Here’s an eye-opening example of how one game’s release can have a huge knock-on effect on another title’s development. To set the scene, cast your mind back to November 2006, when Gears of War was released by Epic Games while Naughty Dog was hard at work on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, which came out a year later.
Both games are now regarded as classics in the somewhat crowded era of gunplay-heavy action-adventure titles that we now live in, but back in 2006, both of these projects were treading relatively fresh ground on a new generation of consoles. As we’re now learning, Gears of War‘s release had a major impact on what Naughty Dog was plotting for Uncharted.
“One of the cool things about Uncharted 1 is, we had no f***ing idea what we were doing,” former Naugty Dog developer Lucas Pope said in a new interview with Ars Technica. “Uncharted 1 was announced, and then Gears came out. And Gears invented the modern third-person shooter. Suddenly, Gears came out and showed them how to do it. So we changed everything, six months before release.”
Following the release of Gears of War, Uncharted was on the receiving end of a huge overhaul: the camera perspective, the gun-based controls, and the general movement mechanics were all rejigged to give the game a third-person feel akin to Gears of War. Before Gears inspired this revamp, it seems, you would’ve seen Uncharted adopting a framed-from-behind sort of style more like the classic Lara Croft titles.
To change all that and still end up with a cohesive game that players quickly fell in love with is no small feat whatsoever. It’s a heck of an achievement, in fact, which makes that first Uncharted game feel even more impressive. The good news for us is that we got great games out of both Gears of War and Uncharted. The rest, as they say, is history.