Nathan Drake was originally based on... Johnny Knoxville

Yes, that Johnny Knoxville. In an interview with The Verge, ex-animator now writer at Naughty Dog Josh Scherr has talked about the original inspirations for Uncharted's Nathan Drake.

As you can see in the jaunty gif below, Naughty Dog had Drake partially based on Jackass star Knoxville with a more cartoonish face. The team eventually decided on a more traditionally handsome look for the intrepid explorer we know today.

Naughty Dog released a video last year of Project Big, it's original pitch for Uncharted, where the team showed off its thoughts for how the series should look. Amongst some impressive visuals and water effects was the idea of a character who was constantly moving and reacting to the world with context based animation. Known as 'additive animation', it was unlike anything that had ever been attempted before.

"The thing that we wanted to focus on from the get-go were characters and story," Scherr says. "That was something we felt that — particularly back in 2005, 2006 when this first started getting developed — was something that was sort of an afterthought in the majority of video games out there. So we really wanted not only to tell this pulpy, action adventure-style thing, but also really try to develop some relatable, entertaining characters and have the story be what pulled you through the game."

Just showing how big Naughty Dog was thinking, the original pitch video even contained an ambitious contextual battle system that wasn't implemented until Uncharted 3. This saw Drake fighting multiple enemies hand to hand and even stealing foes weapons and using them against them.

You can see the full interview over on The Verge. If you want a full dose of Uncharted, the Nathan Drake Collection is out next week on October 7th and you can see how it compares to the originals in this Uncharted comparison video.

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Louise Blain

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode.