Emily Rose, Elena's voice actor, also performed the motion capture work for the character. The dialog was recorded while the scenes were being performed. Elena was meant to act as both a sidekick and a romantic interest for the main series protagonist Nathan Drake.
Originally, Fisher was presented as a brunette with a soft face. However, close to the release of the first game, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, her chin was further defined, and her hair made blonde. When questioned about the purpose of the change response, Sony said "they just preferred her blonde." Naughty Dog further elaborated on the reasons for the change, stating that towards the end of development the team's pixel shaders improved and when they added it to Elena's blonde hair, it looked considerably better paired than it did with brown, as it was originally. They stated that the change was purely cosmetic as she remained exactly the same character except now with blonde hair and that these changes are all part of game development.
Elena Fisher is a journalist, originally out to make a name for herself through documentary work, then later news broadcasting. Regarding her career, she has been described as a "spunky and nubile camerawoman". She proves herself a resourceful and capable ally to Drake.
Elena Fisher is the "female version of Drake", as creator Amy Hennig put it; she is just as charming, intelligent and tenacious as him, and can hold her own when climbing or under fire. The two have the same sense of humour and cavalier attitude toward their opponents, but she tends to be more compassionate towards others (such as when Harry Flynn is dying). In this way, she completes Drake and acts as his emotional crutch and moral compass when Nate is at a loss. She is also slightly tomboyish, being very ready to dive head first into situations, whether it be a dirty tomb, or an ocean, just like her counterpart.
At the best of times, Elena is an upbeat, optimistic, and a cunning woman, driving Nate to keep moving forward. She'll banter and make jokes with him, which helps Nate get through his problems. When he hits rock bottom, Elena is the one to push him forward in order for him to reach his goal or to "save the world". While this attitude sometimes annoys Nate's associates, Nate takes Elena's advice to heart, and values her input above all others, always agreeing with her, as seen against Chloe in Shambhala and even Sully, when he wants to leave her again. Elena becomes a much better strategist over the course of the games, and instead of running into situations like she did in the first game, she is more prone to stand back, wait, and strike at the most opportune moment. She also helps Nate plan ways into sneaking into restricted areas and taking out opponents, seen with the Cargo Plane, even showing a higher level of intelligence in this regard compared to Nate, adding more to their combined arsenal.
She seems to display the 'White Bread, Picket Fence', image Chloe dubs her with, showing a naive idea towards morality, simple ideas on Good and Evil, wanting to settle down later in the series, and an idealistic nature. However, it's this that can sometimes be her weakest suit. In the case of Harry Flynn, she showed him compassion and offered him redemption. This peace offering unknowingly put her into harm's way once Flynn revealed his grenade, which nearly killed her when it detonated. After this experience, Elena became much more reluctant to put herself or the people she loves into danger, as shown with Nate's competition for the City of Ubar against the ruthless Katherine Marlowe and Talbot, and shows an extreme care and tenacity, again like her husband, even going so far as to go into an enemy filled Airport alone for her unofficial father-in-law.
She appears to be one of the only rivals to Nate's intelligence, mastering many languages, including Tibetan and Arabic, and working out puzzles with him, instead of relying on him like his other friends. She has a knowledge of history like Nate, being genuinely interested in it, unlike e.g. Sully, who is after the gold. She can track down Nate, actually catching up with him after he left her at a dock. Not only does she share his intelligence, but she also seems to share his charismatic edge, winning over Schafer and Tenzin in a short time, Chloe, who was originally at odds with her and eventually capturing Nate himself, he even marrying her by Uncharted 3. At the worst of times, Elena will become much more aggressive, cynical, and trigger-happy. Often her cynicism comes out when Nate has hurt her or abandoned her, and she'll openly display her anger through verbal quips or punching Nate. However, this aggression quickly absolves when he returns to her, showing she is quick to forgive the people she cares about.
Elena has proven herself to not only be a skilled fighter, managing like Nate to instinctively pick up a weapon and use it, again showing the 'female Nate', in her but she boosts Nate's personality by either cheering him up and joking with him when he's feeling low, or defending Nate and fighting alongside him. Nate becomes a better person in her presence, acting more chivalrous and heroic, and example being Nate risking his life to save Jeff, a man he barely knew. Elena has come to understand Nate better than anyone, being the only one who manages to work out Nate's true motivations for his competition with Marlowe and obsession with Drake's ring, within minutes of meeting with him again, quite unlike his other companions who kept asking Nate what he was after; Elena just knew. She will finish his sentences for him, such as at the Train Yard and even understand what he means without him actually saying anything, suggesting a bond far deeper with him than any other person; them being, in a sense, the same character.
Rose commented that Elena matured between the first game and the sequel: "In the first game, she's a lot younger, she's a lot more naive, and she looks at things as being very possible, and in the second (game), has seen murders and adventure...the way that any person grows, you see that in her. She's a little bit more hesitant, a little more cynical".
In the first game, Elena wears a dirty purple tanktop and khaki jeans, with a white tank top underneath. In the second game, she wears a number of articles of clothing, including a parka and a journalistic khaki jacket. Originally, Elena was a brunette, and Sony showed her this way in the original advertising. However, shortly before the first game's release, her hair was changed to a dirty blonde tone.
Elena's appearance varies between games, but typically she is of average height for a woman (about 5-ft, 4-in, and a head shorter than Drake), has a slim, athletic figure, blond hair (that she keeps back in a messy pony-tail bun with a few stray hairs that hang in front of her face), an angular face with grey/blue (in the first two games) or brown eyes (in the third game). She also develops a tan in the third game and her chest size has noticeably increased.
Her clothes mature over the course of the game series—in the first Uncharted she wears purple and white tank-tops, baggy cargo shorts that drop at her knees, and sneakers. By Uncharted 2, where she has become an investigative journalist, she has matured and wears white button up shirts and dark jeans, and when she's in the mountains she dons a ski/winter jacket. In the third game, her outfit color varies, but she continues to wear a button up collared shirt and khaki pants. Naughty Dog commented that they tried to make Elena look like the 'Girl-Next-Door' look, to give her that pretty, but not overly glamorous image, ready for any sort of danger she should face and they built up her original renders on this idea.
In the 2007 game Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Elena follows Drake around, videotaping his findings for her cable television show. As the game opens, she and Drake uncover the coffin of Drake's ancestor Sir Francis Drake, which Drake located from coordinates on a family heirloom ring he wears around his neck. The coffin contains Sir Francis Drake's diary, which gives the location of El Dorado. Pirates attack and destroy Drake's boat, but Drake's friend Victor Sullivan rescues the two. Once safe, Sully and Drake decide to ditch Elena and go after the treasure, though she manages to rendezvous with Drake after he discovers that El Dorado is a giant gold idol. On the way to the island, anti-aircraft fire forces Elena and Drake to bail out of the airplane and they are separated. Once they meet, they discover that Sully, who appeared to die of a gunshot wound, is alive. After discovering that the statue is cursed and he must stop Atoq Navarro from using its power, and save Elena in the process. After doing so, she, Drake, and Sully drive off in a boat loaded with several chests of treasure.
In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Drake stumbles upon Elena by accident in Nepal, where she now acts as an investigative journalist. She and a cameraman are attempting to prove that war criminal Lazarevic is alive, contrary to the beliefs of NATO. Drake is trying to stop Lazarevic from finding the entrance to Shambhala and the legendary Cintamani stone. After she, Drake and the party find a temple (which conceals the secret map to Shambala), Elena and her cameraman are ambushed, and the cameraman, Jeff, is eventually executed by Lazarevic. Elena and Drake escape, and she helps him catch Lazarevic's train. The pair find each other in a remote mountain village in Tibet, where the two meet Karl Schäfer, a German who had led a Schutzstaffel expedition to Shambhala, who he ended up killing in order to stop them from obtaining the Cintamani Stone. Drake and Elena track Lazaravic to a monastery, where they find the entrance to Shambhala. Once inside, they discover that the monsters Drake has been seeing in the area are guardians of the city. Drake and Elena are apprehended by Lazaravic but escape him when the guardians attack. After battling through several guardians and many henchmen left behind by Lazaveric, she, Nate, and Chloe spot the Tree of Life, upon at that moment Flynn confronts Drake and attempts to kill the party (and himself) with a grenade. He fails, although he severely wounds Elena (as well as lightly wounding Drake and Chloe). After leaving Elena in Chloe's care, Drake confronts Lazaravic at the Tree of Life, the sap of which comprises the Cintamani stone. Drake wounds Lazaravic, leaving the guardians to kill him, and returns to the village, where he and Elena kiss and begin a relationship.
E3 2011 trailer of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception showed Elena helping Drake and Sully again. It also revealed she's now wearing a ring on her left ring finger. During the game it is revealed that she and Drake were married, and later broke up in between the events of Uncharted 2 and 3, due to what we can only believe was to keep Elena safe. Since the events Uncharted 2, Elena has become an international news correspondent, and has been stationed in Yemen for some time. Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan discover that Sir Francis Drake made a stop in Yemen on his quest to find the Atlantis of the Sands. Since the two needed to get into Yemen quietly and without opposition, Sullivan called Elena to ask for her help, as Drake was reluctant to speak to her. When Drake and Sullivan arrive in Yemen, Elena gives them permits and talks to them happily as they exit the airport. But Drake and Elena begin to argue over their sudden arrival and over Elena's wedding band. Nate is more interested by the fact that she is still wearing her wedding ring from their estranged marriage. She claims 'it helps in this part of the world' and tells him not to flatter himself. Nate just smiles, knowing she's not being entirely honest with him. But Elena suspects that Nate is not being honest with her, and is worried about his obsession with Sir Francis Drake's expedition. She also voices her concern about Sullivan, and that Nate shouldn't make him run across the globe for him. Elena takes Drake and Sullivan on a walking tour through Yemen, with the Old Quarter as their targeted destination. In order to dodge the city's guards, the trio climb up to the roof tops. From there, Sullivan spots Talbot walking through the town. Drake pursues him, and is eventually cornered by Marlowe's guards. Once Nate defeats the guards, Elena leads Sullivan and Drake into a courtyard. Coincidentally, the courtyard contains a well that contains the coordinates to Iram. While in the catacombs, the three discover a hidden chamber with messages written on the walls, warning about the dangers of Iram and the desert. Nate deduces that these messages were written by Sir Francis Drake. Elena asks Nate to stop looking for Iram.
Elena herself makes the connection that even though Sir Francis Drake knew where Iram was, and despite his mission from the Queen, he chose to drop the search and sail home. Elena pleaded to both Sullivan and Drake that whatever treasure they found, if any, was clearly not worth it. Neither Drake nor Sullivan listened. Once the three make it out of the catacombs, Nate is drugged by Talbot, and he runs off. Nate is eventually captured by Marlowe, and Sullivan soon thereafter. During Nate's abduction, Elena organized a rescue mission in order to save Sullivan from Marlowe. Drake managed to escape his captors, and returned to Elena. Elena was overjoyed to see Nate, believing him to be dead. She runs to him and hugs him fiercely, holding him for a time. Nate says that he 'thought this was frowned upon' (physical contact in Yemen) referring to when Sully went to hug Elena when they arrived and she told him that the country frowned upon it and they shouldn't as not to attract attention. She tells him to 'shut up'. She leads him to the sofa and pulls him on to her lap. She updates him on Sullivan's situation: he, Marlowe, and her crew are in a convoy heading into the desert. Marlowe had a two-day start, so catching up to them on foot or motor vehicle would be impossible. Elena discovered that an airplane would be making a supply drop to the convoy, so she planned on sneaking onto the plane, dropping in on the convoy, and rescuing Sullivan on her own. However, she and Nate decided to save Sullivan together.
Since the plane wasn't taking off until dawn, Elena insisted Nate rest. Nate asked Elena if she planned on rescuing Sullivan by herself, to which she replied she'd do anything to save him. Nate deeply appreciated that. She started to stroke his hair while he, exhausted, tries to say he likes the way she thinks but can barely get the words out due to his fatigue. Elena simply responds, 'I know'. As he drifted off into sleep, he took Elena's left hand (the one with the wedding band on it), and apologized, with Elena simply responding 'I know' again. The next day, Nate and Elena make their way through the airstrip to the cargo plane. Eventually, they make their way to the plane. However, Nate jumps over a fence that Elena cannot pass, and refuses to help her over. Nate explains that after Elena almost died in Shambala, he could not risk it again. Elena understood, and fled the area via a nearby jeep. However, Drake was soon spotted by Marlowe's men, and the plane began to take off. Elena used the jeep to catch up to Nate, and drove him close enough to the plane for him to jump on. After Nate and Sullivan returned from Iram, they returned to the airport in Yemen. Sullivan returned Drake's wedding ring, and advised him that real "greatness" was what someone does with the hand they're dealt. He then gestured to Elena, who had arrived at the airport. Elena stated that she was sorry about Drake losing Sir Francis Drake's ring, which Drake said was "all right" because he traded it for "something better", letting her see that he was wearing his wedding ring. The three of them then depart Yemen in a seaplane similar to Sullivan's old one.
According to Game Informer, protagonist Nathan Drake is living a peaceful life in a home with Elena during the beginning events of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. It was also revealed in the full E3 demo, that Elena followed Nate to Madagascar. When Nate enters his hotel room, he finds Elena there, who is visibly upset at him for lying to her about his whereabouts.
Elena appears in the prequel comic Eye of Indra, agreeing to fund Nathan Drake's expedition to find Sir Francis Drake's coffin.
Reception to the character of Elena Fisher has been mainly positive. Blaine Kyllo of The Georgia Straight praised Rose's performance as Elena, calling it some of the best work in video gaming, while Meagan VanBurkleo of Game Informer called Elena one of her "favorite leading ladies."
Some opined that Elena is a strong, female lead uncommon to video games. Dave Meikleham of GamesRadar UK called her one of the strongest females in gaming and wrote she provides a great playoff to Drake, and a good shot to aid the players through levels. However, he also criticized her for a lack of realism, finding it hard to believe that as a reporter who had never fired a gun before could so quickly become such an accurate, fearless shot. IGN named her the fourth best video game heroine, praising Naughty Dog for creating a female protagonist equal in every way to her male counterpart: "She won't let the camera stop rolling, she won't take Drake's crap, and she's not afraid to throw a punch. When you're pinned down by enemy fire, Elena will cap the bad guys for you. When Drake's trapped in the enemy camp, Elena will rip walls down to save her friend. When you're in need of a solid, fleshed-out character, Elena's there as a prime example." Game Informer named her one of the 30 characters who defined a decade. Similarly, GamesRadar's staff placed her at number 24 in a list of the 50 best game characters of the generation, commenting "She may be a stereotypical twenty-something journalist at face value, but she's so convincingly written (and acted by Emily Rose) that she's one of the most believable and likeable characters in all of gaming."
The character has also garnered attention for her attractiveness. Bret Dawson of the Toronto Star compared Elena's appearance and mannerisms to those of Jennifer Aniston.