Ex-Sony Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison may be working as a double-agent dismantling Microsoft’s console business from the inside these days, but he once walked the boards as a PlayStation man, taking every opportunity to share his love for rubber ducks and hastily incorporated motion sensors. That gave the executive a lot of sway among the platform holder’s first-party studios, and he nearly insisted that Nathan Drake’s escapades had another name.
“We put together this trailer for E3 to announce our game, but we didn’t have a name yet,” co-president Evan Wells remembered of the series’ infamous 2006 unveiling in an interview with IGN. “We had no idea what we were going to call it. We brainstormed a bunch of ideas. ‘Uncharted’, actually, was on the table for a while, but we went away from it.”
He continued: “Finally, for E3, we needed a name. We put the name in the trailer. It was going to be Uncharted. We made our peace with it and said, ‘Okay, this is going to be awesome.’” Unfortunately, the abovementioned eight-foot executive didn’t agree, pointing out that the title may sound bad overseas. “In the UK, if you have a game that’s ‘uncharted’, that means that it didn’t do well, it didn’t crack the Top 10,” he told the developer. We can sort of see the point.
Of course, this left Wells and crew with a bit of a dilemma – its game still didn’t have a name. “Just don’t put a name on it,” were Harrison’s words of wisdom, meaning that the trailer ended with just the Naughty Dog logo. That resulted in the title being unofficially dubbed ‘Dude Raider’ by fans. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for Harrison to warm to the original option, and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was born.
For reference, we’ve included the debut trailer below. What do you think would have been an appropriate name for the Californian company’s Indiana Jones-esque franchise? Personally, we’d have been more inclined to pick up the original at launch if it was dubbed ‘The Art of the Half-Tuck’. After all, we’ve always found Drake’s inability to dress himself properly utterly fascinating.