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Postmortem: Naughty Dog's Jak and Daxter: the Precursor Legacy
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Postmortem: Naughty Dog's Jak and Daxter: the Precursor Legacy

July 10, 2002 Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

By the end of 1998, Naughty Dog had finished the third game in the extremely successful Crash Bandicoot series, and the fourth game, Crash Team Racing, was in development for a 1999 year-end holiday release. And though Sony was closely guarding the details of the eagerly awaited Playstation 2, rumors - and our own speculations - convinced us that the system would have powerful processing and polygonal capabilities, and we knew that we'd have to think on a very grand scale.

Because of the success of our Crash Bandicoot games (over 22 million copies sold), there was a strong temptation to follow the same tried-and-true formula of the past: create a linear adventure with individually loaded levels, minimal story, and not much in the way of character development. With more than a little trepidation, we decided instead to say good-bye to the bandicoot and embark on developing an epic adventure we hoped would be worthy of the expectations of the next generation of hardware.

For Jak & Daxter, one of our earliest desires was to immerse the player in a single, highly detailed world, as opposed to the discrete levels of Crash Bandicoot. We still wanted to have the concept of levels, but we wanted them to be seamlessly connected together, with nonobvious boundaries and no load times between them. We wanted highly detailed landscapes, yet we also wanted grand vistas where the player could see great distances, including other surrounding levels. We hoped the player would be able to see a landmark far off in the distance, even in another level, and then travel seamlessly to that landmark.

It was important to us that Jak's world make cohesive sense. An engaging story should tie the game together and allow for character development, but not distract from the action of the game. The world should be populated with highly animated characters that would give Jak tasks to complete, provide hints, reveal story elements, and add humor to the game. We also wanted entertaining puzzles and enemies that would surpass anything that we had done before.
To achieve these and many other difficult tasks required three years of exhausting work, including two years of full production. We encountered more than a few major bumps in the road, and there were times when the project seemed like an insurmountable uphill battle, but we managed to create a game that we are quite proud of, and we learned several important lessons along the way.

Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

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