“…a forest world where the antagonists lived underground. It had elements of Tolkien in for sure.”
The interview is with Don Poole, former Naughty Dog employee, and it centers around what could have been for Uncharted rather than what was. It seems that Sony pushed Naughty Dog away from their fantastical vision and towards a more gritty, realistic adventure. The reason for that? It was what was driving sales at the time.
Here’s more from Poole:
“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.”
We’re talking about the launch of the PlayStation 3, here. Sony was stocked with adventure games on the more mythical side like Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank and Crash Bandicoot. It makes sense that they’d want a more gritty, aged appeal to their first party products.
Though, honestly, I’d take a whole slew of crazy creative games over a Killzone or Resistance (as awesome as both games are) any day of the week. Granted, that’s just the type of gamer I am. I like the more whimsical, fantastic storylines. Don’t get me wrong, I love shooters too, I just have my preferences.
Poole went a little darker with the rest of his comments regarding Sony’s push, and even suggested a lot of it came from the Xbox‘s success.
“…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.”
That’s a battle I’m glad Poole and old dogs lost. I love the Crash and Jak titles, but Uncharted is one of the franchise that has helped define this generation of gaming.