Plenty of speculation surrounded Naughty Dog’s upcoming project, The Last of Us, prior to its reveal at the 2011 Spike TV Video Game Awards. Well it turns out the company initially considered introducing a new entry to the Jak and Daxter franchise.
Neil Druckmann, creative director for The Last of Us, explained the brainstorming process behind bringing back the dynamic duo to the videogame front.
“We dug around trying to find the core of Jak and Daxter,” he 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?’”
Druckmann went on to state how the process “started feeling like a compromise.” Naughty Dog Co-President Evan Wells elaborated on this statement, saying the final product would have not satisfied fans.
“All the ideas just started to feel like they were going so far away from what made Jak and Daxter Jak and Daxter,” he explained. “Even though we wanted to give fans another Jak and Daxter, we felt we weren’t going to give them the game that they wanted, and that we would end up either limiting the direction that the company had this passion for while simultaneously not creating the game that fans wanted. We just realized we were going to just do everybody a disservice.”
After putting the idea for a new Jack and Daxter on the back-burner, the creative team at Naughty Dog was free to explore the possibility of a new IP. It was at this point that Bruce Straley, director for The Last of Us, came up with the idea for a zombie game upon seeing an episode of the BBC’s “Planet Earth.”
Wells did say that the possibility of another Jak and Daxter game isn’t completely out of the question though.
“Never say never,” he said. “It could happen.”