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Jak 4 concept art 1

"Before we settle on any project at Naughty Dog, we explore many ideas. Some notions are driven by a desire to make something new, some are lingering thoughts left untapped, but all are meant to be the next big thing in video games. These are some of the concepts we left undeveloped." — The Art of Naughty Dog, "Undeveloped Projects"

Jak 4 and Jak and Daxter 4 were tentative titles for an undeveloped project by Naughty Dog Inc.[1] The installment would presumably be the first game developed for a rebooted Jak and Daxter series, a topic that Naughty Dog explored before moving onto Uncharted and The Last of Us in 2006 and 2009, respectively. Art released by Naughty Dog in 2014 indicated a dramatic shift from the familiar cartoonistic character design in the original Jak and Daxter series towards a contemporary approach to realistic animation and character design,[1] emphasizing a complete series reboot. Shortly after deciding on the basis of The Last of Us' setting, Naughty Dog decided to forgo a reboot of the Jak and Daxter world and move onto a new IP.[2]

HistoryEdit

2006Edit

Efforts to develop another Jak and Daxter game date as far back to 2006, following the release of Jak 3 and Jak X: Combat Racing as Sony began sharing news of the PS3 hardware with Naughty Dog.[1] It is at this time that reports surfaced of Naughty Dog's registration of the name "Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier"[3] (a title which would, three years later, be ported to High Impact Games). Naughty Dog anticipated new PS3 technology for 2005, but the company eventually discovered PS3 software would not be available until 2006. Evan Wells, Bruce Straley, and Christophe Balestra described in The Art of Naughty Dog that the years spanning 2004—2007 were some of "Naughty Dog's darkest days," as the transition from PS2 to PS3 was "far from smooth sailing for [the company]."

Imagine the two co-founders of Naughty Dog passing the torch to new management — we were switching to brand-new rendering technology with the extraordinarily complicated hardware architecture of the PS3, and literally building our entire code base up from scratch ... Dozens of new proposals thrown out, months and months of tool work completely scrapped, and for three or four months straight, no fewer than one employee quitting every week as they lost hope we'd pull out of our slump.

The Art of Naughty Dog

Although with the arrival of PS3 software, a new IP codenamed "Big", the franchise to later take the title of "Uncharted", took form after concepts and proposals of Jak and Daxter reinvented as a "linear story-telling approach" instead evolved into a new and original Naughty Dog IP.[1] Jak and Daxter and the PS2 then became associated with a single passing era, and would not be revisited until later in 2009.

2009Edit

While developing the 2008 title Uncharted 2 in 2007—2008, Naughty Dog shared property with High Impact Games to head the development of a sequel with the propriety title Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier; as Naughty Dog claimed at that time that they were "unable to develop The Lost Frontier and Uncharted simultaneously." The game followed through with development by High Impact Games alone, announced 1 April 2009 as Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier. However, Naughty Dog later expressed regret and acknowledged:

At the time, it looked like [High Impact Games was] going to be able to do a pretty good job with it ... I don't want to say anything disparaging [of them], I like the guys at High Impact. But, if we had had to do it all over again, we would have done some things differently in the execution of The Lost Frontier. I'm not happy with that being Jak's swan song. I think we could have done a lot better.

— Sam Thompson, Naughty Dog and Sony producer

The game went on to garner moderate reception, with an average of 70% critical acclaim, average marketplace success, and mostly poor fan-based reception.[4][5]

2010Edit

After the release of The Lost Frontier in late 2009, going into 2010 and spanning approximately one year, Naughty Dog revisited what is cited as a "treat to come back to"[1] as they attempted to create a "more realistic, more contemporary approach to Jak and Daxter." Although, throughout early development efforts, the team began to realize that "there were already so many firmly established relationships, character personalities, and character motivations" and "it became tougher to feel engaged by the prospect of making a new Jak and Daxter [game]" due to a dilemma: "If we stuck to the constraints of the already established world, would we be happy with the type of game we were about to make?" ... "If we diverged too greatly from those constraints to tell the type of story we wanted to tell, were we actually making Jak and Daxter anymore?"[1] Upon realizing their attempts would not pan out, they again moved away from the Jak and Daxter series, believing that ultimately they would be "doing the fans a disservice."[6] This is when, through research, empirical maturity, and experimentation, Naughty Dog synthesized a project codenamed "Thing", which would evolve into the largely popular and successful 2013 title The Last of Us.[2] The future of Jak and Daxter in Naughty Dog studios remains static, with the company's representatives citing that, due to circumstances, Jak and Daxter has not yet been reconsidered but "is never off the table," along with allusions to the Jak and Daxter predecessor and largely popular franchise Crash Bandicoot.[7][8]

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

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