Last year I bought a PlayStation 3 to discover all the exclusives I missed so far, God of War was one of them. At first, it wasn’t particularly interesting to me, I never really enjoyed the genre (nor the Greek mythology to be fair), but Kratos seemed to be an important character in the history of the console. I had to experience the game. Continue reading
People are constantly trying to convince Naughty Dog (developers of hit games like Uncharted and The Last of Us), that they should return to their PlayStation 2 mascots, Jak and Daxter.
They have obviously moved on, they became big, they work with motion capture and bigger budgets now. There were attempts to continue the series with the help of other developers the PSP-spinoff Daxter was quite good, but Jak & Daxter: The Final Frontier didn’t exactly meet Naughty Dog’s standards. Years later, it seems that no one bothers to resurrect the franchise, while the other big 3D platformer of PlayStation, Ratchet & Clank is more popular than ever.
So what made Jak & Daxter so unique? Why is it a difficult task to reboot or continue the series?
1. The world doesn’t make any sense
This is awesome, by the way. The original Jak & Daxter introduced a complete sandbox worldmap without loading screens, the sequels kind of expanded on that. Naughty Dog created a mythology, an ancient past that still has its influence, everything works logically and organically… to a point. Then things fall apart, we’ll notice the world exist just for the narrative. The Final Frontier plays with this, it introduces the Brink, the edge of the world. It has a potential, but seeing The Final Frontier, any new Jak & Daxter game would need writers as good as Naughty Dog’s, or else everything would be a mess.
2. Platformers are so PS2
Naughty Dog obviously wants to make mature games, so we can’t really hope that they will return to Jak & Daxter. But to those who are dismissing 3D platformers, look how insanely popular Ratchet & Clank is. Sure, it has weaker titles, but the Future trilogy was solid, and the humor still works in the weaker titles.
So why can’t we go back to Jak & Daxter? It’s a mature, well written trilogy with great twists and a beautifully realized world with nice lore.
3. Forgotten characters
I really miss these guys. Every time Daxter said something, I laughed hard. Jak was silent in the first game, and laughed when he first spoke in Jak II.
Great voice acting, memorable characters… and we are already forgetting them. The last title in the series was released almost ten years ago. This is really unsettling and makes the possibility of a new game more difficult.
But, you see, Jak & Daxter is important. It showed us that a game can be insanely fun, weird and ambitious at the same time. Many ambitious games today forget that they are ultimately games. We might experience their beauty, their intense action, but a 3D platformer like Jak & Daxter has everything. It speaks to all generations of gamers. There should be much more games like this, especially now that the Vita has the capacities to continue the legacy of the PS2.
Or, they could always make a Daxter’s Angels spinoff for a quick cash-grab. Who knows?