Naughty Dog scrapped work on a new Jak and Daxter to make The Last of Us instead
Jak has evolved over the years, but he couldn't make the jump to a more realistic hero
Did you know that we almost had a new Jak and Daxter in development?
Before Naughty Dog (the studio behind such awesome series as Crash Bandicoot and Uncharted) started working on the post-apocalyptic survival game titled The Last of Us, it actually had a different project in the works; a next-gen reboot of the Jak and Daxter series. Unfortunately, it fast became the game that never was.
The developer had the go-ahead to make the reboot from Sony, and it had the funds with which to do it. Naughty Dog pretty much had everything it needed. At the core of the problem, said Neil Druckmann, now creative director for The Last of Us, was the fact that his team just couldn't get the game to feel right.
"We dug around trying to find the core of Jak and Daxter," Druckmann said. "Who are the characters? We had to reboot it, essentially. Every time we got excited about an idea, we'd take a step back and look at it and be like 'It's not Jak and Daxter, are we just slapping the name on it for marketing reasons?'"
The problem may have been linked to how they were trying to reboot the series, said Evan Wells of Naughty Dog. They were originally planning on a departure from the light-hearted tone of the previous game.
"It started feeling like a compromise," Druckmann told GameInformer. "The more we tried to make Jak and Daxter like we wanted to, it didn't feel like things were matching up. We have folders and folders filled with scrapped ideas."
The more they tried to add realism to the game, the more things simply didn't add up. "All the ideas just started to feel like they were going far away from what made Jak and Daxter Jak and Daxter…we felt we weren't going to give them the game we wanted…we just realized we were going to just do everybody a disservice."
That doesn't mean a Jak and Daxter reboot will never happen, something Wells was fairly adamant about. "Naughty Dog's got a long history, and I think it's got a long future, so to say we'll never go back is kind of crazy."
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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