It’s like a million souls sighed, and then suddenly went silent.
Creative director Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog revealed that a Jak and Daxter reboot was dropped in favor of The Last of Us.
The reboot would e less cartoony, and the duo would be redesigned heavily. Druckmann explained the news at his IGDA Toronto 2013 keynote.
“Back in 2009, our president Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, we had just shipped Uncharted 2 and it was pretty successful for us, and they decided there was a lot of people on 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. They put Bruce Straley and I on the second project and our task was – and this is the first time we’re showing this – to reboot this game, Jak & Daxter.”
He then explained the company “spent a long time exploring the world of Jak & Daxter and how would we reboot it”, but that the ideas “weren’t doing service to what fans of [the] franchise really liked”.
“As much as we liked a lot of these concepts and exploring this fantastical world, we found that the ideas we were passionate about were getting away from what Jak & Daxter was, and we were questioning, are we doing this for marketing reasons and naming something Jak & Daxter when it’s not really Jak & Daxter, or are we really passionate about it? And the answer was, we felt it was more for marketing and we felt that we weren’t doing service to what fans of this franchise really liked – even if the reinvented Daxter is pretty good looking.”
The Last of Us eventually sprouted out of an idea Druckmann had almost a decade ago. In 2004 and at university, he pitched a Night of the Living Dead game to George Romero, the movie’s director. It involved a cop-like character who protected a girl against a world full of zombies, but Romero rejected it. Of course, Druckmann then found a home at Naughty Dog, and helped realize his vision into what shaped up to arguably be “the game of the generation” for lots of people.
The Jak and Daxter HD Trilogy released earlier this year for PlayStation 3 and Vita. Could it be a sign that the series isn’t dead, and Sony is refreshing people’s memories in preparation for a new game? The Sly Trilogy was released some time before the fourth, new entry as well. We should just wait and see.