Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy released at the tail-end of 2001 to critical acclaim, garnering a cult following, solidifying itself as yet another smash hit for PlayStation studio Naughty Dog.
They worked alongside Insomniac, the developers of Ratchet & Clank, releasing two sequels, two spin-offs, and a racer, dubbed Jak X. Then, Jak and Daxter fizzled out as the 4th game, intended to be their debut on the PS3, was dropped in favour of Uncharted. However, this was a blessing in disguise as this the title that pioneered Naughty Dog’s progression as a company that ultimately led them to The Last of Us.
For the most part, those that love Jak and Daxter are adults now.
The Last of Us was also the spawn of a Jak and Daxter game as they were working on a darker reboot to the series. However, they believed that it would be alienating to fans and so they transformed their work into the zombie thriller that we know and love today. But, given God of War’s success despite completely altering its style, could Naughty Dog now reboot Jak and Daxter with their more gritty aesthetic?
It’s likely that they could, so long as the story is strong enough to win awards and emotional enough to resonate with fans. For the most part, those that love Jak and Daxter are adults now, and so a more mature experience, that’s less edgy ala Jak 2, would more than likely work, but is this a good idea for a semi-lighthearted franchise that’s got more in common with Ratchet & Clank than God of War? Perhaps not, so here are three alternatives that could keep the duo alive.
Option #1 – make a Jak and Daxter film
Given that they’re pumping out Uncharted and The Last of Us adaptations, in film and TV respectively, perhaps Jak and Daxter could also make the jump, should the Hollywood execs take their hands off, rather than interfering and ruining like with Ratchet & Clank (2016).
A film could, if done well, open the franchise to non-gamers and a wider audience, but, given video-game movie track records, this is unlikely to happen, and the appeal of Jak & Daxter mostly lies in its platforming, not its story, although the world of Jak & Daxter is spectacular and ripe for exploration.
Option #2 – re-make the trilogy for modern consoles
If not a film to bring the series back, then, like with Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, perhaps the original trilogy could be re-made from the ground up, bringing the charm and brilliance of the early 2000s PS2 platformer to modern consoles. This could make for a great PS5 debut, should Sony want to keep it exclusive, but if not, it could open the door to let other platform’s players finally experience the wonders of Naughty Dog’s early work.
Option #3 – let Insomniac work on a reboot or sequel
A third (and the final option on this list) in Naughty Dog and Sony’s arsenal is handing the reigns of the franchise over to sister company Insomniac and letting them run wild, given that they have stuck to their roots. They are still making Ratchet & Clank games to this day, with the latest releasing four years ago and with rumours of another underway. Marvel’s Spider-Man is a testament to their capabilities as storytellers, Ratchet & Clank is a testament to their prowess as developers and Jak and Daxter is well within their style.
However, a question lingers – should Jak and Daxter even resurface, or is its time well and truly in the past? Is there more to be said, or should it be left alone?
Featured image credit: u/Veddermandenis (Reddit)
Last modified: 12th March 2020