PlayStation 3 tentpole Uncharted started out life as a fantasy adventure, according to a former Naughty Dog employee.
Speaking in an interview with NowGamer, Don Poole, who worked as an environment modeler at the studio, revealed that Sony asked for a change of direction to take advantage of the "gritty shooter" boom on the Xbox 360.
"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," he explained.
"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."
Apparently the suggestion wasn't met with universal enthusiasm from the studio's staff.
"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."
The next entry in the goblin-free franchise, Uncharted 3: Drake's Fortune, hits PlayStation 3 on 2nd November.