Uncharted 4 finally hits PlayStation 4 on May 10, and it’s safe to say that fans of the globetrotting, treasure hunting action series are very excited.
But what about the rest of you? There’s a chance that after three story driven games, you’ll be put off by the prospect of jumping in at number 4.
Worry not though, friends. Just for you, here’s an easy to digest article on the life and times of Nathan Drake and his chums. Catch up on the events leading up to Uncharted 4 in one toilet break – that’s the dream, right?
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
The Uncharted games centre around the adventures of one Nathan Drake, a wisecracking everyman who just happens to also hunt treasure, and shoot lots of people (seriously, he murders so many people).
Our story begins on a boat, as many great stories do, when Nathan – accompanied by spunky journalist Elena Fisher – manages to find the coffin of renowned Elizabethan explorer Sir Francis Drake, of whom Nate claims to be a distant relative.
The coffin is empty, save for Francis Drake’s old diary, and the boat is swiftly attacked by pirates. Nathan responsibly gives Elena a gun after confirming she’s never used one before and asks her to help drive the fiends off.
The pair are rescued from a watery grave by Nathan’s long time treasure hunting pal Victor Sullivan, better known as Sully.
Sully has a sweet mustache, loves cigars, and is constantly too old for this shit. He’s awesome, and probably the best character in the whole franchise.
Anyway, Nathan and Sully discover that the old diary is in fact part of a map to El Dorado, the lost city of gold. The pair shoot off, ditching Elena because she’s a filthy journo and they don’t trust her.
It soon transpires that El Dorado was in fact a statue, not a city. Thanks to an abandoned U-boat complete with a dead Nazi, Nathan discovers another clue that points to El Dorado being in South America.
Before they can leave though, Sully is shot by a criminal gang who are tailing the elderly treasure hunter. He owes ’em money, see. Sully is shot and left for dead, leaving Nate to leg it through the jungle while the bad guys now know exactly where to go. Oh, and the U-boat explodes.
As it turns out, Elena followed Nathan because she’s a filthy journo and the pair head off to South America in Sully’s plane, which eventually explodes.
After being separated, Nathan and Elena eventually reconvene and meet Eddie Raja, an annoying twat/criminal who’s working for the same guys that killed Sully. Everyone on the island is still after El Dorado, just so we’re clear.
Nathan and Elena are eventually reunited with Sully who didn’t actually die, but pretended to work for the bad guys for a bit because he’s got nads the size of ripe plums.
Their investigations take them under the island, where they discover a race of crazy cannibal mole people (who kill Raja because they’re racist) and a Nazi bunker. It all comes to a head when it turns out El Dorado actually has an “ancient curse” that turned the people of the island into said crazy mole people.
Naturally, Nathan realizes that he doesn’t want any part of that cursed shit, shoots some more people, sends the El Dorado statue to the bottom of the sea and stops the bad guys who wanted to sell the statue as a weapon to terrorists.
He and Elena then get together and presumably engage in some thoroughly vigorous treasure hunting rumpy pumpy.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
At some point between Uncharted 1 and 2, Drake and Elena broke up. Nathan decides to go after the fabled Cintimani Stone and Shangri-La with two treasure hunting mates called Chloe and Harry. His equivalent of a rebound, I guess.
While Nate is busy engaging in vigorous treasure hunting rumpy pumpy with Chloe, Harry decides to be a bit of a dick and betrays him to work with a crazy Russian warlord by the name of Zoran Lazarević.
A couple of things you need to know about Zoran – he’s a douche, and is after the treasure because he wants eternal life, power, influence, all that standard bad guy stuff.
Nathan and Chloe’s travels eventually take them to a war torn city in Nepal, where they inexplicably bump into Elena Fisher and her cameraman, who are doing a piece on the aforementioned warlord guy. You’re never entirely sure which side Chloe is on till the end, as she leaps back and forth a few times throughout the game.
Zoran the warlord eventually catches up with the crew and murders the cameraman because he’s racist. There’s some (or a lot) more shooting before Nathan ends up on what I can only describe as the longest motherfucking train in the world.
As it must, the train eventually explodes and Nathan wakes up in a peaceful village in the Himalayas where Elena also ended up because plot. Chloe (who’s also now around) Nathan, and Elena find the hidden city of Shangri-La, but not before getting the peaceful village torn apart in a fight with Zoran.
Anyhow, it turns out the Cintimani Stone is actually like, magic tree sap that makes people super strong. Despite Zoran getting there first and sampling the sappy goodness, Nathan still manages to kill him good and proper with the help of some juiced up yeti-blokes.
Nathan and his chums then escape the hidden city as it crumbles around them like old biscuits.
Despite being a much better couple, Nathan sacks fellow treasure hunter Chloe off (who was on our side all along) and gets back together with Elena, because she nearly died and that probably turns him on because he’s a madhead.
Uncharted 3 – Drake’s Deception
Now, between Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception, Nathan and Elena got married but then separated. Nathan’s on the hunt for a treasure he and Sully have been looking for since they first met – the legendary lost city, Iram of the Pillars.
Competing against team Drake this time is a shady British organisation with strong ties to the Occult. They want the treasure so they can further their mysterious influence. Their leader, a woman called Katherine Marlowe slapped Nathan when he was a kid so you know she’s a wrong’un.
In fact, it transpires that Nathan and Sully go back much further than anyone knew. The very same flashback sequence that features the evil Marlowe also shows us how Sully met a teenage Drake, and decided to take him in as a protégé. If you didn’t love Sully before, you will at this point.
Their travels take them all over the world with Chloe (remember her?) and a guy named Cutter. Eventually Sully and Nathan end up in sunny Yemen where they meet Elena, because she’s fucking everywhere.
It’s not long before both Nathan and Sully manage to get kidnapped and separated by Marlowe’s henchmen. Nathan fights his way across a series of boats, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
The boats explode one by one, and Nathan somehow manages to cling to a piece of driftwood and float back to the city where Elena is staying.
Elena reveals Sully has been pinched by the bad guys, so Nathan infiltrates the enemy plane on its way back to their evil base to rescue his old mentor.
If you can believe this, the plane explodes, leaving Nathan to wander in the desert for a few days. Because he’s a lucky prick, he comes across some old ruins and is rescued by a troop of men on horseback who seem to exist solely to stop people from finding the fabled lost city. They fail at this.
Turns out that the water in the fabled lost city was full of some kind of powerful hallucinogenic, which Marlowe would have used to manipulate her enemies and gain power.
Nathan used some more bullets to great effect and he and Sully make their escape as the city crumbles around them. No wait, that’s Uncharted 2… hang on, no, it’s this one too.
Oh, and Marlowe? She’s swallowed up by a sinkhole. Nathan tries to save her, because ignoring the fact that he has gunned down or snapped the necks of literally hundreds of men by this point, he’s still a really good guy.
Despite the pair clearly having some deeply unresolved issues, Nathan and Elena decide to give their marriage another go. Elena never took her ring off, and Sully had been carrying Nathan’s around for him, because Sully is a fucking hero.
And that, by and large, is Uncharted. All you really need to know at this point, is that there have been plenty of characters and adventures, but it always really boils down to Nathan, Elena, and Sully.
Especially Sully, because that guy is a boss.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.