According to a report on The Verge, Naughty Dog’s initial design for Uncharted hero, Nathan Drake, was in part influenced by Jackass star Johnny Knoxville and a far cry from the cheeky fortune hunter we have come to know and love today.
Early planning for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune involved a protagonist sporting a more "comically emotive face like something in a Dreamworks film," including lighter hair and an overall more cartoony aesthetic. The studio later opted for a "more traditionally handsome look."
After settling on a design for Drake, Naughty Dog went about the process of finding a voice suitable for their then-new hero. After auditioning around 20-30 actors, the studio eventually picked Nolan North, who has voiced Drake in every Uncharted game to date.
"When Nolan came in, it was fairly clear that he was going to be the one," commented Uncharted 4 writer, Josh Scheer. "He had that right kind of devil may care feel to his voice, but he could also get serious when he needed to. And most importantly, as we discovered, is that the guy was hilarious."
However, development of Drake’s Fortune wasn’t smooth running even after these vital components were in place. The Verge report uses an example of the game’s Jet Ski section, which was "designed and built in less than a month, barely enough time to make it into the final product."
In addition, Naughty Dog’s decision to transition from a cartoony adventure game to a more realistic approach allegedly didn’t set well with some members of the team, who departed as a result. Furthermore, Uncharted required so much man power that it forced the company to cancel an unannounced Jak & Daxter game for the PlayStation Portable to focus all attention on the project.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released for PS3 in fall 2007, and will form part of the upcoming Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection on PS4 early next month. The bundle remasters the first three titles in the action-adventure franchise in 1080p/60fps complete with a Photo Mode, though will not include the multiplayer features of Uncharted 2 and 3. The bundle will receive a Special Edition release and will also be packaged with the PS4 in a new hardware deal.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss is not featured in the collection, although Naughty Dog did admit that it considered the game for inclusion but decided against it due to narrative reasons. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection also gives users access to the forthcoming Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End multiplayer beta, which kicks off in December.