One of the unique aspects of the Naughty Dog team, Richard explained, is the team's autonomous freedom. With every member of the team able to contribute to the game's design, it becomes a much more iterative process.
It's obvious that the game took very strong inspiration from the "spaghetti" genre of action stories. Here are some specific stories the team took note of during the production of the game.
The game didn't always have over-the-shoulder aiming. In fact, the game was much more like Tomb Raider in its early days, with lock-on aiming. That proved problematic, however, and the team needed to work on a new solution.
"Aiming was harder than we'd thought it would be," Richard admits. In fact, our first play test at E3 reaffirms the trouble Naughty Dog had fine-tuning the controls: "combat proved to be difficult, due to its rather cumbersome controls, and buggy performance."
Interestingly, the main character of Nathan Drake was based off of Johnny Knoxville. (Seriously, the Jackass guy?) Honestly, he looks more like Naughty Dog's Jason Rubin, if you ask us.
Here's the cast of the game. Remember, these aren't just voice actors. They actually physically performed the roles as well.
A scary, but funny image of the graphics engine glitching during the production process.
Finally, here's an early production video meant to visualize the game. This is from when the game was simply called "Project Big." It's incredible to see how much of pre-production and early visualization made it into the final product.