We consider the Uncharted franchise to be the very best of the generation. But it wouldn't be the series we know today without an outside influence.
According to what former Naughty Dog environment modeler Don Poole told Play , Uncharted was originally supposed to be a "fantasy game." Then, Sony forced them to make the debut effort "more realistic."
It seems the team had something "much more far out" planned, and that included a forest world where people lived underground. Poole said it definitely had "elements of Tolkien" but with gritty shooters like Gears of War getting so much attention, Sony wanted Naughty Dog to adapt. Said 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.
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."
Poole went on to say there was a lot of "internal grumbling" about the whole realism thing, because so many of the guys were from the Crash Bandicoot and Jak era, and they complained about the new style. "But alas, it was a losing battle." Ah, but what a way to "lose."