Uncharted 2 almost ditched Shangri-La for Thor's Hammer


When it came out in 2009, Uncharted 2 garnered universal praise. It was lauded for its massive set-pieces, great voice acting and diverse environments.

Interestingly, these environments would have been very different had the team followed through with its plans to make Uncharted 2 about Thor's Hammer instead of a fabled city set far in the Himalayan Mountains.

"We actually did concept art and went pretty deep down that road," Uncharted 4's director Neil Druckmann told techradar in an interview.

The "Thor's Hammer" concept was one of the many ideas on the table for the game before the team decided to base the game off of James Hilton's city of inner tranquility and treasure that he named Shangri-La.

"The way to do it is you bring as many of these ideas to the table as possible and ask, 'what if it was this one?'" Druckmann said. "You go down that road for awhile until you hit a wall, or lose interest, but then you look at another one and go down that road for awhile and do concept art and story exploration."

"In a different dimension that exists, you can play it."

'Not' The Last of Us

All this talk of possibilities provided a segue to discuss another rumored title that Druckmann knows something about: The Last of Us 2.

"I've mentioned in the past that we've been working on The Last of Us 2," Druckmann said. "Before Bruce [Straley] and I came on Uncharted 4 we were working on prototypes for different ideas within the universe of The Last of Us or different ideas outside of the genre, and all those things were left on hold when we came onto Uncharted 4."

On hold, maybe, but not dead completely.

"Our next focus is the single-player expansion for Uncharted 4. Then, when we have enough resources, we'll resurrect those old prototypes, see where we're at and then go from there."

Before Druckmann's statement today, the fate of The Last of Us franchise was unclear with the only hint of a future coming from voice actor Nolan North who said during a Q&A session at MetroCon that he would not be returning to work on the franchise.


Crash Bandicoot in VR (just kidding!)

When asked about the potential of turning Naughty Dog series like Uncharted, The Last of Us or Jak and Daxter into virtual reality experiences, however, Druckmann didn't divulge much information.

"I could see that happening. I just don't see that happening right now," Druckmann said. "But I'm personally very excited for VR. I'm excited to play all these games that have been announced and a few that haven't."

Unfortunately, it sounds like there's no PlayStation VR version of Crash Bandicoot in the works.

"Our next focus is supporting multiplayer and developing the single-player expansion we have planned for Uncharted 4. So that's where the resources are going to go before anything else."

Finally, we talked about the PlayStation 4.5, the first major revision of the PS4 that promises higher-fidelity games and more processing power for virtual reality - or so the rumors go.

"I don't know what to say about it. As a developer, I'm always excited about new technology – whether it's VR or this theoretical thing or PS9 – I'm going to be excited about it."

Druckmann concluded, "We're just now beginning to tap the power of the PS4 with this game. And there's still a lot more for us to do."

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.