It’s no secret that prior to starting full production on The Last of Us, Naughty Dog was toying with the idea of returning to Jak & Daxter. While the series had been kept relevant by Ready at Dawn and High Impact Games, the Californian developer hadn’t actually touched the property since 2005, with its final PlayStation 2 title, Jak X: Combat Racing.
Speaking at an IDGA Toronto keynote last year, Neil Druckmann – who went on to write and direct Joel and Ellie’s escapade – explained that the planned PlayStation 3 title would take its platforming heroes in a darker direction. “We spent a lot of time exploring the Jak & Daxter world and how we would reboot it; how we would bring these characters back, some story ideas that we were getting excited about,” he said.
Unfortunately, the firm concluded that it wasn’t necessarily getting hyped about the property itself, but the direction that it was taking it in. “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?” he pondered.
The team eventually went on to make The Last of Us, but plenty of concept art for its gritty reboot was created, and, as part of its 30th Anniversary art book, the company has revealed the direction that it intended to take the series. It shows Jak, for example, with a much more human appearance – while Daxter resembles an angry rodent with a gun in some images.
There are also some drawings of the kind of environments that the characters may have encountered, many of which centre on lush fantasy islands that fuse natural flora with gigantic urban buildings – a little like the reclaimed skylines in its subsequent post apocalyptic release. Would you have played this rebooted title should it have got made? Speak up in the comments section below.