Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the first entry in the Uncharted series to be released on the PlayStation Vita being released as a launch title for the system across all regions. The game was developed by Sony's Bend studio in Bend, OR with development of the game also being overseen by series creator Naughty Dog, Inc.. Bend Game Studio worked closely with Amy Henning, the creative director at Naughty Dog to make sure that the characters and story were authentic to the Uncharted series. Much of the same motion capture and sound studios that Naughty Dog used developing its Uncharted titles was also used in the development of the game.
The game was shown off at Sony's E3 2011 Press Conference where it was shown to make use the unique Vita features such as use of the front touch panel for climbing and a feature called "Painting" where the player can draw a path for Drake to to climb with their fingers which he'll follow without any further input. They also said that they understand that forcing new control methods like this into a franchise isn't always what fans want so they're letting players use either control scheme at the same time without switching in a menu or locking a control scheme.
The story is set before Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and serves as a prequel to the entire franchise. The player once again controls Nathan Drake who goes on an adventure to uncover the 400 year old massacre of a Spanish expedition. He is caught in the midst of a rivalry between his old friend Jason Dante and Marisa Chase, the granddaughter of an archaeologist that recently disappeared. Drake works with old friend Victor Sullivan who he meets in a bar in Costa Rica and ultimately helps him escape from the Golden Abyss. The player goes through river basins undiscovered temple ruins and karst caverns in Central America, searching for the legendary lost city which eventually pushes him to the edge of the Golden Abyss.
The antagonist of Golden Abyss is Roberto Guerro, a militarist dictator of Panama. He is overthrown, requiring funds to create a new army. He resorts to drug running and smuggling, but needing more he is advised by his friend Jason Dante to find Quivera, one of seven lost cities of gold.
The story revolves for the most part around Marisa Chase, who has an amulet acquired from her deceased grandfather - also known as "the disc of gold". She remains in possession of it throughout most of the story, with Guerro and Dante seeking it to find clues to the lost city of gold.