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UNCHARTED Interview With Joshua Williamson

Writer Joshua Williamson discusses his upcoming miniseries based on the videogame.

Comics and video games often share one very important characteristic -- both tend to have very rich and interesting stories. Yet, sometimes, after playing a game you may find that not all of the story has been told, leaving you wanting to know more about the character and his or her adventures. For those of you who are fans of Uncharted, you might appreciate the fact that DC Comics is releasing a comic book miniseries based on the popular video game franchise.

The six-issue series, which will hit comic shop shelves on today, November 30th will center around Nathan Drake, the primary character in the Uncharted video game franchise. Drake's new adventures will lead him to the "Amber Room." What is that, exactly? We caught up with the series' writer, Joshua Williamson to find out more about the miniseries and what it's like to write Nathan Drake for DC Comics. Check out the full interview below.

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Comic Vine: First things first, do you own a PS3 and have you played UNCHARTED?

Joshua Williamson: I’d hope so! Yes, I have a PS3 and probably played the games a bit too much. Before I even heard about the job, I was already a big fan of the Uncharted Franchise and knew the world’s and its characters. The Uncharted games are easily in my top 5 games of all time. Adventure stories with unique characters that search for hidden items is always a genre I love. When I was a kid I would run around my house with an Indiana Jones hat and a rope pretending it was a whip. Even movies like National Treasure hold a special place in my heart. So when I first heard of Nathan Drake and the Uncharted games I was immediately drawn in like a moth to a flame. But then I heard about the job writing the comic and knew I had to fight for it.

CV: How much of the comic is tied to the games main character, Nathan Drake?

JW: Nathan Drake is the star. It’s a glimpse at an adventure that took place in Drake’s past, before the 2nd game. The one thing we wanted to do was to tell a story that mattered. Not just a throw away tie-in, but something a fan of the games could read and get a new look at that character. In the games, you never leave Drake’s side. It’s his game, and his story, so the gamer is always seeing the quest and the world through Drake’s eyes. I wanted to do the same thing with the comic.

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CV: Drake has said that he's a direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake, and the solicit for the first issue of UNCHARTED will feature "enemies of Sir Francis Drake's past" enacting their revenge on the explorer's descendant, Nathan Drake. Will we see any flashback's in the comic featuring Sir Francis Drake? What can you tell us about Sir Francis Drake's enemies?

JW: Like I said earlier, one thing we didn’t want to do was to get too far away from Nathan Drake, so there are not too many flashbacks that don’t feature him. There are a few montage style pages where we give you looks at Sir Francis Drake’s past. My style of writing with this particular book has a bunch of quick jumps around in time, but no real flashbacks. Sir Francis Drake over the years as a world famous explorer built up a few enemies, but there was one in particular that stood out to me. Someone in the real world was betrayed by Sir Francis and would have and excellent reason for revenge. It’s an interesting story that becomes one of the mysteries of the comic how that ties back into current time and Nathan Drake.

CV: What is the "Amber Room" and why is it so special?

JW: For starters, just like all the McGuffins in the Uncharted franchise… it’s a real thing. The Amber Room was a priceless prized possession of the Russian Empire that was stolen by the Nazi’s during World War Two. It’s a complete chamber made with wall to wall amber and gold. Because of its beauty it was sometimes considered one of the “Eight Wonders of the World.” After the war was over, the Amber Room was never recovered. It’s one of those great lost mysteries that has baffled historians and treasure hunters. In our story we explain what happened to it, where it was hidden… and trying to find it will take Drake on an insane journey.

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CV: Nathan Drake has been referred to as a "wise cracking adventurer." Would you describe your characterization of Drake as "wise cracking" in your comic? What inspired your characterization of Drake and would you consider him a "likeable" character?

JW: Drake is definitely a “wise cracker.” Drake has a very distinct voice in the games, and that’s what I stuck with. One of the best parts of the job was that I got to play the game for hours and just listen to the way Drake and his supporting cast spoke to each other. It’s very quick back and forth smart ass one liners.

Most of my inspirations came from the game BUT the creator of Uncharted themselves have talked about Nathan Fillion being someone whose quick wit they modeled Drake after, so I thought about that as well. I do consider Drake to be a likeable character because at the end of the day he always does the right thing. Like all the great characters, he’s flawed, but he still has a lot of heart.

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CV: The solicit for the second issue of your miniseries implies that Drake will be meeting a "certain femme fatale." Is this a new character or someone Drake may have already met? Can we expect any sparks between Drake and this mysterious woman?

JW: It’s a character that fans of the games are already familiar with. The Uncharted comic is the story of how they first met. Drake develops a bit of an antagonistic relationship with her. She’s a smart clever bad ass woman who likes to keep the men in her life guessing. Having her in the book was something I really pushed for and was really happy that I got to not only include her, but tell the tale of their first meeting.

Honestly, I was hoping to keep it a secret until the first issue came out, but the covers have already given it away. Haha.

CV: What's the difference between writing a comic character and writing a comic book based on a video game character?

JW: When I’m writing one of my creator owned books, the voices take a bit longer to develop because they start in my head. But with characters like Drake, or say, Batman, the voices are already so strong that it’s really a matter of me being sure to pay attention.

One thing that is different is that in the games, there is a lot of motion, and back and forth, trying to copy that in the comic medium can be a challenge. So much of the games are just “running and gunning”, but with the comics you need to have emotion, and drama. I can’t get away with a whole issue of Drake just running and killing people. No mater how much I want to.

The thing about Uncharted is that game developers work extremely hard to create a game that focuses on the story as well as the action. It’s weird because this 6 issue miniseries covers about the same amount the game covers in the first 25% of gameplay, so the pacing was completely different. It’s a much shorter adventure than what the gamers might be used to, but it’s still an exciting one.

If this interview has you excited, then be sure to check out UNCHARTED #1, in stores today. The six-issue miniseries is written by Joshua Williamson and will feature the work of artists such as Adam Hughes, Sergio Sandoval and Tony Harris. Are you interested? Will you be picking up this new series?