Uncharted Golden Abyss did have a multiplayer mode but its card-based mechanics weren’t originally meant to be in the game. In fact, the PS Vita action-adventure was actually supposed to feature a Mafia Wars-like multiplayer experience where players would cooperate with treasure hunters from around the world to help gain funds and ranks.
The game was also meant to utilize a lot more of the PS Vita’s hardware including scanning 3D objects using the camera system in order to decipher codes, repair items and more. All of this new information arrives from a leaked presentation between Bend Studio and Sony. The presentation is the same one Bend Studio used to pitch the game to Sony back in 2009 before the company greenlit the project.
According to the documents, Bend Studio originally asked Sony for $13.5 million in order to make and develop Uncharted Golden Abyss. The game was original codenamed Uncharted NGP (Next-Gen Portable). NGP was also the codename Sony gave to the PS Vita before officially giving it one of the worst names in gaming.
The original pitch wasn’t much different from the final released game in 2012. It was always meant to be set in Central America and focus on the lost city of Quivira. It was also meant to star Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher and Victor Sullivan. However, Bend Studio did replace Elena for Marisa Chase, a new character they introduces in Uncharted Golden Abyss.
The presentation also reveals that Uncharted Golden Abyss was originally meant to retail for $32. However, Sony decided to sell it for $49 as the game’s original $32 price tag would make it difficult for the company to break even.
When it comes to the Uncharted Golden Abyss multiplayer, the whole experience was meant to be very different. The official document describes the mode as the following and included one screenshot.
Combine your skills with players around the world to discover, identify, and collect unique and rare sets of artifacts. Compete with players to become the wealthiest and most famous treasure hunter. Utilize NGP based augmented reality to interact with virtual artifacts in the real world!
All of these collectables play into the always-on game, which is all about competing with players world wide to become the wealthiest and most famous treasure hunter:
- Think Mafia Wars but set in the Uncharted universe utilizing NGP specific features for actions the player must perform to advance in the game.
- Work online with treasure hunters from around the world to gain funds and experience, while becoming a more adept treasure hunter
- Operate either as a specialized contractor or as part of a cooperative group
- Utilize the unique capabilities of the NGP to find & identify artifacts, using AR (Augmented Reality) technology to create a 3D scan of a virtual object, repair a broken vase, or decipher
an ancient scroll
- Place found artifacts on display in online public museums or private collections to increase your fame or sell them on the black market to amass your fortune
- Build your own private collection as you rise through the ranks from treasure hunter to curator of your own private museum
In the end, Bend Studio decided to go with a simpler card-based multiplayer mode. This was to align the game with the PS Vita’s social features and Near communication. It still makes us wonder what the game mode might have been like if Bend went the other route. If you missed Uncharted Golden Abyss, check out the trailer down below: