A door opens. In the distance, a ruined fortress looms. Your job is to search it for treasure. After a bumpy jeep ride over dusty tracks and through muddy river banks, you're there.

There's one problem. The ruins are guarded by fellow treasure hunters. They have automatic weapons. They don't like you. In fact, every single one of them wants you dead.

This is one treasure hunt that has suddenly got real.

For anyone who's played an Uncharted game - from 2007's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune through to last year's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End - the concept will sound familiar.


Walk. Run. Swim. Explore. Fight. Climb mountains. Solve puzzles. Search ruins. Take out armed villains by rope-swinging over ravines and blowing up hidden gas tanks. Grab your loot. Deliver some one-liners. Escape in a jeep.

Then head to the next ancient and do it all again.

It's been a winning formula for Naughty Dog's incredibly popular franchise for 10 years now, taking out industry awards and topping sales charts and game-of-the-year lists with each release.

But for next week's The Lost Legacy, there's a very big difference - one that indicates a key change in the minds of game developers, according to one industry commentator.

Nathan Drake, the wise-cracking hero of the first four Uncharted instalments and potential star of a rumoured movie starring Tom Holland, is gone.

"Hey, just so you know, Nathan Drake is no longer in the picture," declares one of the Lost Legacy's main characters during in a one-hour preview played by TimeOut.

Instead, he's been replaced by Chloe Frazer, an Indian-Australian treasure hunter who has appeared in the last three games, but only in supporting roles.

But Naughty Dog hasn't stopped there. She's teaming up with a sidekick, Nadine Ross, Uncharted 4's antagonist and mercenary, Nadine Ross.

Their fractious relationship is based around one combined goal, to find an ancient artefact ahead of a warlord called Asav. They're often at odds about how to go about their mission, something that drives much of the game's narrative.

But there's something bigger at play in The Lost Legacy. Two female leads, and no Nathan Drake.

So why the big change?

"We always get requests to see more of Chloe," admits Scott Lowe, Naughty Dog's senior communication manager.

"She's a fan favourite. Even internally she's one of our favourite characters because she's so fun to interact with and to play as."

Lowe says Chloe's story came first, not the idea to use her and Nadine to replace Drake.

But he says the entire Naughty Dog team was behind the change.

"We thought there was a lot more to her story that we wanted to tell," he says. "It's a great convenience that we have two incredibly strong women leading the game."

For gamer and commentator Siobhan Keogh, that change signals a key revolution happening in the video game industry.

Yes, video games are getting woke. With the likes of this year's breakout hit Horizon Zero Dawn being led by a female warrior, as well as an increase in diversity in games that ask players to design their own characters, designers finally seem to be realising that the more diverse their game is, the bigger the potential market.

Keogh's not surprised that Naughty Dog is leading the charge.

"Naughty Dog has always put a lot of time and effort into (female) side characters," she says. "The Last of Us (another hit Naughty Dog title) already had a playable female lead."

Keogh says this year has been especially positive, especially after a pretty poor effort in 2016.

"Horizon Zero Dawn? I was all over that. I love being able to see part of myself in a game, if that's in the main character or someone else. But it set a precedent that you can do this successfully."

The Lost Legacy seems set to continue that trend. Siena Yates, a TimeOut writer and passionate gamer, says she's far more likely to play The Lost Legacy thanks to its female-first focus.

"I'm always about a female protagonist," she says. "But it depends on what it is. If it's a game in which your character is consistently treated like s***, then maybe not.

"If she gets to be a badass, I'm definitely in."

Lowe says there'll be plenty of those moments. "Chloe has some parallels to Nathan. She's this wisecracking, improvisational character. There's that core DNA there, but Chloe really makes this game her own. She defines and influences so much about it. When you play it ... you'll feel that at every level."

It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Lost Legacy was first planned as a sidenote to Uncharted 4, a smaller campaign expected to take a couple of hours.

But Chloe quickly took on a starring role

"It quickly became clear ... we needed to make a full Uncharted game," says Lowe.

Besides, says Lowe, as long as you get to kick serious butt, scour sweet ruins for lout, and be a hero, who really cares what sex you are?

"The grand scale of adventure, the really captivating characters, those are the things that really define Uncharted.

"We feel like we still have accomplished that in this game despite the absence of Nathan Drake."

What: Uncharted's all-female reboot, The Lost Legacy
When and where: Available from August 23 on Playstation 4
For fans of: Uncharted, The Last of Us, Far Cry