Lawrence Napoli On Harrison Ford playing Uncharted 3
Harrison Ford Loves Uncharted 3
By: Lawrence Napoli
Below is a recently uploaded video to YouTube in which Harrison Ford plays an Uncharted 3 demo as a promotion for a Japanese commercial. First of all, I must say what a huge endorsement this piece is to the exceptional work provided by Naughty Dog, the developers behind the Uncharted franchise. Hollywood may still be Hollywood in terms of the negative implications of that clichÃ©, but Hollywood can still generate instant credibility, boosting the obscure to recognizable and the popular to legendary. Regardless of the final sales numbers for all the AAA games that get released in a matter of weeks from now, no other game will have boasted such an iconic thumbs-up from a man that made George Lucas even more money after Star Wars and the action adventure franchise one hell of a roller coaster ride.
That being said, Harrison is still an actor and he is getting paid for being filmed while playing the game. Checking out the link for the “making of” the commercial, one can easily see that certain shots of him simply handling the controller were set up and not necessarily captured while he was playing the actual game. This is what a commercial shoot is like and when the day is over, the director probably has hours of footage on hand in order to extract mere seconds to be used in the actual TV spot. Harrison, although he is a little long in the tooth, is still a professional actor and a veteran capable of generating “authentic” emotion when required (just not on the set of Cowboys & Aliens apparently). There is no doubt in my mind that Harrison is doing a fair amount of acting for this commercial because that is his profession.
However, the cut-away close-ups to Harrison’s face seem all too familiar to me and quite honestly, they should be to all of you. Remember the first time you ever played Super Mario Bros.? Yep, that’s the same awe-stricken, deer-in-the-headlights, jaw dropping expression we all made when we were hooked by our first video game. Clearly Harrison is a noob in every sense of the term and that’s as expected, but I feel that the “commercial” does capture some genuine amazement on Harrison’s part which is no small feat considering this man’s life experiences and the fact that the game plays off of the Indiana Jones character. I can appreciate his comments which relate that which he sees and controls on the screen to that which he sees and controls on the film set. Of course, the key word Harrison uses is “cinematic” which has always been the primary strength of the Uncharted games and that which few developers are capable of incorporating into their software.
A quick look at the comment section of this YouTube video shows both lovers and haters (particularly the one that says “it won’t sell”). The fact is that anyone who has a PS3 is at the very least going to know about Uncharted 3 and give serious consideration to purchasing it. This game will not outsell Modern Warfare 3 or perhaps even Battlefield 3 because those games will exist on every platform. But when the Game of the Year awards season begins, sales numbers will only be a mundane detail. The best games deliver a truly unique, interactive experience that completely envelops the player in game play, story and escapism. It’s the kind of experience that would impress the likes of a legendary screen actor who probably hasn’t worried about the concept of money for 50 years and would therefore not “need the money” from some shameless commercial shoot he was being exploited for. I consider this moment in time when Indy has not passed the torch over to his boy Shia, but more appropriately, over to Drake and Uncharted. Now all we have to do is get Nathan Fillion back into exceptional physical condition to make the Uncharted films!