Uncharted would have been a Hobbit-esque fantasy game if it wasn't for Xbox's gritty shooters

We all know that Naughty Dog used to make games like Crash Bandicoot and Jak %26 Daxter, but who would have thought Uncharted was originally going to continue in a similar vein? Turns out Xbox's reputation for shooters at the time has a lot to answer for, as its influence and the public's (supposed) love of all things 'gritty' turned the company's first PS3 foray into the real-world adventure we know and love today. But listen to what it almost was...

According to former Naughty Dog environment modeller, Don Poole, the game the team were working on was very different. He told Play:

"We were talking about a more 'realistic' game in terms of how it was modelled and rendered but the concepts were much more far out. One was a forest world where the antagonists lived underground. It had elements of Tolkien in for sure."

Above: What have I got in Sir Francis Drake's coffin...? STRING! Or nothing

"Sony kept pushing for a more realistic game in all respects. The market had changed a lot by then. The demographic was older and gritty shooters were really dominating. Sony wanted very much to get into that market share, it pushed all of its developers in this direction."

"So the big push from Sony, not just at Naughty Dog but at all of Sony's development companies at the time, was to craft games for PlayStation 3 that were much more realistic. The pressure from Xbox's success with gritty shooters was a very real force on our direction at that time."

Fortunately for us gamers, the team still had enough imagination left to create a magnificent action adventure full of memorable characters and moments. Consider that Killzone 2 probably stemmed from this same mentality and you can see the difference in approach. Jus' sayin, is all.

22 Sep, 2011

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine, Traxion.gg, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.