Charted: Unearthed Announced

By Quintin Smith on June 27th, 2011 at 10:23 am.

He's either a rougher Drake or an effeminate Alpha Protocol character, I'm not sure

The critically acclaimed Uncharted games may have never made it to our fair platform, but I have some good news! Saudi Arabian studio Semphore has just announced Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta (following modern trends, I can only hope the sequel will be Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Ba2ta), a 3rd person action game that sees you picking up the trail of famous Muslim explorer Hajji Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta. Debut trailer and in-game footage await you in the dusty crypts below.

Alright, so the game doesn’t look like much cop. But Hajji Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta sounds like a pretty cool guy. Come to think of it, where are the games that are just about travelling? Just trekking from A to B? I wonder.

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69 Comments »

  1. Hoaxfish says:

    where are the games that are just about travelling?

    I think Journey might be about that… but it’s PS3 only.

    Exploring/Travelling is woefully unexplored (which is ironic)

    • Gnoupi says:

      Thatgamecompany annoys me.
      They make fresh, pleasant games, but only for PS3.

      They started on pc with Cloud, and Flow (flash), they left without looking back and went on making Flower and now Journey, for the PS3.

      I mean come on, PC should be the default platform for this kind of “out of the ordinary” games :-]
      (Or at least PORT them)

    • kor says:

      ” “Flower” was our second project in a 3-game deal with PlayStation, so unfortunately you won’t be seeing it on any other platforms in the foreseeable future. ”
      http://thatgamecompany.com/games/flower/
      Journey being the third. I too would like to see them on PC.
      Guess we wait.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Thanks for clearing that up, maybe indeed we have a chance to see the next one.

      I see in their FAQ the bigger explanation:

      “Journey” is our third project in a 3-game deal with PlayStation, so unfortunately you won’t be seeing it on any other platforms in the foreseeable future. When we were poor kids out of college, Sony offered to fund three games from us, which was a dream come true. There’s no way we could have made “flOw” or “Flower” or “Journey”. The catch is – they are all exclusive to the PS3.

    • Roarster says:

      Pretty sure they’re PS3 only ’cause Sony are funding them. It’s a shame because I’d rather play their games on the PC (and I’m sure they’d look amazing) but it seems unlikely any other publisher would give them the time or money to make unusual games like this. Could you imagine them pitching a game where you play as the wind opening flowers and collecting petals to the suits at Activision?

    • FakeAssName says:

      Flight Simulator.

      what, he asked …

  2. Terr says:

    You gotta be effin kidding me!

  3. Roaring Panda says:

    Hajji Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta is my favourite explorer, and was my first word.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      He is also one of the only sources on the intricacies of Viking funeral ceremonies, strangely enough.

    • kikito says:

      No, that was Ahmad ibn Fadlān ibn al-Abbās ibn Rāšid ibn Hammād.

      I can’t believe you made such an obvious mistake.

    • Njordsk says:

      Yes, ibn fadlan.

      In french we have a book called (translated) : Trip the volga’s bulgarian.

      Don’t know the name in english

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      I love you guys for this, I was cackling so hard water came out of my eyes!

    • passingstranger says:

      I think it’s pretty fair to argue that any modern male video game protagonist is just a rough copy of HAAMIB, to be honest. I may step on a few toes with that, but I stand by it.

  4. johnpeat says:

    This might be a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing, but “Haji” or “Hajji” is an honorific title (not always used in a good way) to indicate a person who has made their pilgramage to Mecca…

    It’s not his name anymore than Lara Croft is “Ms Lara Croft”

    Ibn is ‘son of’ so unless he has 2 fathers (not as likely as several mothers, really) your sequel is unlikely :)

  5. Premium User Badge MonkeyMonster says:

    Wow, 1:51 demonstrates something interesting going on with the engine – that ankle looks badly broken to me… Interesting shooting accuracies too. Yikes at the “fix the fountain” mission.

  6. StickyNavels says:

    It’s impressive for what it is: a game developed by a small team on the Unity platform.

    Also echoing the longing for more exploration/journey-based games.

    • kikito says:

      Didn’t Unity have a “realistic walking” plugin? It seems these guys didn’t see it.

    • Sunjammer says:

      Not one that looked any better than this.

  7. Freud says:

    Tomb Raider had dogs as enemies. I bet this one has infidel pigs as enemies.

    • Antsy says:

      Or female drivers.

    • Rii says:

      Yeah, I can see this thread going places.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Steady, lads.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      Alcoholics?

    • johnpeat says:

      I’m disappointed, the last thread (not here) I read which digressed to Saudi Arabia contained the greatest reply the Internet has ever seen.

      The thread was discussing fuel prices and someone has posted that they lived in Saudi where fuel was 6p a gallon so “did they win?”

      The reply which I almost printed and framed was

      “On fuel prices, almost certainly but on every other significant measure of the advancement of humanity and civilisation you lose, so…”

    • Headless Monkey Boy says:

      nah, it’ll be amorphus black smokey blobby things (as enemies)…. they’re not people so thats not racist ….
      I mean black people are people obviously, i wasn’t refering to them in any kind of derogotory manner, even though i recognise that some black people may have been described as being smokey and or blobby, as could any certain man/woman of white, red, green, brown, yellow, pink, blue (especially blobby after a month in the cellar) and in rare cases silver toning.
      i was not refering to them (and would never discriminate a persons physical appearence and or lifestyle. I fully realise that the Jamaican people/faith come from all walks of life styles, backgounds and i imagine many don’t even smoke and i would never stereotype).
      When i said “amorphus black smokey blobby things” i just meant the video game trope…… not the semi-racist/patronising token ethnic minority/majority trope… that ones cool er or not….. bugger….

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Guys, it’s forbidden in Islam to depict living things, and these guys did just that in three dimensions and animated them to top it off. With your line of logic, the devs themselves would be the perfect enemies.

    • Ayam says:

      The vitriol in some of these ‘humorous posts’ is quite blatant.

  8. Zarx says:

    that looks… poor
    maybe deploying on 6.5 platforms on your first game isn’t that great an idea, a bit more polish and it could be an interesting budget title, animation especially needs work.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      Yeah, is alpha footage, but still. Looks like a Kalypso product.

  9. Srekel says:

    I played through the first Uncharted, having heard that it was supposedly really awesome. It was actually quite bad.

    • Azradesh says:

      I can’t imagine why you would think that.

    • JackShandy says:

      Try the second one, it’s incredible.

    • Antsy says:

      I thought the first one was great but the second was magnificent.

    • suibhne says:

      If he didn’t like the first one, he won’t like the second one, chiefly because he’s incapable of joy.

    • TSA says:

      For me, both Uncharteds were fun enough. But to enjoy them, it was necessary to expend huge amounts of mental energy ignoring specific elements, most prominently the killing of thousands of dudes. Don’t get me wrong, I like me a shooty game, but for Uncharted the tone was simply wrong for all the killing. “Cheeky wisecracking anti hero” clashes badly with “guy killing thousands of people to get to the treasure”. To the extent that any interpersonal / romantic subplot seems completely bizarre. To me, anyway.

      You couldn’t do Romancing the Stone or Night at the Museum with a mass murdering central character. Even ol’ Indy seems to use violence with regret, and then only in situations where the stakes are higher (Nazis / Russkies getting hands on ultimate weapon). On top of that, the tone of the violence is action-comedy, not gore or sadism. To me, “burst of AK-47 fire to the face” is less comedic.

    • Rath says:

      I can’t disagree in any way with Claudia Black appearing in games. Roll on number three.

    • Olivaw says:

      I’ve never understood the complaints about Nathan Drake killing tons of dudes. It’s a twenty hour video game as opposed to a two hour movie, and Indiana Jones killed tons of people, and he didn’t have any regrets about it! What are you talking about? Indy killed men and then immediately continued on his adventures, but he only killed men when his life or others’ lives were at stake, much like Nathan Drake does.

      Also Uncharted 1 is a bad game, but Uncharted 2 is completely amazing.

    • TSA says:

      @Oliwav I’ll try and explain. Bear in mind that my criticism is only that all the killing feels iffy *to me*, from a story perspective, but that I enjoy it for what it is from a gameplay angle.

      The differences I see to Indy are a few. Drake is motivated by greed and not any pretense of scholarly ambition, and at a few points in both games he could have simply walked away with no real consequence. With Indy, we have the prospect of Nazi or Soviet world domination to worry about, with Drake it’s more muddled. Sure, a nearly invincible “Serbian war criminal” sounds scary, but in the end he wasn’t any more powerful than a petty thief could bring him down with conventional weapons.

      What it all felt like, to me, while playing the game, was that I was supposed to help this guy steal something valuable but otherwise unimportant, and do it at the cost of hundred of people’s lives. Sure, they’re “bad guys”, but it just seems senseless that a character they’re playing up for boyish likability would choose such a path. It’s psychopathic, not to mention monumentally stupid of him given the potential reward, and it renders his already clichéed relationships to the other characters very unbelievable and unengaging.

      Then there’s the action itself. With Indy, they go for over-the-top matinée fisticuffs that are more often than not played for laughs. There’s a bit of gruesome action in there, but – and here’s a lesson – those are mostly used to demonstrate how evil the villain is, or are down to hubris on the brown shirts’ part.

      In Uncharted, they go the urban warfare route. The number of shotgun blasts to the face fit the tone really badly. On top of that, the animation is so well done that it’s natural to have fun with the hit-locations in a way that totally belies the self-defense argument. This guy is very much in control of exactly who he shoots and exactly where he shoots them, as typically played.

      That’s my biggest critique of the game – that the action, what you actually do in the game, is disconnected from the story, the characters, and any sort of common sense. Seen in those contexts, the action is both unbelievable (within the fiction) and morally reprehensible. We’re meant to ignore and not question Drake’s in-game actions and just accept that when the time comes to advance the story, the parameters are different. We’re presented with hundreds of easily avoidable murders enacted in gameplay, and not once are they even mentioned by the characters during the “story” part. The net effect is a game with a deeply split personality that has the main character alternate between bumbling wise-cracking Ben Stiller sort of guy and a one-man killing machine. All in all, an already uninteresting story suffers badly from an advanced case of disconnected-cutscene-syndrome.

      Oh, and Nathan Drake is sort of a twat, all considered.

  10. Premium User Badge Tunips says:

    I like the idea of a game powered by semaphore.
    I also enjoyed the Travels with a Tangerine show that was on a while back about this Battuta fellow.
    An RPG/Adventure/Survival game based on his travels would be pretty neat. This, maybe not.

  11. coldvvvave says:

    Frankly, I disliked Uncharterd 2, so not even looking for Uncharted 3.

  12. Binman88 says:

    Hajji Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta sounds like a pretty cool guy.

    eh explores ancient ruins and doesnt afraid of anything

  13. RenegadeRed says:

    What? This is not Uncharted, this is a totally different third person Indiana Jones simulator called Unearthed. I don’t even see how it’s possible to mix these two up.

  14. Ridnarhtim says:

    No Drake, no sell. Also, that is one of the worst trailers I have ever seen.

  15. Makariel says:

    His arch-enemy is probably some heretic named Clara Loft.

    • Antsy says:

      Clara Loft! Made me laugh.

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      She showed her face (and a not inconsiderable amount of cleavage). Now Ibn Battuta must find the Holy Stone of Throwing in the Secret Temple of Hidden Traps, so that he may kill her with it.

    • Unaco says:

      Yeah guys… Because the game is from a Middle Eastern developer it must be Islamic in every conceivable way, right? And because of that it must be ridiculed for the worst parts of that Religion. Just like you guys must ridicule every Western Game for the failings of Christianity, right? You do do that don’t you?

      Or… the game might have absolutely no overt Religious messages, and could just be an interesting way to explore the history of the region and some of the characters (like Ibn Battuta).

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      I apologise. I will never make a joke again.

      And fyi, I have no problem making fun of Christianity either.

    • Makariel says:

      @Unaco:
      Why should religion have some special privilege that protects it from jokes? Am I allowed to make jokes about life, death, white trash, fratboys, marriage, hackers, Polish immigrants, gigolos, fast food, men women and pretty much everything else, but not about Religion?

    • Unaco says:

      @makariel…

      Jokes about Religions are cool, I guess, but they aren’t the point of my comment.

      What I am trying to say is, just because a game is made by a Middle Eastern Developer, does not mean that it is an Islamic game, and that it should be ridiculed for the worst parts of the Islamic Religion. That would be like picking a Western game, any Western game, and ridiculing it because of Christianity or Catholicism.

      For example… “Hah… in BF3 will we be shooting ‘homosexuals’, cos they’re not Christian are they?”

      I am not making a comment about Religious jokes (they are a different matter), but I am commenting about assuming this game is Islamic/Muslim because it’s made by a Middle Eastern Studio, who, for all we know, could be totally secular.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      How is ridiculing the devs’ religion topical here? It’s like hearing a piece of random American news and then flooding the comment section with fat jokes.

  16. RegisteredUser says:

    Not drake nor AP char.

    He is clearly B.J. Blazkowicz.
    I supply proof:
    http://casualcoregaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/wolfenstein-3d.jpg

    So I guess this is what 20+ years of creative cover art have managed to come up with, huh.
    INNOVATION! PURE INNOVATION!

  17. pauleyc says:

    Reminds me of the Alpha Protocol Saudi levels, without that winning Lumberjack look.

  18. Khemm says:

    Considering how successful both critically and commercially Uncharted is – and previously TR was, I’m seriously wondering why there are only these two series – Tomb Raider and Uncharted – which revolve around globetrotting, treasure hunting and adventuring.
    Seriously, you’d think companies like Ubisoft, LucasArts (INDIANA JONES says hello) or EA would at least try to get hold of a slice of the pie.
    Come to think of it – DICE, do it. Build it using the Frostbite 2 engine. You made a first person platformer – Mirror’s Edge, you’ve shown you have the talent to make a third person action/puzzle game in the vein of Uncharted on PC. *Drools*

  19. MrTambourineMan says:

    Unity engine isn’t really suited for this kind of games truth be told.

  20. Premium User Badge BathroomCitizen says:

    Do you know that “Battuta” in italian means “one-liner”, as in “joke”?
    Just saying…

  21. Antsy says:

    To be honest if this was a game about the actual guys travels, or at least based around them, I’d be pretty interested.

  22. neolith says:

    How come there are all those fires in an old abandoned temple?

  23. Alextended says:

    So, seriously, as someone who hasn’t played Uncharted, but from the various media didn’t think it looked particularly original (third person cover based shooter with some stealth and tomb raiding thrown in?), why exactly is this called a clone of it and not, well, a third person cover based shooter with some tomb raiding thrown in? By tomb raiding I mean the style of game, not actual tomb raiding, though that probably happens too given the themes. Having three friendly characters, a young man, young woman (romance potential, ho!) and older wiser guy to aid them, is hardly an intended Uncharted copycat move, it’s quite the cliche in many stories.

    What makes this *too* similar? I just don’t see it.

    And what’s with all the bashing? Clearly it’s waaaay too early for an actual release given some of the glaring issues that show it’s still very much in testing outside some seemingly finished environments and other art assets, but I think it shows promise, as a downloadable title at least, if they get to actually finish it and polish it up enough to be more presentable. Clearly I wouldn’t give it a second look if it released with those animations and wonky shooting but I imagine they hope and intend to fix all that up so they hopefully will do that. Have you guys never seen early or testing versions of any video games before? That some are sold at an “alpha” or “beta” or whatever state and are actually pretty good doesn’t mean that there are no other, earlier, messier states that they all go through before they’re good enough to sell.

    • Urthman says:

      Both games start with the letter ‘U’. It doesn’t get more derivative than that!

  24. deadpan says:

    I’m still waiting on someone to reverse the formula and have an Arab or Chinese treasure hunter searching through Iron Age Cornish tombs and mowing down hoards of English mercenaries, while being constantly taunted by a crude American stereotype villain.

  25. Inglourious Badger says:

    Now we just need someone to make Bed Head Redemption and we won’t need consoles at all anymore

  26. Jad says:

    Come to think of it, where are the games that are just about travelling? Just trekking from A to B?

    I skipped the races in Fuel and turned it into a relaxing post-apocalyptic road trip game.

  27. Gabbo says:

    I really don’t care about how much this may or may not rip off others games, I’m willing to give it a shot. Much like Garshasp earlier in the year, I’m paying attention simply to support and encourage more game design in places in regions where it’s more or less in its infancy, especially if they support the PC from the get go.

    I’ve seen fuck ups worse than the ankle break in triple A titles released by major studios, so I’m rather willing to forgive this game if the final product is half-way decent.