say the Tomb Raider creators weren't attempting to create a cinematic story game with PS1 hardware? I know stilted animations and other archaic stuff makes us scoff at that idea during today, but take a look back at what the introduction to 3-D gaming did for the likes of MGS and OoT. Honestly, your statement about Uncharted being the "Indiana Jones of games" comes of as if you're desperately trying shove Tomb Raider out of the fold.

In the end, I find terms like 'Dude Raider,' and certain statements relating to that, to be completely justified. Whether you agree with that or not, I'm sure everyone can come to terms with the fact that the series is more an amalgam of a handful of different series that came before it (like...90% of the games today). What I honestly can't stand is the rhetoric behind this whole clone business. It's almost as if PS3 fanboys need to falsely paint their favorite series in order to legitimize its existence (see some of the new "Uncharted clone" phrases popping up for new shooters).

andron6662175d ago

Uncharted is a combination of Tomb Raider and the GeoW cover shooting combined with cinematic flair.

I wouldn't say Uncharted copied TR, but it's clearly inspired by it. I would also say many games including the new TR are inspired by Uncharted, not surprising since it's so successful.

Saying this game is a rip of or a copy of that is usually a futile exercise. All games build on those who have come before and trends that are popular are also influential.

Also as games have evolved into genres there will be many similarities within games in the same genre anyway.

But fanboys and girls will surely not give up this idea to defend their favorite game or brand, it's just that it's pretty pointless...

NateCole2175d ago

GeoW and Uncharted came out less than a year apart. The cover system is a huge system for both games and i think they were developed independently.

Morpheuzpr2175d ago

Lets not forget about Killswitch.

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