Interviews// Richard Lemarchand, Lead Designer, Uncharted

Posted 7 Aug 2008 12:57 by
Richard Lemarchand
Richard Lemarchand
One of the stand-out titles from Sony's first-party PlayStation 3 (and now its PS3 budget) catalogue to date has been Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. It reminded us of a simpler time, when a hero didn't need to bend or slow-down his bullets to kill bad guys - and Harrison Ford wasn't quite so old.

Just because it's been in the world for half a year now, doesn't mean it's been forgotten by publisher Sony or developer Naughty Dog either. Sony has just released a patch to dish up Trophy support in the game. Once players have downloaded it, they'll find 48 of the achiev...whoops, trophies up for grabs, including the PS3's first platinum trophy.

At Develop down in Brighton last week, SPOnG caught up with Uncharted lead designer and Brit, Richard Lemarchand, to chat about the new features, alongside taking a wider look at life post-Drake and developing for Sony studios.

SPOnG: So, how are you finding the conference so far?

Richard Lemarchand: I'm having a great time, thanks. I sat in on a load of interesting sessions in the last few days. Got to hear Ernest Adams and Jonathan Blow (creator of Braid) speak at the education summit, and saw a ton of great stuff yesterday including Alex's (Evans, Media Molecule) talk, of course, about LittleBigPlanet. So yeah, it's brilliant!

It's my first time at Develop. I always go to GDC (Game Developer Conference) every year ? I love game development conferences ? it's so good to get the chance to talk about what I'm doing with people who have different perspectives.

SPOnG: You're based out in America?

Richard Lemarchand: That's right. Naughty Dog is based in Santa Monica, which is basically Los Angeles. I've been in California since the mid-90s and yeah, I really like it. But I come home a lot, so...

SPOnG: It's good to stick your nose back in on the British development community?

Richard Lemarchand: It's always good to come back to England. It's where my family are and I still have a tonne of friends. And a lot of my mates, of course, because I got my industry break with Microprose, in the early '90s when they were starting up as game designers ? I have a lot of good mates in game design.

It's really interesting to see what points of similarity and difference there are in the ways that we work.

SPOnG: So, I guess the big news with you guys is Trophy support. Could you explain how you've gone about it and what we can expect?

Richard Lemarchand: When we were planning the medals system for Uncharted, which of course is the accomplishments system that we put in the game, we already had in mind that eventually there would be a Trophy System for the PlayStation Network coming along.

So, we tried to choose good accomplishments so that all players will be able to get a few and then that if you focused on the game-play in a particular way you could get many more, and then if you're really good at the game you can get them all.

When we got the recommendations about the Trophy system from Sony we were really delighted by what a close match there was between the kinds of trophies that we had, the number that we had ? of medals points that we put in the game - and the number of Trophies points that we wanted to have.

The API ? the code that they gave us ? for hooking our system to the PSN system was really good, really solid. We were able to get it hooked up very quickly. Our game designers got everything through, made sure everything was working properly. They tested it, hooked the assets up in terms of the new art associated with the Trophies, and there it was!
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