Uncharted Could Have Been "Dude Raider"
It's one of the most acclaimed franchises of all time. However, had a certain Sony executive not changed his mind, we might be calling it by a different name.
According to a recent IGN interview with Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells, when the studio debuted their new PS3 project at E3 2006, it actually didn't have a title. Well, it did, but it was in dispute.
"We were all ready to go out with [Uncharted]. And then Phil Harrison caught wind of it, and he's like, 'no, we can’t name it Uncharted.' In the UK, if you have a game that's 'uncharted,' that means it didn't do well, it didn't crack the Top 10. So he said, 'no, we can't do that.'"
That's former Sony executive Phil Harrison, by the way, who is currently at Microsoft. Not long after this conflict, though, Harrison changed his mind and Uncharted was born. It's interesting to note that after Drake's Fortune turned heads during E3, people were naming the game "Dude Raider" due to its similarity to the iconic Tomb Raider series. That wasn't an unfair assessment, either.
Name? What's in a name?
Personally, I want to know what other names Sony batted around at the time. What else was on the table? In marketing, they say the name of a product is critically important for a variety of reasons; so, considering the type of game, what title would've worked? Is Uncharted indeed the best fit? It seems that way now--hindsight is 20/20, after all. I think it would've been downright hilarious to see the name "Dude Raider" on a box. But I imagine there could be some legal/licensing issues there.