Uncharted 4 on PS4 announced – trailer clues suggest pirates. Here’s what we’ve found

Naughty Dog have announced Uncharted 4 for PS4 with a teaser trailer. In typical fashion it’s loaded with clues and possible story hints. Not least of which is are the 4 marks scratched on a skull and a range of pirate references. Here’s the trailer and all the info I’ve managed to squeeze out of it.

Uncharted 4 on PS4 announced with clue filled teaser trailer

First this is the official word on the trailer from Naughty Dog’s Arne Meyer:

“We have great news for all our Uncharted fans – Amy, Justin, and the team are hard at work on an amazing new instalment of the Uncharted series to be released exclusively on the PlayStation 4 system. Our goal is to continue what we’ve done in previous console generations and once again deliver the best in storytelling, performance capture, technical innovation and graphics on the PS4. We can confirm that the voiceover is performed by Todd Stashwick and he will play a character in the game.

There isn’t much more we can say right now about The Last of Us: Left Behind and even less about our Uncharted project, but feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below. Believe me – we can’t wait to shed more light on both of these projects to our fans.”

Curiously it’s not specifically called  ’4′ although those four marks are scratched on a skull at one point. Instead it’s referred to as the ‘Uncharted project’ or, more interestingly ‘our Uncharted’ – is someone else working on one?

So what’s in the trailer? It’s seems to heavily suggest that Stashwick plays a character who has been betrayed by Drake (or believes he has been). Here’s what he said:

Some chains can never be broken
I lost 15 years. Buried alive. Erased.
You left me, rotting in that hell hole and never looked back
But you can’t out run the past. And when it catches up and all your lies collapse around you I’ll be there: sifting through the wreckage
You owe me.

My guess is, then, a job that went wrong and left one of Drake’s adventuring buddies in a prison of some kind and he’s none to happy about it now. Many of the clues in the trailer point to something in South Africa with the first location appearing called ‘c das agulhas’, or Cape Agulas(3), which is the geographic Southern most tip of Africa (despite being on the Western coast). That ties in with the more well known Cape of Good Hope(1) that’s also mentioned. Although the Cape Of Good Hope could also refer to an early colony founded in 1652.

That date’s relevant as the island near Madagascar that the map finally settles on, Île Sainte Marie, is one of the possible locations of a pirate haven known as Libertatia(4), set up by Captain James Misson around that time. It’s motto was ‘For God and liberty’ a phrase that appears on the map. Libertatia was first mentioned in a book called ‘A General History of the Pyrates’(5), a mixture of factual pirates and fictional history and events – hence the uncertainty whether the place actually existed. I’m going to say for Uncharted’s sake it did and it’s full of treasure

Anyone else getting an Assassin’s Creed 4 vibe here? There’s even a mention of Captain Kidd in the history books – he supposedly visited Libertatia to make repairs and lost half his crew because they decided to stay.

The Latin around the very Jolly Roger style skull and cross bones is ‘Hodie Mecum Eris In Paradiso’ which means ‘Today, you shall be with me in Paradise’. This is part of the last words of Christ said on the cross(7). The full list consists of seven phrases:

  • Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. (Luke 23:34)
  • Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
  • Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother. (John 19:26–27)
  • My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
  • I thirst. (John 19:28)
  • Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. (Luke 23:46)
  • It is finished. (John 19:30)

These phrases are often shortened to individual words to sum up the overall message/prayer being uttered. The shortened version are:

1. Forgiveness
2. Salvation
3. Relationship
4. Abandonment
5. Distress
6. Reunion
7. Triumph

So that would point to ‘salvation’. Is it Drake’s? Or Mr Angry voice man? It’s also worth noting that at the point Jesus says it in the bible he’s strung up between two thieves and is actually addressing one of them. Two thieves? Drake and Mr Angry?

There’s also this code:

It looks to be a pigpen cypher which traditionally uses the arrangement to the right to create a series of lines and dots to make up a code. However using this arrangement here produces, ‘ANQS QLRESES’ which, amazingly, isn’t an anagram for anything. It might be using an alternate arrangement of letters or possibly a Caesar cipher which uses a key phrase or numbered displacement to mess up the usual order of the alphabet. If anyone wants to run through all the key words in the trailer be my guest.

[Update: apparently the code translates as 'Memento Mori' suggesting a possible link to the Freemasons(8). One source is quoted, "One of the earliest stones in Trinity Church Cemetery in New York City, which opened in 1697, contains a cipher of this type which deciphers to "Remember death". (Cf. "memento mori".)" Again this ties into the late 17th century date. The pigpen cypher is also called a masonic or Freemason's cipher.]

There’s also the curious phrase, ‘Every betrayed us all’ that appears on the map. Again it could be an anagram – the odd grammar certainly suggests it could be – but I’m getting nothing.

[Update: thanks to Morphoc in the comments for pointing out that the phrase 'Every betrayed us all' could refer to Henry Every (or Avery) known as The King Of The Pirates(9) He was active around the end of the 17th century, again referencing that date mentioned earlier. He apparently used a range of aliases including Henry Bridgeman, Long Ben and The Arch Pirate. Here's where it gets interesting: part of his fame involves the fact that he was one of the few pirates to retire with all of his loot - an obvious treasure for Drake to hunt.

That's all I've found for now. Any ideas: stick them in the comments and see if we can crack this.

[Update: just remembered the pirate outfits that turned up in a The Last Of Us developer diary! They were a real thing then.]

Sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Reddit, 9, Decoding Uncharted