During their IGDA Toronto 2013 keynote, The Last of Us writer and co-director Neil Druckmann revealed that the team behind the highly acclaimed title almost made a new Jak and Daxter game.
When The Last of Us team originally formed, Druckmann and company began to hash out ideas for a reboot of Naughty Dog’s highly successful PlayStation 2 franchise. However, they soon realized that they were straying too far from the property and decided to shelve the idea.
In the keynote, Druckmann explained it in more detail:
“We found the ideas we were passionate about were kind of getting away from what Jak and Daxter was and we were questioning, ‘Are we doing this for marketing reasons and naming something Jak and Daxter when it’s not really Jak and Daxter? We felt like we weren’t doing service to what the fans of this franchise really liked. … So we went to our boss and said, ‘Do we have to do this?’ And he said, ‘No. I thought it would just be easier for you guys if you started with something, but if you want to do something else, come up with something else.”
I know plenty of people who were huge fans of the Jak and Daxter franchise, and I do feel a little sorry for them. However, I think even the best reboot that the team could have made would not have turned out as well as The Last of Us did.
I also think the reason Druckmann and his team shelved the reboot is pretty noble. Rather than releasing a title that has little to do with the franchise, the team just chose to work on something else. If they had released something, I imagine it would have been similar to what happened to the American version of Super Mario Bros. 2, which was originally a completely different title than what we saw. So, instead of getting a totally different Jak and Daxter, we got the excellent The Last of Us.
A win-win for everyone, right?