According to Naughty Dog's creative director, the studio actively considered rebooting the Jak & Daxter series after finishing Uncharted 2. However, their ideas ended up at odds with the original games, leading them to start working on an interesting little side project that turned into The Last Of Us.
The phrase "right decision" is bandied about a lot these days...
Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann revealed their dilemma during a keynote speech at IGDA Toronto (watch in full below), explaining that they wanted to pursue something unrelated to the Uncharted series. "Back in 2009, we had just shipped Uncharted 2 and it was very successful for us," he told the audience. "Our presidents, Evan Well and Christophe Balestra, decided that there were a lot of people in the team that were very talented but eager to do other stuff, maybe above the role they were at, so they were like, 'let's start branching out, let's create this second team'.
"Our task was to reboot Jak & Daxter. We spent a lot of time exploring the world of Jak and Daxter and how we would reboot it; how we would bring these characters back, some story ideas that we were getting excited about."
The more they brainstormed, though, the more they realised that the project was veering away from what made the original games so enduring. "As much as we like these concepts and exploring these fantastical worlds, we found the ideas that we were getting passionate about were getting away from Jak & Daxter," Druckmann continued. "We were questioning ourselves, were we doing this for marketing reasons and naming something Jak & Daxter when it really isn't Jak & Daxter, or were we really passionate about it?
"The answer was we felt it was more for marketing. We felt like we weren't doing service to what the fans of the franchise really want, even if the reinvented looks pretty damn good."
"So we went to our boss and said asked 'do we have to do this?', he said 'no, I thought it would just be easier for you guys if you started with something [familiar], but if you want to do something else, come up with something else'."
That "something else" being The Last Of Us, which proved to be wholly remarkable. Matt described it as "linear blockbuster gaming at its best" in our 8/10 review.
Would you like to see Naughty Dog deliver a new take on Jak & Daxter?