A Passionate IndieCade Keynote from Uncharted's Lead Designer

A couple of weeks ago at IndieCade, Naughty Dog's Richard Lemarchand, lead designer on the Uncharted series, gave the keynote address. That may seem like an odd fit for an "IndieCade" keynote—after all, video games don't get more "Big Budget" than Uncharted.

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But Lemarchand is a longtime supporter of indie games and indie developers, and that passion shows throughout his keynote, which was posted to YouTube today. He covers a wide range of topics, from his beginnings and early influences, through some of his philosophies on the way humans experience things, through the production of the Uncharted games.

He points specifically to the sequence in Uncharted 2 in which protagonist Nathan Drake makes his way through a peaceful Napalese mountain village, and why calm, character-driven moments like it help make a game more effective. Those kinds of sequences turn up more frequently in Uncharted 3, which despite its occasional lapses into spammy dickishness, has even better, more-dynamic pacing than its predecessor.

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Lemarchand's warmth and enthusiasm for games comes across time and again over the course of the talk, which clocks in at around an hour. It's great to see that the people making big-budget, AAA games can be just as passionate and thoughtful as the most scrappy garage indies.


You can contact Kirk Hamilton, the author of this post, at kirk@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

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DISCUSSION

I have nothing against the Indie scene, but the guys involved are no more passionate than the ones working for Publishers. There's no reason to think that a lead designer or any role at a huge top tier company, can't be as passionate about games as an indie developer.

To get in these roles, it takes many, many 7 day weeks, 15 hour days and a good few years. Sometimes they are working on a dream game, but sometimes they may have the design duties for some shovelware, does this make them any less passionate? No, they suck it up and deliver the best that they can. Now that's professionalism, and that's passion.

I've worked on some pretty good games, but then some that some may call shitty, definitely in part due to the social aspects that the contained. But I put every effort in the delivery and execution, and wanted to see it be the best that it could be regardless of it not being that dream game.

The indie scene is no more passionate than the guys that make Spongebob or Skyrim.