Uncharted Movie Vs Video Games Comparison: Every Change Explained


Uncharted made quite a few changes from the Uncharted games franchise — here’s how the movie adaptation compares. After years of being stuck in development, Uncharted, starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, was finally released in theaters. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the film adaptation lifts a few things from PlayStation games, but there are a fair amount of changes and omissions made as well.


Nathan Drake (Holland) is a New York bartender who steals from wealthy patrons. He grew up in an orphanage and hadn’t seen his older brother Sam in 15 years. Enter Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Wahlberg), who claims to have known Sam, who disappeared on a treasure hunt. Sully seeks out Nate for his skills to find the lost treasure of Magellan, which Nate only agrees to help with so that he can find his brother.

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Related: How Much Uncharted Cost To Make (& How Much For Box Office Success)

Uncharted‘s reviews weren’t glowing, as some critics argued the film isn’t very faithful to the video games it’s based on. With that in mind, here is how the movie compares to the Uncharted games and every change the film makes from the source material.


Nathan Drake’s Personality & History Is Changed

Not only is Nate Drake’s age different than in the games — he’s approximately 25 in the film, which is years younger than in the Uncharted games — but he has a different personality and backstory. In the games, Nate is self-assured to the point of being cocky, snarky, street-smart, and charismatic. However, the character is a lot more naive in the Uncharted film adaptation, relying mostly on Sully to guide him on what becomes his first real treasure hunt. This is vastly different in the games, which see Nate becoming a treasure hunter during his teenage years. He’s headstrong and driven, calling the shots a lot of the time.

Whereas the Nate in the Uncharted movie is more or less Sully’s sidekick as he learns the ropes in the world of treasure hunting. The film sees Nate as a bartender living in New York City, having only really seen the world through the eyes of his brother, who sends him postcards from various locations around the world. Ultimately, the Uncharted movie puts Nate in a position where he is something of a fish out of water rather than the person taking charge of his own fate. Nate also doesn’t know what happened to his brother Sam and finds out about his alleged death through Sully.

Nate & Sam Weren’t Separated At The Orphanage

In the Uncharted games, Nate and Sam were in an orphanage for some time, but Sam didn’t leave his younger brother behind. In fact, Sam visited Nate at the orphanage often before they both bailed on their old lives to commit to full-time treasure hunting. They sought to continue their mother’s work (she was an archeologist). It was on one of their adventures — to find an astrolabe belonging to Sir Francis Drake — that Sam was imprisoned and disappeared. He was eventually presumed dead until he reappeared years later during Uncharted 4. In the Uncharted movie, Sam left Nate (and his lighter) behind at the orphanage, promising to come back and get him, but he never did. Nate had no idea where in the world his brother could be, though he could have gone searching for him based on the postcards Sam sent him from various locations.

Related: Uncharted: Do You Need To Have Played The Games To Understand The Movie?

Uncharted Kills Off Both Of Nate Drake’s Parents

In the movie, Nate and Sam confirm both their parents died, though the nature of their deaths is unknown. In the Uncharted game franchise, however, it’s revealed that only their mother died, and their father was the one who sent them to the orphanage. Nate not having much of a father growing up explains why Nate and Sully are so close and why the older man became more than a mentor, but a father figure of sorts to the younger treasure-hunting character.

Santiago Moncada & Jo Braddock Are Not In The Games

While Nate, Sam, Sully, and Chloe are all characters who are in the game, the Uncharted movie adds in two new characters in Santiago Moncada and Jo Braddock. Santiago has an interesting connection to the mystery because his family basically funded the Spanish Inquisition, and so he thinks the gold Magellan found is rightfully his. However, his presence in the film is an example that ancient artifacts don’t belong in the possession of any one person — a lesson Sully also learns by the end.

Nate & Sully Meet Under Different Circumstances

In the Uncharted film, Sully tracks Nate down in New York because he needs help finding the lost treasure of Magellan. Sully also used to work with Nate’s brother Sam and believes the latter was sending clues to Nate in his postcards about the treasure, which is something Sully wanted. In the Uncharted games, however, Sully and Nate meet when the latter is only 15 years old (instead of 25). At the time, they’re both looking for the astrolabe allegedly belonging to Sir Francis Drake in Colombia.

Sully and Nate’s enduring friendship makes sense in the games because the pair have known each other for a long time. While Nate doesn’t immediately trust Sully in the film, meeting him when Nate’s already in his mid-20s does change the foundation of their friendship, especially since it was Sully who personally sought out the younger man for a treasure hunt. In some ways, Nate had to prove himself to Sully in the film. In the game, however, Sully already saw what Nate was capable of but still felt protective towards him, which wasn’t really the case in the Uncharted movie.

Related: Why An Uncharted Franchise Is Bad News For Indiana Jones

Sam Drake’s Story Is Changed To Connect With Sully’s

In the Uncharted movie, Sam and Sully used to work together, and the latter was allegedly there when Jo Braddock shot Sam. However, Sam and Sully don’t have a history together in the Uncharted games. It’s Sully and Nate who met first, which happened after Sam was arrested. Sully and Sam don’t really get to know each other until the latter gets out of prison and reunites with Nate. While Sully and Sam work with Nate on a treasure hunt, the two men butt heads about certain things, including Nate’s wellbeing. Meanwhile, the film adaptation of the Uncharted games hinges on Sam and Sully’s past friendship to rope Nate into the action, but it doesn’t really establish how long they may have known each other or even what their relationship looked like before things went south.

Elena Fisher Isn’t In The Uncharted Movie

Elena Fisher, a journalist who works with Nate and Sully, is not in the movie at all despite being in all four of the video games. There isn’t a single mention of her throughout the film. This is a huge change from the video games because she’s such a central character, joining Nate and Sully on their adventures and digging into historical mysteries. She and Nate eventually get married and have a daughter together, so the fact she isn’t included in the movie adaptation is strange. Her presence is sorely missed in the Uncharted film, but perhaps this oversight will be rectified if an Uncharted sequel ever gets made.

Nathan Drake Has A Far Lower Body Count In The Movie

In the Uncharted movie, Tom Holland’s Nathan Drake is seen holding a gun just once. However, the hero has a much higher body count in the Uncharted games. Drake is technically a thief and a treasure hunter, meaning he comes into contact with a lot of people who are after the same thing – or after him. In the video games, Nathan Drake is nothing short of a mass murderer. While the video games aren’t like Call of Duty when it comes to a kill count, Drake kills hundreds of people – if not thousands – when lumping the death tolls for all the Uncharted games together. There is third-person shooter gameplay in Uncharted, and Drake is often chased. However, in the movie, this is not the case, which is ultimately a better choice for the film. Uncharted couldn’t adapt the games directly, as they hinge on killing or stunning waves of enemies to beat them, and if such a high body count was incorporated into the movie, it could’ve turned into repetitive overkill.

The Uncharted Movie Swapped Climbing For Other Stunts

One of the central video game mechanics in Uncharted is climbing, but the movie swapped this out for other exciting stunts, such as getting hit by cars and vaulting over railings and banisters. While there is some climbing, such as when Nathan Drake gives a boost to other characters or jumps from ledge to ledge, the climbing aspect is severely cut down for Uncharted. The movie is packed with stunts throughout, some performed by Tom Holland himself and other more dangerous ones performed by his stunt double, Greg Townley. Some actors didn’t walk away from their stuntwork unscathed, either, as Tati Gabrielle (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) even dislocated her shoulder during her fight scene with Holland. Regardless, swapping out a monotonous activity like continuous climbing was a better choice for the movie. It gave Tom Holland time to exercise the skills he gained from his work as Spider-Man in the MCU and provided more varied action in the Uncharted movie adaptation.

Related: Which Video Game Is The Uncharted Movie Based On

What Uncharted’s Movie Gets Right From The Games

While there are plenty of changes made from the games, the Uncharted movie does get the banter between Nate and Sully right. It’s a pale imitation of how the characters are in the games, but it does exist. Crucially, the Uncharted movie nails the general spirit of the action and adventure that drives the games. Globe-trotting adventure, the artifacts that are keys to opening secret places, and the general sense of historical mystery are all present in the film. That includes the auction scene and the action, with Uncharted‘s opening sequence of Nate hanging midair and grasping onto cargo is pulled directly from the third Uncharted game. The flashback to Nate and Sam’s past is also reminiscent of the games, which provide moments from their youth in Uncharted 4. What’s more, Nate’s interactions with Chloe Frazer are also something the film gets right as their relationship is not all that different from the Uncharted games.



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