Naughty Dog: ‘Gritty Xbox Shooters’ Shaped Uncharted
Uncharted has become the series it is today thanks to Sony feeling pressure from the success of Xbox with its ‘gritty shooters’, an ex-Naughty Dog developer has revealed.
Talking exclusively to Play, Don Poole, former Environment Modeller at Naughty Dog, explains how Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was originally a ‘fantasy’ game until orders came from Sony to make it more ‘realistic’.
“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,” explained Poole.
“It had elements of Tolkien in for sure. 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.”
We had a lot of internal grumbling about the realist bent. More of the old dogs were from the Crash and Jak era and preferred that more whimsical style. But alas, that was a losing battle.”
For more on the secret story of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune’s development, including the content that was cut, the worries over Nathan Drake’s character and how the team celebrated, check out issue 209 of Play, available here.