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Naughty Dog lead designer discusses Uncharted 3 review

"We've done even more to keep the player in control."

Naughty Dog lead game designer Richard Lemarchand has discussed Eurogamer's 8/10 Uncharted 3 review.

"The strict, linear design and tight camera management may contribute to a sense of being a semi-spectator on a fairground ride, but the benefit of this design approach is that it allows the team to focus every ohm of PlayStation processing power onto what is on screen at any one time," reviewer Simon Parkin wrote of Uncharted 3, out next week.

And in his concluding paragraph: "The execution exhibits a kind of workmanship and polish way beyond the ambition of most other developers, let alone their abilities or budgets. As an expression of all that a video game could be, however, Uncharted 3 is narrow, focused and ultimately shallow."

Lemarchand, who has read the review, told Eurogamer at the GameCity festival in Nottingham that he "agreed with some of [Simon's] points and not with others", but insisted Naughty Dog had done even more to keep players in control of central character Nathan Drake with Uncharted 3 than with previous games in the PlayStation 3 exclusive series.

"The way we design the Uncharted games is a very deliberate creative choice on our part," he said. "We've said many times in public we don't think it's the only way for video games to go. Indeed, when you look at Rockstar's games, whether it's Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption or L.A. Noire, those three games map out very distinct creative approaches to storytelling action games, which are quite distinct from what we do, but which we think are magnificent, and push forward the form in very important ways. Those games are so well crafted, and they take quite a different approach than we do.

"I don't think anyone at Naughty Dog thinks ours is the only approach. We love the diversity of approaches to storytelling in games. We're just trying to do what we've chosen to do as well as it can possibly be done. Hopefully, when people play it they'll agree we have made a leap forwards in Uncharted 3.

"I guess that's what I was a little disappointed about in Simon's review. We have done even more than we did before to keep the player in control from moment to moment, and to return control to the player really promptly whenever we possibly could. It's almost an obsession of ours. Players are going to notice it."

Lemarchand admitted that he cares about review scores "more than I should", but wished they didn't exist.

"I've said for a long time it's rather a shame we have to give video games scores in reviews," he said. "It's just part of the way things are done, isn't it?"

"On the upside, video games journalism has made great strides in the last few years towards a more mature kind of criticism that at the end of the day helps players figure out whether they as an individual are going to enjoy a game or not. That's what's most important.

"As games themselves have matured, we now see such incredible diversity in the kinds of play experiences you can have with any given game machine. Journalists are doing a good job of stepping up to bat, and rather than just running down the unique selling points of a game, really getting into the nature of the experience this game could let you as a player have. I am grateful for that. We're all doing better."

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