How The Jak And Daxter Reboot Became The Last Of Us
Sometimes it's strange to think that the Jak and Daxter guys are the same dudes that created The Last Of Us.
And it's interesting to see how Naughty Dog arrived at the latter project. During a keynote address for IGDA Toronto 2013, The Last Of Us creative director Neil Druckmann revealed that the team that made the game was originally assembled to produce a fresh Jak and Daxter installment. Yeah, I wanted it, too.
After the success of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, the company wanted to branch out, so they made a second team with the express purpose of rebooting Jak and Daxter. Druckmann said they "spent a lot of time exploring the world of Jak and Daxter," but the ideas they were really passionate about represented a departure from the franchise.
"We were questioning 'are we doing this for marketing reasons? Naming something Jak and Daxter, when it's not really Jak and Daxter? Or, are are we really passionate about it?' And the answer is that we felt like it was more for marketing...we felt like we weren't doing service to what the fans of this franchise really liked, even if the reinvented Daxter was pretty damn good looking."
They opted to come up with another idea, and that eventually became the core of The Last Of Us. It began in 2004 when Druckmann was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon, and was asked to pitch the idea of a zombie game to "Night of the Living Dead" director George Romero. Romero rejected the pitch, but it was an interesting idea: It combined the mechanics of ICO with a zombie-filled world and a protagonist modeled on Hartigan from "Sin City." Years later, Druckmann pitched an idea as a story called "The Turning," which had the male lead as a former convict who had lost his daughter, and was protecting a different girl to redeem himself.
The next step was when Druckmann and game director Bruce Straley considered a game called "Mankind," which would have the main character guiding the first immune girl around a world where the cordyceps virus had infected all of the planet's women. But some female co-workers at Naughty Dog said this came across as a "misogynistic idea," so they expanded on the concept and...well, you know the rest. One of the best games ever made found the light of day.
Related Game(s): The Last Of Us
10/4/2013 8:51:01 PM Ben Dutka