Uncharted, Naughty Dog and Sony's sexier, more contemporary take on Romancing the Stone, was at one stage a little more Romancing the Grail/Maiden/Orcs, according to a former developer.
Speaking with NowGamer, ex-Naught Dog environment modeller Don Poole reveals "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. 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."
Believe it or not, this wasn't the only time a major Sony franchise changed tack early in the PS3's lifespan. Insomniac, the developers of gritty 1950's sci-fi series Resistance, had originally been put to work by Sony on a space opera-type game, a direct competitor to Halo. It was only during development that the game turned into what we know it as today. Which is nothing like Halo.
I often wonder what the PS3 landscape would look like had both these series stuck to their original guns. Resistance I doubt it would have made much difference, but seeing as what makes Uncharted so good is the humour and relative originality of the setting (at least in terms of the video game landscape), I'm mighty glad Sony helped influence the direction of that one.