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Did You Know That Uncharted's Damage Meter Is Actually 'Luck'?

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A tweet from a Naughty Dog animator helps explain how the heck Uncharted’s Nathan Drake can survive getting shot at so much. Pointing back to a little-known design factoid reminds players that Drake isn’t a massive bullet sponge—he’s just really lucky.

Naughty Dog animator Jonathan Cooper brought up this piece of gaming trivia on Twitter yesterday. Looking at an animated gif showing Drake swinging through a hail of bullet, Cooper reiterated an obscure piece of Uncharted’s design. Whenever Drake is shot by enemies, the fading screen color isn’t meant to show damage. It’s indicating how much luck he has left.


“Sidenote I learned on joining the team: Drake doesn’t ever take bullet damage,” he said. The red UI that shows ‘hits’ is to represent his ‘luck’ running out. Eventually enemies will get a clear shot and kill him if he takes enough near-misses.”

“True!” added Amy Hennig, director of the first three Uncharted games. “That was the original intention (to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging).”


Cooper declined further comment when contacted by Kotaku but did refer to a 2007 IGN article. The article, which outlines hands on impressions before the game’s release, mentions the same luck mechanic. In other words, this has been out there for a decade now, although it’s not exactly common knowledge, given how much traction Cooper’s tweet has gotten on Reddit and other big video game forums.

Drake still appears to flinch when enemies shoot at him, although he never gets too bloodied. A luck-based UI definitely fits the game’s swashbuckling tone but asks the question: if Drake’s so lucky, how come floors keep crumbling underneath him?