The Long and Hopeful Road to a New Jak and Daxter

The last mainline Jak and Daxter game released over a decade ago, but maybe there's hope to be found! With a new assortment of remasters released for the PS4, could the wait for a new Jak and Daxter game finally be ending?

The Long and Hopeful Road to a New Jak and Daxter


It has been just over 14 years since the original release of the last home console Jak and Daxter in the main series of games. Jak 3 released on the PlayStation 2 in November of 2004 and has subsequently been remastered and re-released several times on newer consoles. Naughty Dog‘s last Jak and Daxter effort was Jak X: Combat Racing, a spinoff from the main series that followed up on a few story arcs from Jak 3, and was released less than a year after Jak 3 in October of 2005. After this, two games developed by different studios were released: Daxter on PSP in 2006 and Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier in 2009. Daxter followed the events that Daxter experienced before rescuing Jak in Jak 2. Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier takes place after Jak X: Combat Racing and makes some largely unwelcome changes to the Jak and Daxter formula. We haven’t had a full-fledged game since Jak 3.  

Fan clamoring reached a fever pitch around the time that Naughty Dog revealed that they had kicked around some ideas and art regarding a possible reboot for the franchise in 2014. Fans were largely taken aback by the art that was released, showing designs for a more photo-realistic world and characters, but were excited that the franchise had not been completely abandoned.  

The simple fact that Naughty Dog released their artwork for a proposed Jak and Daxter game came as a bittersweet pill to fans. It indicated that the new management and project leads were still open to working on the franchise after Naughty Dog Co-Founder and Jak and Daxter co-creator, Jason Rubin, left the company. That’s the sweet part. The bitter part is that there is no new Jak and Daxter game.  

The Long and Hopeful Road to a New Jak and Daxter. Jak 4 Reboot

With the official retirement of Nathan Drake from the Uncharted franchise, the future of the series is a bit uncertain. So much of Uncharted was defined by Nathan Drake. It was his story and it was elegantly wrapped up at the end of Uncharted 4. It’s quite possible that it could be continued with games featuring Drake’s brother Sam or even another game with Chloe and/or Nadine, but I think like many fans, Naughty Dog is beginning to feel worn down by the Uncharted franchise. They have been working almost non-stop on it for 12 years, after all. This was more or less echoed by none other than Evan Wells, the current co-president, who said in an interview with Game Informer that they don’t have any plans to continue Uncharted serially since Nathan Drake’s story has ended.  

Typically, Naughty Dog splits their workforce into a large production team that is focused on a game that is in full development and a small pre-production team to work on their next project. Currently, the only thing we explicitly know of that Naughty Dog is working on is The Last of Us Part II, leaving room to speculate about what their pre-production team is doing. With the 2017 digital release of the remastered Jak and Daxter games on PS4, the even more recent limited physical releases of the games for PS4, and the renewed interest in the franchise, it’s the prime time for Naughty Dog to reveal a full-fledged sequel or reboot.

The Jak and Daxter Trilogy

The Jak and Daxter series began with Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy which released in 2001 for the PlayStation 2, expanding upon the 3D platforming traditions of Crash Bandicoot that cemented Naughty Dog in video game infamy.

By all means Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was well within already established tropes of 3D action platforming games like Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, and even Super Mario 64. It had over the top characters and enemies, a large, colorful world with many areas that offered unique platforming experiences, and a tongue in cheek attitude (mostly provided by banter between Daxter and Samos the Sage of Green Eco).  

Despite the critical and commercial success of Jak and Daxter, Naughty Dog saw a changing game landscape with the release of more seriously toned games like Grand Theft Auto and felt they had to keep pace by taking a different approach with the sequel. Jak II released in October of 2003 and had been changed substantially from its predecessor. In The Precursor Legacy, Jak was a very typical 3D action platformer protagonist. He was mute, young, naive, but supernaturally talented and chosen by Samos to save the world. At the beginning of Jak II, we see our friends (Jak, Daxter, Samos, and his daughter Keira) goofing around with a precursor device when things suddenly go wrong. This results in the crew being thrown into another world and Jak being captured and subsequently tortured and experimented on. This, in turn, leads to a dramatic change of character for Jak. Separating himself from the protagonists of Ratchet and Clank, Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, and Sly Cooper, Jak transforms into a true anti-hero wanting nothing more than to exact revenge on his torturer, Baron Praxis. Jak II took on a more serious bent, but it left the humor and silliness from the first game intact. About a year after Jak II, Jak 3 released and continued the balance between seriousness and comedy that was previously established.

Post Trilogy

After Jak 3, the franchise began to suffer from an identity crisis, spawning a series of spin-offs that had varying success. Jak X: Combat Racing (the last Jak and Daxter game developed by Naughty Dog) was a spin-off racing game that took place after Jak 3 and expanded on it in some fun and interesting ways. Daxter was a spin-off developed by Ready at Dawn that followed Daxter on his quest to find and rescue Jak over the two years that he was being tortured by Baron Praxis. Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier tried to start a new arc involving Keira becoming an Eco sage and the team’s attempt to stem a worldwide Eco shortage. Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier ran into some trouble during development. Naughty Dog was initially working on it (presumably as a spin-off because it was intended for the PSP), but was having difficulty finding time for it while working on Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, so they passed development off to High Impact Games.

The Long and Hopeful Road to a New Jak and Daxter. Jak X: Combat Racing
The Lost Frontier had some pretty interesting story arcs, particularly the one dealing with Keira becoming an Eco sage as it had come up in previous games that she should follow in her father’s footsteps. These story arcs are fertile territory, but I didn’t find them to have been executed particularly well, or at least not in Naughty Dog fashion. The Lost Frontier almost smacks of an Uncharted game with the opening featuring Jak, Daxter, and Keira traveling in an airship to find a new Eco source to replenish the world when they are hijacked by pirates looking to rob them of their Eco. Keira states that no one has any Eco and a classic action movie style fight ensues between Jak and the pirate leader on the wing of the airship. In addition, Jak feels too “friendly” in The Lost Frontier. From Jak II on he was the quintessential anti-hero. Speaking seldom, having few opinions, motivated more by his desire for revenge than his desire to save the world (which was more of an incidental consequence). In The Lost Frontier, the objective was to save the world and help Keira become a sage. There are dramatic reveals/monologues, unlikely alliances, melodramatic discussions about how dire the situation is, and a more subdued Keira. Not to mention an unflattering and artistically out of place redesign for her.


Hope for the Future

I’m going to be frank. I love the Uncharted series to death. I’ve played every game multiple times (with the exception of the mobile title), but I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the (mostly) real-world settings, the similar narratives involving treasure hunts gone wrong, and I’m tired of the action movie vibe that they exude. I’m also getting tired of the more dramatic bent that Naughty Dog has taken with its games in recent years. It would be refreshing to see another fantastical outing with the Jak and Daxter gang meeting strange and creative characters, living the mercenary life that they’ve established for themselves. In playing through the Jak and Daxter games again to prepare myself for this article, I’ve realized how well they’ve held up and how much I’ve truly missed colorful, funny, action-packed experiences like these.  

We’re at a point in video game history that is seeing a tragic death of these kinds of experiences (besides remakes and remasters). With the runaway success of Insomniac‘s Spider-Man, a sequel to the Ratchet and Clank reboot of 2016 seems like a far off dream. Sucker Punch is almost certain to never return to Sly Cooper after having given development duties to Sanzaru for the fourth entry in the series. And who knows if Sanzaru is even going to make another Sly Cooper? Maybe they’ll make a new Spyro because of their work on the Reignited Trilogy? The only big game that we know exists in this realm is Psychonauts 2. Most studios who created games like these in the past have moved on from them, seemingly never to return. Naughty Dog may be the one current exception. Even after about five years of not touching the Jak and Daxter series, they returned to try to do something with it in the form of the now defunct Jak 4 reboot. Their efforts ultimately didn’t bear fruit, but the growing attention to the re-releases of the trilogy (in limited physical form, no less) and Jak X: Combat Racing on PS4 could signal Naughty Dog‘s openness to developing a new Jak and Daxter.

The Long and Hopeful Road to a New Jak and Daxter. Jak and Daxter Collection
My hope for a new Jak and Daxter game is to continue the narrative and character traditions that were established in the original trilogy. Because it’s been 15 years since we’ve had a true main entry in the series, my standards are quite low. At this point, I would take a new game with Jak 3 assets and mechanics in a heartbeat.

The Reality

So, is Naughty Dog working on Jak and Daxter? What we know is that they’re working on The Last of Us Part II, and rumor has it that they had a casting call in October 2018 with a specific body/facial type in mind for the main protagonist in a game they’re supposedly working on that would be right at home in an Uncharted game. In addition to this, earlier in 2018, it was revealed that Sony had put together a new development team out of San Diego to work with a major Sony studio. Rumor has it that studio is none other than Naughty Dog. Based on the job listings cited in the post, it sounds like this new team is going to work on projects similar in scope to Uncharted. It makes sense to pass off the franchise, as Uncharted is a massive money maker for Sony, but Naughty Dog employees and management seem to have expressed disinterest in revisiting it anytime soon, as was seemingly alluded to by Evan Wells.

If it’s true that this new studio is working on the next Uncharted game, it leads me to believe that Naughty Dog is working on The Last of Us Part II and something else. Is the something else Jak 4? Rumors are in large supply, but there’s nothing out there with much credibility, let alone any information that’s concrete. With Sony having canceled PSX last year and with them skipping E3 this year, it’s anyone’s guess as to when information on Naughty Dog‘s next project will come out. Until the day that it does, I will cross my fingers and hold out hope that we finally see a new Jak and Daxter.


  1. Loved the Jak games when I was younger. Definitely looking back I find the first one the most enjoyable. It has a really cute and unique world that I think is squandered by the sequels. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good games, but they lack a certain innocent magic the first one had.

    Since there’s already so much timeline fuckery I would love for them to make a true sequel to the original game, in that bright and colorful world with little settlements dotting the landscape and these ancient ruins that feel like a post-post-apocalypse fantasy world.

    Would love to see a new threat take the reins, maybe have the story explore some of the old areas at first after undergoing big changes/ open up new sections of areas we couldn’t explore in the first game, and then slowly have the gang push even farther north, uncovering precursor mysteries. Take the concept of Keira becoming an eco sage that they explored in TLF and roll with it.

    People will immediately understand that it’s a return to the original just by using the Jak and Daxter title instead of simply Jak

    Subtitle it the Precursor Mystery or some such

  2. I love the jak series and I wish they’d continue the games. There’s so much potential they didn’t even scratch the surface. jak is Mar, cool well ok but how does he become this time traveling guru?? Does he ever rid himself of the dark form? And if he does, does it become his greatest enemy? Do the precursors ever come back for his help or do they send a distress call getting him back? Gol and Mia there have been rumors of them still being alive, will they come back much stronger then Jak? They did spend what a few hundred years in dark eco…… then there’s the Easter egg in lost frontier, others were experimented on with dark eco, sooooo where are they? Will there be a war of dark eco mutants? Will others like jak pop up able to manipulate eco? They did a really piss poor job working their own game series.

    • Jak’s name is Mar, but he himself is not the Mar of legend. It’s made clear that Mar is his ancestor. Ashelyn’s line at the end of 3 (“THE Mar?!”) might lead some to believe so, but I believe she was surprised because… (SPOILER WARNING FOR JAK 3)

      … She knew that Damas’s son’s name was Mar, leading her to make the connection in the moment once Jak reveals his birth name.

  3. I would be so happy to see a reboot of Jak & Daxter. So very Happy. An instant purchase from me if its a continuation of the main story ark and made by naughty dog. A truly wonderful game series. Make it happen and I die happy.

  4. I total agree I really wish we had a jak 4 series I love naughty dog just polish up your jak 3 mechanics 1080 60fps jak x is a pretty good game but jak grew up too fast… he was driving cars at 15-16 on jak II. On 3 he looks 18 19 fashure he still has his youth & keeps his serious attitude & daxter is that fresh of breath air with his cunning jokes & his mindless bragging. And for the LAST FRONTIER…..We forgive you. Just bring it back to how it was I’d by 4 copies just cause it’s Jak & Daxter. & the story was so unique the universe just seemed bigger the culture… first it was Lurkers & Plenty of fitted missions & bosses FITTED for every environment. Then it went to METAL HEADS… it was getting so REALLLL.. & then 3….. The KG WARBOTS & THE METAL HEADS… not too mention….. THE DARK MAKERS. Who can imagine a 12-13 year old take on dark makers… you guys had a good line up. But I accept uncharted it’s just jak & daxters was that good mix up of heroism, anti heroism, heroic mercenary.. the serious & yet that cutting edge of reassurance that a dynamic DUO is going to save the day with a strong comedy input from daxter. But all I’m saying is I understand money can be an issue… but it’s about making a game that people hold dear to there hearts.. that game series had a marketable impact. I would have like a precursor egg toy (Metal). Just had to apply it right…


    I’m team naughty dog 4Life.

    • Oh yeah & TIME TRAVEL IT WAS JUST SO GOOD & confusing… IT ALL MADE SINCE IN THE END ON 3 just keep jack 19 -or 21 with his hair the same or customized from 1-2-3… KEEP THE DOUBLE JUMP ADD 4 EXTRA FIRE ARMS FOR EACH ECO CLASS BLUE, RED, YELLOW, DARK(Peace maker) oh and just add harder bosses with a more sinister agendas & plenty of travel to different areas like Jak 3. Buy uprgeades for weapons vehicles… even costume. Just bring themmm backkkm

      • I would love to see a Jak 4 with the same level of (or more) freedom, but adding depth to the world with “sidequests” and interactable NPCs outside the main story cutscenes. Add some more stories to give the world more depth, add some kind of rewards for exploring that include bits of lore, and damn, that could be an amazing game.

    • If by “precursor egg” you are referring to the orbs you collect throughout the main trilogy (and not the Precursor Stone in Acts 2 & 3 of Jak II), the Limited Run Games Collector’s Edition of the first game came with a 3″ Precursor Orb replica made of metal. I have all 4 collector’s editions and can definitely say they’re worth the asking price (not necessarily the resell price though).

  5. God, please

  6. Hey Naughty Dog I just want to say thank you for your amazing Jak and Daxter games. Mainly Jak and Daxter, Jak 2, and Jak 3 for ps2. Ever sense I was a little kid I love to play these games and in fact I still play them to this day. I have three brothers, two older brothers and a little brother. We all love the Jak and Daxter games and we love the creativity you put in your games. From the very difficult quest, to the great story telling and characters. I know I’m asking for a long shot here but we all would love to see another Jak and Daxter game. I still tear up everytime I beat the games knowing that I may never see a new one. I would love to see what Jak has in store for him. Just please look back into the games. I know the creators really touched up on all the great things in the games, and I would love to to see more of what they could make out of a new Jak and Daxter game. My brothers and I love these games so much and we still hope to see a new Jak and Daxter game to come soon. Thank you for your time Naughty Dog.

  7. Bring back Jak and Daxter

  8. Gosh I really hope they make a new jak and daxter and just pretend that the lost frontier never happened. Even if its released on the next generation of consoles I would still love to see more jak and daxter in my lifetime! Naughty dog really needs to do something with jak and daxter and keep those iconic characters alive.

    • Even if it were to have the same old PS2 Jak 3 graphics but upscaled to 1080p, if it had the same spirit as the main trilogy and (hopefully although this might be a long shot) Mike Erwin and Max Casella to voice act Jak and Daxter, and developed on the formula about as much as Jak 3 did on II’s formula, I’d eat it right up. Although ideally I’d love to see a truly current-gen, actual Jak & Daxter game with the same depth we’d expect from the best games of today.


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