Jak and Daxter
|Jak and Daxter|
The logo for the series
|Developers||Naughty Dog (2001–present)
Ready at Dawn (2006)
High Impact Games (2009)
Nihilistic Software (2011)
Mass Media Inc. (2012–2013)
|Publishers||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Platforms||PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|Platform of origin||PlayStation 2|
|First release||Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
December 3, 2001
|Latest release||Jak and Daxter Collection
June 18, 2013
Jak and Daxter is a video game franchise created by Naughty Dog Inc. There are four games in the main series and two spin-off games, which are considered to be part of the main series continuity. The games have been released exclusively for the PlayStation consoles, and are considered to be the spiritual successor to the Crash Bandicoot series.
The games are considered story-based platformers, which include many puzzles and platform elements, in conjunction with avoiding enemies and other obstacles, as well as using an array of different weapons and vehicles. Set on an unnamed planet, the games follow the two protagonists, Jak and Daxter, as they try to unlock the secrets of their world, and discover the mysteries left behind by the Precursors. The series consists of many differing and unique locations both in the future world and past, which include jungles, deserts, mountainous terrains, villages and metropolitan cities.
The original trilogy was re-released on the PlayStation 3 as part of an HD collection, that included 720p high-definition with crisper visuals, smoother gameplay animation and full stereoscopic 3D, along with support for the PlayStation Network trophy system. The transfer was handled by Mass Media Inc. with Naughty Dog assisting with the conversion of the games.
|2001||Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy||PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|2003||Jak II||PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|2004||Jak 3||PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|2009||Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier||PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2|
|2005||Jak X: Combat Racing||PlayStation 2|
|2011||PlayStation Move Heroes||PlayStation 3|
|2012||PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale||PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|2012–2013||Jak and Daxter Collection||PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|This section requires expansion. (August 2013)|
Development for Jak and Daxter began in January 1999. As the rest of the Naughty Dog team were developing Crash Team Racing, only two programmers were allocated to the project. The aim was to "escape from the tried and true formula of a linear adventure with individually loaded levels, minimal story, and not much in the way of character development", and instead develop a massive, open world game that would allow for full advantage of the next generation of hardware. After the completion Crash Team Racing Naughty Dog confirmed the idea with Sony Computer Entertainment, and the rest of the team joined in the development stage. During a three-year production cycle, they created a seamlessly connected, vast, detailed world with no load times or fogging, and had conceived a narrative. Originally they had planned to introduce a third character, that would develop as the game progressed in a Tamogotchi-style fashion, but this was scrapped in favour of creating the two desired main characters. The games soundtrack was provided by Mutato Muzika Studios and was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, Josh Mancell, and Larry Hopkins. The game was released in December 2001, before being added to Sony's greatest hits line up.
Though hesitant to develop a second title, The Precursor Legacy proved successful and a sequel was green lit by Sony. Naughty Dog focused their efforts on creating a more believable, habitable environment with more developed characters. The result was Jak II, which ran on an improved version of the original engine, allowing for better graphics, better AI interaction and a larger world to explore. The tone of the game was a dramatic departure from the first title, and proved to be a lot darker and grittier. Mark Mothersbaugh, Josh Mancell, and Larry Hopkins returned again as composers. Following a two-year development period the game was released in October 2003 and was added to Sony's Greatest Hits line up.
Jak 3 was first revealed to be in the works by one of Superplay's writers on January 8, 2004, before being officially announced by Sony Computer Entertainment on February 24, 2004. NaughtyDog developed a new true-to-life physics engine, allowing for more realistic vehicle manipulation in varying environments. It was released in November 2004 following almost two years of development, and was added to Sony's Greatest Hits line up.
The Jak series is primarily a story-based platformer presented in the third-person perspective. The player can explore a multitude of different areas in an open world environment, and is able to collect difficult to reach Precursor Orbs, in order unlock cheats in the "Secrets Menu". Power Cells were required to advance the story in The Precursor Legacy and could be obtained by completing mission for the locals or finding them on Jak's travels. Completing story related missions unlocked new locations in subsequent titles. Both characters can double-jump and perform several melee attacks, while Jak can manipulate a substance called Eco, which provides the player with improved abilities, such as increased speed and more powerful melee attacks. The use of Dark Eco was introduced in Jak II and Light Eco was added in Jak 3. They appeared as a form of currency in The Lost Frontier due to their rarity, but could not be used for combat as they were unstable.
Shooting elements were introduced to the series in Jak II, with the addition of the Morph Gun. New mods and weapon upgrades became available as the game progressed. More mods were introduced in Jak 3 and was replaced with a customizable Gunstaff in The Lost Frontier. Daxter also became a playable character in Jak II, and featured in several Crash Bandicoot-esque missions to gain access to hard to reach places. The Lost Frontier introduced Dark Daxter, which take place in the city sewers.
Jak had access to a Zoomer in The Precursor Legacy and was used primarily for crossing mountain valley's and volcanic craters. A large bird-species known as the Flut Flut was also available for transportation. Driving became a core ingredient in Jak II with the introduction of hover vehicles and a jet board. This was expanded upon in Jak 3, with several off-road Dune Buggies becoming available for navigating The Wasteland. In The Lost Frontier aerial combat was also integrated into the series, acting as a core gameplay feature, and Jak could purchase several types of customizable airships.
Jak X: Combat Racing and Daxter deviate significantly from the series traditional gameplay style. The gameplay mechanics of the series were changed for Jak X, and modeled solely on the driving system used in Jak 3, and features many types of combat vehicles. Daxter features dream sequence minigames which take place in scenes from films, which include The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, The Matrix and Braveheart. He also has access to a scooter, an electronic bug-swatter and a spray tank as he explores Haven City doing jobs for the Kridder Ridder Extermination Company. Several extras can be unlocked for Jak X and Daxter by linking up the save files from the two respective games, and several player skins can be unlocked if the player has save files from The Precursor Legacy, Jak II, Jak 3 and Insomniac Games Ratchet: Deadlocked.
- Jak – Jak is the main protagonist of the Jak and Daxter series, and is playable in all games with the exception of Daxter, where he makes several cameos. He accidentally turns his best friend, Daxter, into an ottsel (a fictional hybrid of otter and weasel) in The Precursor Legacy, and sets out to undo the transformation. In Jak II, he is infused with Dark Eco due to experimentations performed by Baron Praxis. In Jak 3 he is blessed with Light Eco by the Precursors, thereby balancing the Dark Eco inside him, before learning that his true identity is Mar. In Jak X, he is forced to race in the Kras City Grand Championship in order to save his life. He later travels to The Brink to investigate the Eco shortage that is ravaging his world in The Lost Frontier.
- Daxter – Daxter is the secondary protagonist from the Jak & Daxter series. He is Jak's sidekick, and is often found getting into trouble, which results in him turning into an ottsel. He rescues Jak at the beginning of Jak II, and becomes playable intermittently for the first time in the series. In Jak 3 his role is expanded, and he gets a pair of pants as a reward for his efforts, as was an ongoing gag in the game. In Daxter, he details his adventures in the two-year time span before he managed to break Jak out of prison. In Jak X, he accompanies Jak and his friends to Kras City, and assists them as they compete in the Kras City Grand Championship. He later travels with Jak and Keira to The Brink in The Lost Frontier.
- Samos the Sage – Samos Hagai, most prominent in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, serves as a guide throughout the series. He first appears in The Precursor Legacy as the Sage of Green Eco and acts as a fatherly figure to guide the two heroes in their quest. In later games, he still serves as a mentor and a source of advice. He does not appear in Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier and Daxter.
- Keira – Keira is Samos' daughter and Jak's main love interest. She appears in every game acting as a mechanic and inventor, with the exception of Daxter, where she has a non-speaking cameo. She too joins Jak as he races in the Kras City Grand Championship in Jak X. In The Lost Frontier she travels with Jak and Daxter to the Brink, in a quest to find the reason behind the Eco shortage which is ravaging their planet, and to study in hope of becoming a Sage.
Jak and Daxter Collection
|Jak and Daxter Collection|
Mass Media Inc. (port)
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Series||Jak and Daxter|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 3
|Distribution||Blu-ray Disc, download|
Jak and Daxter Collection (known in PAL regions as The Jak and Daxter Trilogy) is a video game that contains high-definition remastered port of the original PlayStation 2 trilogy for the PlayStation 3 on a single Blu-ray Disc as a Classics HD title, published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The games were originally developed by Naughty Dog, who have assisted in the remastering alongside Mass Media Inc. to provide support for high-definition monitors, higher frame rates, stereoscopic 3D, and additional features for the PlayStation Network.
The core game and story for all games remains unchanged with the remastered versions. For the remastering, all three games have had a graphics overhaul to allow them to support modern 720p HD resolution with smoother gameplay animation. With the more powerful PlayStation 3, all three games feature a fixed frame rate of 60 frames per second in normal mode, while in 3D mode the games run at 30 frames per second. All three games have PlayStation Network Trophy support.
In May 2011, Naughty Dog's Co-president Evan Wells said he'd love to make another in the series, but the studio was busy with Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. In October 2011, according to Digital Spy, an online business in South Africa known as BT Games had a "Jak and Daxter HD Collection" listed for release in January 2012. According to Gematsu.com, which spotted the South African listing, also pointed to a source hinting that a "Jak Collection" was in the works back in May. Naughty Dog's Game Director, Justin Richmond, apparently confirmed that a "Jak and Daxter HD Collection" for PS3 is in development, and will be released sometime in 2012. After much rumor, speculation and fans request, a HD Collection of the Jak and Daxter series was confirmed for a February 2012 release. On March 23, 2013, an ESRB rating for a PS Vita port of the Jak and Daxter Collection was spotted online, and it was later confirmed by Sony through the PlayStation Blog that the collection would be coming to Vita in June 2013.
|Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy||(PS2) 90.22%||(PS2) 90|
|Jak II||(PS2) 87.93%||(PS2) 87|
|Jak 3||(PS2) 85.33%||(PS2) 84|
|Jak X: Combat Racing||(PS2) 77.01%||(PS2) 76|
|Daxter||(PSP) 86.35%||(PSP) 85|
|Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier||(PSP) 72.84%
|Jak and Daxter Collection||(PS3) 80.45%||(PS3) 81|
The series has received positive reviews from critics. The "Remastered Collection" was also met with a warm reception from critics, who highlighted the overall graphical transformation, and noted: "Though some aspects of the games are dated now, the Jak games still stand up as epic adventures."
GameSpot gave similar praise, saying "its tight execution and heavy action elements ensure that things never become dull", and that "it manages to provide a rewarding gameplay experience that shouldn't be missed."
Game Informer noted "the series was driven by a restless sense of innovation", praising "Naughty Dog's work in this franchise (for creating) great characters, finely tuned gameplay, and a unceasing inventiveness", and felt "the Jak games stand up as epic adventures."
Eurogamer stated that "the Jak and Daxter series may not be as solid a platformer as Sly Cooper and its gunplay isn't as refined as Ratchet & Clank's – but in terms of ambition, invention and grandiosity, it remains leagues above its last-gen platforming brethren". They further stated : "The Jak and Daxter series remains a fascinating document of the evolution of the action adventure; its heroes are unstuck in time, without a genre to call home. No series has been so willing to switch gameplay styles with such reckless abandon, and The Jak and Daxter Trilogy represents a shining example of what happens when a capable developer takes a huge risk."
The success of the Jak and Daxter series resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 7 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include, "First Seamless 3D World in a Console Game", "Most Successful Single Format Platform Series", and "Largest Number of Cutscenes in a Platform Game" for Jak II, in which there are 131 cutscenes, and Jak 3, in which there are 213 cutscenes.
The Last of Us creative director Neil Druckmann said in an interview with Game Informer that they had originally planned on making a reboot of the series, saying "We dug around trying to find the core of Jak and Daxter...Who are the characters? We had to reboot it essentially. Every time we got excited about an idea we would take a step back...and feel it's not Jak and Daxter, are we just slapping the name on it for marketing reasons?"
The Jak and Daxter series has been featured in a variety of other media since its inception.
- In LittleBigPlanet, LittleBigPlanet 2 and LittleBigPlanet Karting, a Jak costume and Daxter costume are available for Sackboy through bonus add-ons.
- Jak and Daxter appeared as playable characters in the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita title PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
- Jak and Daxter also featured in PlayStation Move Heroes.
- In Ratchet: Deadlocked, Jak appears as an alternate skin for Ratchet.
- In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Daxter appears wearing a leopard loincloth as a museum treasure. Its description reads "The Lutrela Nivadensis is a rare hybrid species of the Carnivora family. It is known for its orange fur and loud mouth."
- A "Strange Relic" can be discovered in the Uncharted series, another game series developed by Naughty Dog. It is a copy of the Precursor orbs found in the Jak and Daxter universe, and when translated reads "NaughtyDog, Madman."
- Jak appears alongside Ratchet as a playable character in Hot Shots Golf Fore! Daxter acts as a golf caddy with Clank.
- Jak and Daxter appear on posters in the Ratchet & Clank universe.
- Jak and Daxter appear in several background cameos in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando.
- Daxter is referenced in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, with "Ottsel" written across Nathan Drake's swimsuit, and a picture of Daxter's face on the sleeve.
- Daxter is featured as a free DLC character in the PlayStation 3 exclusive game PAIN.
- In Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, a pair of Jak Goggles can be purchased from the PlayStation Store for use in multiplayer.
- In The Last of Us, Jak and Daxter make several cameos in the form of easter eggs and unlockable outfits.
- List of voice actors in the Jak and Daxter series
- Naughty Dog
- Ready at Dawn
- High Impact Games
- Nihilistic Software
- Mass Media Inc.
- Crash Bandicoot
- Ratchet & Clank
- Sly Cooper
- PlayStation Move Heroes
- PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
- HD Collections
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- "Jak X: Combat Racing Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
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- "Daxter Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
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- "The Jak And Daxter Trilogy Available In-Store Now And on PSN Next Week". PlayStation Network. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
- "Jak and Daxter Guinness World Records". Guinness World Records. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
- Bryan Vore (December 3, 2010). "Readers' Top 30 Characters Results Revealed - News - www.GameInformer.com". Gameinformer. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
- "Naughty Dog: A new Jak & Daxter would do "everyone a disservice"". GameInformer. Retrieved January 5, 2012.