"It had elements of Tolkien in for sure," Poole said. "Sony kept pushing for a more realistic game in all respects. The market had changed a lot by then. The demographic was older and gritty shooters were really dominating. Sony wanted very much to get into that market share, it pushed all of its developers in this direction."
Poole said some of the "old dogs" at Naughty Dog preferred the fantastical style of its previous titles, such as Jak and Daxter and Crash Bandicoot, "but alas, that was a losing battle." Technically we wouldn't call selling 8 million series copies worldwide "losing," but that can be a relative term.