Character Spotlight: Nathan Drake

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Name: Nathan Drake

Archetype: Rogue

Class: Saboteur

Game(s): The Uncharted Series, Sony All Stars


  • Excellent improviser
  • Skilled hand to hand combatant
  • Skilled at firearms (particularly small arms)
  • Proficient thief
  • Spontaneous
  • Risk-taker


Nathan Drake has been referred to, quite accurately, as the Indiana Jones of gaming.  In fact, developers name Indie as one of their primary inspirations and motivations for Nate!  True, he’s not a carbon copy (thief vs. archaeologist, etc.), but it’s safe to say these are two gentlemen cut from the same cloth.  That’s awesome, because they’re both really cool characters!

Nathan Drake is an adventure seeker, first and foremost.  Sure, he’s a thief to pay the bills, but despite his occasional protestations, he’s an adrenaline junkie in the extreme.  He’s spontaneous, relatively fearless, and ruthless when he has to be.  He uses his improvisational and combat skills to get by in a pinch, and always seems to have another trick up his sleeve, or another desperate back-up plan to attempt.  Let’s take a deeper look at some of his most prominent skills and character traits.

“Whatever Works” Combat

Here’s the thing with Drake’s combat.  It’s not very stylized.  Sure there’s some american boxing and wrestling influences, but he’s not particularly locked into any one style.  Even his shooting styles are pretty improvised, with some indication of training, but no clear militaristic background of any kind.   He obviously knows his way around a fist fight, or a gun fight, but it is equally obvious that these skills come from more of a “trial and error” type approach than anything else.

The fact is, Nate’s designed to be a very “average human” kind of character.  Sure he’s exceptional enough to be a protagonist in a video game, but his combat style kind of reflects real life.  Real life fights are chaotic, improvised, and very unpredictable.  You need to use whatever edge you’ve got, even if you have no formal training of any kind.  That means sticking your car keys in between your fingers like wolverine claws, grabbing a nearby stick and whacking the aggressor with is, or using environmental objects like chairs, tables, and walls to your advantage.

Remember, there is not honor among thieves, and their is no honor in street fights.  If someone is trying to do harm, you do whatever you can to prevent them.  Look at your hands, feet, and surroundings as a tool set you can use to discourage and disarm your opponent, by whatever means necessary.

Improvisation is Key

Okay, so Nate isn’t exactly a “master plan” kind of guy.  I mean, perhaps in the loosest sense, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of it, he tends to improvise, react, and stumble his way to victory.  This is both an advantage, and a disadvantage.  On the upside, it makes him adaptable, unpredictable, and keeps things interesting.  On the downside, however, it puts him in quite a few unnecessarily bad situations on a pretty regular basis.

Around here, we’re usually fans of planning things out, and building good habits, which requires something of a fixed schedule.  That said, I want you to perform an exercise this week.  Every day, do at least ONE THING that isn’t planned.  One spontaneous moment.  Break your routine up a little bit.  Also, try to make this a positive change in your life.  Don’t spontaneously decide not to exercise, and eat a donut instead.  A better example would be, maybe you were planning to hang around the house and read a book this Saturday.  Instead, once you see how gorgeous it is outside, you decide to hop on your bike and ride down to the local lake/pool, and get some swimming time in!  Bonus points for dragging someone with you.

Now of course, that’s just an example, but there’s a good net positive, spontaneous decision in action.  React to what your day presents you with, and try to turn some part of it into an adventure.  It doesn’t have to be huge!  Even small adventures (like a surprise trip to the coffee shop down the road when you find an unexpected $20 in your coat) can be fun!

Levity Under Adversity

Sometimes, life sucks.  Sometimes, you wake up to find yourself injured and hanging out the back of a train that is, itself, hanging off of a cliff.  It happens (heck, just happened to me last week).  Never mind the how or the why regarding your arrival at that point, the fact is, you’re there, and you have to deal with it.  Nate’s not the kind of person that lets adversity get to him, if he can help it, and neither should you be.  Nathan’s sometimes callous humor, even in the face of death, is a survival mechanism.

When crappy stuff happens, we need an outlet.  For some people, it’s crying, or hitting a pillow, or playing some violent video games (God of War is fantastic when I just need to ragemode at some faceless baddies for a while.)  For Nate, it’s dark and sarcastic humor.  The fact is, humor can be a great outlet for stress.  Pointing out the absurdity of certain situations is sometimes the only way to acknowledge the fact that you need to face them anyway.  Sometimes, you have to laugh, because the only alternative is to cry.

Next time you get really stressed out about something, rather than just trying to see the bright side to it, try making a joke about it.  Seriously.  You don’t necessarily have to say it out loud (at least if you’re in mixed company), but finding absurdity and levity in the face of adversity is actually a really good way to let bottled-up emotions out.  Make a bad pun, or a dumb joke, or a “your mom” style insult.  It doesn’t really matter, just try to put a humorous spin on things, even if it’s just in your own head.  Sometimes, when you can laugh at something, you win.

That’s it for today.  Sorry this is up a bit late, but it’s still before midnight everywhere west of me so I consider it still technically Wednesday.  =P  I’ll see you again on Friday, with The Nathan Drake Workout.  Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome.

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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