Jak (Jak and Daxter)
|Jak and Daxter character|
Jak and his sidekick Daxter
|First game||Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001)|
|Created by||Naughty Dog|
|Designed by||Bob Rafei|
|Voiced by||Mike Erwin (The Precursor Legacy—Jak X)
Josh Keaton (The Lost Frontier)
Jak is a fictional character and primary protagonist of the Jak and Daxter series, being the titular playable character in all games in the series with the exception of the spin-off game Daxter. He was created by Naughty Dog Inc, and made cross-over non-canon appearances in PlayStation Move Heroes and PlayStation All-Stars, serving as one of three protagonists in the game former. From his introduction in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy to the last Naughty Dog-developed game Jak X: Combat Racing, Jak was voiced by Mike Erwin. In the High Impact Games-developed Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, he was voiced by Josh Keaton.
Throughout the series, Jak's gameplay carried signature platformer attributes. Perhaps most notable is the character's unique ability to channel "eco", a powerful substance of multiple colors and varying specialties, giving the player an array of powers to help battle enemies.
Jak's character received positive reception. He was listed 26th on the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 's "Top 50 Characters of All Time", and in a poll conducted by GameInformer, Jak was voted 28 in the top 30 video game characters of the decade. He and his sidekick Daxter were listed in the top 25 best duo in gaming, coming in fifth place by IGN. However, IGN also noted that they liked Jak better in Jak 3 than in Jak II due to his developed maturity; "he wasn't a whiny, brooding emo figure like in the second game."
Initial character design began in the year 2000, when Naughty Dog commissioned various artists to "scribble characters" for their next PlayStation 2 title. After several revisions, from wolf-like characters to various human concepts, Naughty Dog animator John Kim drew a concept of a "tall, slender, and agile" character that "sported jaunty, spiky hair," with an "exaggeration, weight, and thickness" that Kim described as "BAM!"; an internal mantra that served to describe the characteristics of the new personalities in the title. Bob Rafei proceeded with this concept and designed various concept art poses that would eventually depict a 15-year-old boy with spiky green-blond hair, blue tunic, and athletic physical attributes. Jak's character was described to have a clear "racer" design, sporting goggles and other aviator's equipment throughout the series.
In the first game, Jak was featured as a mute teenage boy, quiet and headstrong, with a sober attitude who "has yet to realize his potential." He had a brave and adventurous personality, much to the frustration of his watchover Samos Hagai, spending most of his time with his equally trouble-making but much less brave best friend Daxter. However, Jak's character would take on a much more mature tone in the following game, when he was thrust into the future and imprisoned for two years, subjected to repeated "dark eco" treatments. He gained a significant personality shift in this game, vengeance-stricken and jaded by the experiments. He was also no longer a mute, a conscious decision made by Naughty Dog to give the character more dialog. Jak was described during this game as a "brooding emo figure," due to his torture and sole mission to exact revenge on Baron Praxis (the conductor of the experiment and tyrannical ruler of Haven City).
However, later in Jak 3, Jak matured and regained his fiery head-on attitude reminiscent from the first game. Albeit frustrated and distrusting, being cast to the Wasteland and betrayed by his city, he was more still collected and calculated. He also gained a "Light Jak" form to balance the dark mode that was imbued in him by the experiments a year prior, which aided in controlling his dark personality. Towards the end of the game, after saving the world from the "Dark Makers", and in The Lost Frontier, Jak was displayed as fully mature, adventurous, and rational. Jak was described by former Naughty Dog creative director as "the hero you want to be ... the stellar guy who is going to make it happen, who is going to save the world."
The Precursor Legacy
Jak debuted in The Precursor Legacy at 15 years old, along with his best friend Daxter of the same age. Their adventures started when Daxter fell into a dark eco silo while exploring a forbidden island, against Samos' permission. When they returned for help, they discovered that they would have to travel far north to reach the sage of dark eco, Gol Acheron, for the hope that he only might be able to change him back. From thereafter Jak used his athletic abilities, "vehicular prowess", and unique capability of channeling eco to traverse various environments and collect power cells to further northern progress. When the group reached Volcanic Crater, Gol Acheron and his sister Maia Acheron appeared, and revealing their corrupt state, disclosed that they were behind the lurker attacks and the kidnapping of the other eco sages. The mission of the game then centered towards stopping Gol and Maia and freeing the captive sages, which Jak succeeded in doing, resulting in the death of the evil siblings. Throughout the game it was clear to the player that Jak and Samos' daughter Keira shared romantic interest, which would develop later in the series. As previously mentioned, Jak had the rare ability to channel eco, as well as capabilities flying over dangerous terrain in the "A-Grav Zoomer". Together with Samos' wisdom, Jak and Daxter were able to save the world from complete destruction, with Samos finally admitting that the Jak and Daxter duo were destined heroes.
After collecting 101 power cells, Jak opened a large Precursor door on top of Gol and Maia's Citadel, behind of which lied the Rift Rider and Rift Gate. When they moved it back to Samos' hut, Jak, Daxter, Samos, and Keira were teleported into the future in a dystopia known as Haven City. Jak was almost immediately apprehended by the "Krimzon Guard" on account of his special powers, making him a prime prospect for the "Dark Warrior Program". After two years of being subjected to torturing experiments, Jak was finally rescued by Daxter. After Jak escaped from the prison, he sought out a figure known as the "Shadow", the leader of a rebel movement known as the "Underground", waging war against the misplaced rule of Baron Praxis. After carrying out multiple tasks for Underground leader Torn, Jak finally became acquainted with the Shadow. After further revelation, Jak realized he was in the future, and that the Shadow was a younger version of Samos who had yet to be sent into the past (Sandover Village). It was also realized that "the Kid", a royal descendant of the House of Mar and the subject of the Underground movement, was younger Jak. Young Samos and young Jak were then sent into the past using a replica of the original Rift Rider, built by Keira, starting over the journey described in the first game. Before this, however, Jak fulfilled the prophecy in killing Kor, the ancient leader of an antagonistic race known as the "Metal Heads", thus saving Haven City and becoming a hero.
Before Kor's death, a crimelord known as Krew sabotaged Haven City's security walls and allowed metal head forces into the city. Jak was well-known as Krew's heavy, and despite knowing that Jak later killed Krew, the city's high council found him guilty in association (though this was only due to the corruption that still existed from the time of Baron Praxis' rule). The new governor of the city, Ashelin Praxis (the Baron's daughter), objected to the verdict, but her protest was overruled by council chairman Count Veger. As a result, Jak was banished to the Wasteland, with Daxter and Pecker volunteering to stick with Jak. Before departure, Ashelin Praxis handed Jak a homing beacon, which a king of the Wasteland city of Spargus found. He took Jak into his palace to recuperate, and when Jak woke up, the king made him prove his worth in arena battles. Jak eventually won enough battles to be titled an official "Wastelander", and was described by Damas to be "one of [his] finest warriors."
Eventually Jak was invited back to Haven City to help with the war effort. Initially Jak refused, as he was bitter towards being betrayed by his city, but with the oncoming of the "Dark Makers" and the ongoing threats at Haven, he decided it best to reconnect with his allies. While there, he defended a Freedom League headquarters twice from KG Death Bot attacks, and he and Daxter were also able to reconnect the southern HQ to the northern HQ, as they had been blocked off from one another by KG Death Bot territorial barriers. After confronting Cyber Errol, leader of the KG Death Bots, the resurgent metal heads, and communicator with the Dark Makers, Jak managed to destroy the KG war factory that mass-produced the death bots. This, together with Errol's ultimate defeat in the Wasteland, helped Haven emerge victorious and Jak was once again acknowledged as savior of the city. He also saved the world by activating the Planetary Defense System at the fabled "Precursor Core" to destroy the Dark Makers' ship that threatened to ruin the planet. Afterwards, Jak was invited by the Precursors to explore his universe, though Jak declined in favor of staying with Daxter, just as had happened vice versa in the beginning of the game.
During the game, Damas was revealed to be Jak's father. Young Jak, that had been sent into the past in the second game, was said to be Damas' son on the king's death bed. Just after Damas' final breath, Jak realized the relationship, which Veger confirmed. In the following games, Jak X: Combat Racing and The Lost Frontier, Jak can be heard uttering "this is for Damas!" at various points in the story.
Jak X: Combat Racing
A year after the War for Haven City, Jak, Daxter, Keira, Ashelin, and Torn were invited to Kras City to read the final will of the late ganglord Krew. There, they met Krew's daughter Rayn. Krew's holographic will described that the drinks they had just consumed as a toast were poisoned, and that the only way to win the antidote is to win the Kras City Grand Championship in the sport of combat racing. After several races, including death matches, lap races, and other types of events, Jak eventually won the entire race, to the frustration of the ganglords that ran the sport under ground. The group won the antidote and were saved, and Rayn was revealed to be partially behind it the whole time. Rayn escaped and the group returned to Haven.
The Lost Frontier
After an unknown amount of time following the events of Jak X: Combat Racing, Jak's planet had suddenly stopped producing eco, the lifeblood of the entire universe. Jak, Daxter, and Keira began a quest on the other side of the world at a place known as the Brink in search of a new source of eco. While there, they met a band of Eco Pirates who were in a war with the Aeropans. After realizing the Aeropan's corruption, the group sided with the Eco Pirates. They eventually acquired the Eco Sphere and all of its components, which was said to point to any major source of eco. It eventually led them to the Eco Core, which they were able to stabilize and return energy to the planet, stopping the "eco storms" that threatened to "tear the world apart." Jak also destroyed the Aeropans in their conquest for dark eco (so as to shape the world to their liking), not dissimilar from Gol and Maia and Cyber Errol defeated in previous games. After re-stabilization, Jak and Keira decided to explore the Brink and beyond.
In the spin-off game Daxter, in which Daxter was the main protagonist, Jak appeared a few times for plot continuity. He also, often along with Daxter, appeared as a cameo in many other games, including Ratchet & Clank, Hot Shots Golf Fore!, and the Naughty Dog-developed games Uncharted and The Last of Us. He also appeared as a playable character in PlayStation All Stars and PlayStation Move Heroes.
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- Naughty Dog Inc (2014). The Art of Naughty Dog. Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 9781616554774.
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- Naughty Dog Inc (October 14, 2003). "Jak II". PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Naughty Dog Inc (November 9, 2004). "Jak 3". PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- IGN (12 May 2004). "E3 2004: Jak III - Hands-on". Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- Naughty Dog Inc (December 3, 2001). "Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy". PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment.
- Ashelin: The Council's meeting tonight in emergency session. Rumblings about you, Jak. It doesn't look good. They think your friendship with Krew helped the Metal Heads get into the city. Jak: You don't believe that do you? - Naughty Dog Inc (2003) "Jak 3" Sony Computer Entertainment Level/area: Prologue (Flashback)
- Veger: By order of the Grand Council of Haven City, for heinous acts and crimes against the people, you are hereby banished to the Wasteland for life. Ashelin: This is a death sentence, Veger. There must be another way. Veger: Your protest was overruled! This dark eco freak is dangerous! Now drop the cargo! - Naughty Dog Inc (2003) "Jak 3" Sony Computer Entertainment Level/area: Prologue
- Damas: Our minds think alike. My monks say the world is coming to an end, but I am a survivor. I say we live on long after this world dies! Be ready. You are shaping up to be one of my finest warriors, and I'll need you for the trials ahead. I mustn't lose you... like I lost my son. - Naughty Dog Inc (2003) "Jak 3" Sony Computer Entertainment Level/area: Defend Spargus' Front Gate
- High Impact Games (November 3, 2009). "Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier". PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment.