Uncharted: No Racism Here, Move Along Now!

The last few weeks, if I’ve been playing any game at all, it’s been Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Yes, I play games late.

I recall that when I played the first instalment, there were no trophies on the PS3 yet; the trophies for Uncharted came out after I stopped playing, and they didn’t seem enough of an incentive to play the game again straight away.

Now, for the second part, it’s a bit different: having accumulated enough treasures/kills/weird stuff on the first playthrough, I feel tempted to finish some of those point collections to get a few trophies. So I’m playing it through again, and may possibly do so a third time.

So, you’re wondering, what has all this to do with the title?

Well, I recall that there was a lot of fuss about whether or not Uncharted — or it’s protagonist, Nathan Drake — was in fact racist. The reasoning goes that any game in which the protagonist is caucasian, and most if not all the baddies are non-caucasian, and you kill them off one by one, must have at least a hint of white supremacism waved in it’s direction.

So on my second playthrough of the sequel, I suddenly noticed how the whole sequel is pretty much set up to answer that question, once and for all, with a resounding “NO!”.

  1. Nathan’s girlfriend this time around is much less pale and blonde.
  2. The baddies are now definitely caucasian.
  3. Nathan goes native, and teams up/fights for the cause of some Nepalese villagers.
  4. The goal in the game is to prevent the main baddie from fulfilling his fantasies about making himself invincible by finding a mythical artefact, which, in itself isn’t all that much related to the whole topic…
  5. … until you, as Drake, discover that several decades earlier the Nazis tried to do the same. Now it’s essentially all about stopping some evil maniac from creating a demonic master race.

Yeah, right. Trying rather hard here, aren’t we?

Well, to be fair, if you list what’s happening in bullet points like I did above, it seems very much shoved in your face. When I played the game the first time around, I didn’t even notice — I was caught up in the story, and while I noticed all of the above, I kinda just took the whole thing as trying to recreate the Indiana Jones vibe a bit more than in the previous game.

So to give Naughty Dog credit, while you can find all these elements in the game, they’re being presented quite a bit more subtly than I just did.

I have to wonder, though, if some of that is in fact a reaction to the reception the first game got…

(Oh, incidentally, it’s totally playable. Even more fun than the first part! But at this point in time, that’ll be ancient news to most of you out there…)

  • Andy

    Well it seems that quite a few games have racist overtones. Take for instance the Grand Theft Auto series as one example. Most games have some sort of storyline that will exaggerate some sort of stereotype perceived in real life. Is this bad? Well I don’t think so but then I’m caucasian so my just suggesting this could be taken as being racist in the first place.

    Interesting paradox really.


    • http://www.unwesen.de/ unwesen

      Well, it reminds me of how Resident Evil 5 was described as racist, because all the zombies were black… but then, it was set in Africa, as far as I recall. It would make sense, then, that most if not all zombies are black.

      What’s perceived as racism might just be historically accurate, or fitting into the setting.

      Either way, all I wanted to say is that I noticed how Uncharted 2 was quite obviously trying to NOT be racist, presumably because the first part was accused of being so.