Nolan North talks games, Uncharted movie and the series shrinking jeep

There are only two things you can be certain of in life: game delays and that Nolan North is lovely (or something like that). Sony held a community event last night where fans could meet the voice of Nathan Drake and ask few questions with predictably entertaining results.

The full Q&A lasted about 25 minutes and covered everything from Nolan’s break into games, which is his favourite Uncharted (number two to play and three to make), the movie, and the bizarre story of the series’ incredible shrinking jeep.

Here’s a video of the highlights from the session and I’ve pulled out some of the best quotes if you want to skip to the good bits. Watch the whole video though as there’s some good stuff in there. Nolan talking about recording addition grunts and groans at the end is great, as is a quick run through some of the many voices he does.

Here, Nolan talks about how he first got into games, and how that eventually led to Uncharted:

“My first game was with Sony. It was called NBA The Life. If you remember the film Jerry Maguire? I played kind of a sports agent. So many actors at the time said you don’t want to do video games. The Actor’s Union didn’t cover it. You wanted to do cartoons, you wanted to do animation because it had residual income. They thought I was crazy to drive to San Diego and put on this ridiculous suit and run around for not much money. But, talking to the guys who created it, they kept saying ‘this is going to be big’, so I tried to do as much as I could. So by the time it evolved and Uncharted came along, and the agencies started getting flooded with enquiries like ‘do you have any clients with experience of motion capture?’… That’s how I got my meeting and years of ‘Oh crap’ started from there on.”

This is how he felt about getting the Uncharted job and why a shrinking jeep marked each game’s progress:

I’d love to tell you it was ‘Yes! Here it is, it’s a break!”. I had no idea it was a game, that’s the truth. The first audition was like ‘this is kind of cool. Going to do a bit of motion capture, I’ve done that before’. That game obviously wasn’t a huge hit, didn’t really think much about it but there was a sense about it that this was going to be something different because the evolution of the game from the first time we did it to the end was remarkable.

It was simple things. In the first Uncharted, Eddy Raja, me and him in that jeep? They brought in a jeep. I think they rented it for like $700 dollars for the day. It was an old World War 2 jeep, full of rat poop and it stunk. I had to dive into it and I banged my knee but, whatever, it’s fun but it hurts.

Then Uncharted 2 comes along. Same jeep but now it’s boxes and crates and a PVC steering wheel because they’ve realised we don’t need a real jeep, we don’t have to spend that kind of money to build a jeep. So now we’ll build it out of blocks and it will look like a jeep, and you can jump in and drive it.

Uncharted 3? Okay, we need two chairs and something to hold.

On some people’s criticism of Nate’s ever expanding body count:

“He never starts the fight. I know there’s people out there, ‘he’s killed thousands!’. Well, it’s still a game so lets calm down.”

And finally, on anyone else ever playing Nathan Drake?

“Well, they’re going to try with the movie! I tell everybody, by the time that comes out I’ll be Victor Sullivan.”

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