Jak 4 was an open world platforming third person, shooter adventure game that was being developed by naughty dog and published by sony entertainment. The game was set to reboot the jack franchise for the next generation of consoles.
However, the game was cancelled shortly into the development cycle and naughty dog instead went to work on uncharted and last of us, even though the game was cancelled early in the development process, there is still a lot of public information and art that we can use to Piece together, what we know about the game and potentially some story elements and returning characters as well as always all the sources will be linked in the description below so make sure to check those out and support those original writers, and with that out of the way, Let’s, get into why jak4 was cancelled, [ Music ], let’s start with some history of the franchise.
The last main numbered entry for the series was released in 2004 in the form of jak 3, which does sound very old. Saying it out loud that the last numbered entry was in 2004, but the ending of jack 3 implies that jack is the mar.
The community is still not in agreement. Whether jack is the mar or potentially a descendant of mar and most assume that the ending would have been discussed further in future titles. If you don’t know, the mar is a historical figure in the franchise who’s, a hero of legend essentially and that’s.
Really all you need to know so it’s been debated whether there was some time travel or how it would work. If he’s, a descendant or the actual person himself. Now we did get a follow-up to jack 3 in the form of jack x, combat racing in 2005 and then eventually jack and daxter, the lost frontier in 2009, which did continue the story.
But the latter game was not developed by naughty dog and was instead outsourced to high impact games, which we will touch on a little later and because of this, the game did not have big story implications for the universe as much so as the numbered entries, especially Because high impact was most likely playing it safe due to them not being the original creators and, up to this point, every game that was released in the jack franchise had been done on a single console, the playstation 2, which was a dual edged sword.
It helped naughty dog, understand the technology inside and out which led to optimized games, but the flip side was. It also led to problems when development started on the next generation of consoles.
The playstation, 3 and naughty dog openly voiced their problems in their art of naughty dog book and the exact quote said: imagine the two co-founders of naughty dog passing the torch to new management.
We were switching to brand new rendering technology with the extraordinarily complicated hardware architecture of the ps3 and literally building our entire code base up from scratch. Dozens of new proposals thrown out months and months of tool work completely scrapped and for three or four months straight.
No fewer than one employee quitting every week as they lost hope. We’d, pull out of our slump throughout this time. Naughty dog had a choice to make the team either had to focus their time on uncharted 2 or jack and daxter the lost frontier.
The team did not have the capacity at the time to do both. As we know now, naughty dog did end up, choosing, uncharted and then gave high impact games. The lead development title on the lost frontier, which members of the team have now voiced their regrets over sam thompson, a producer at naughty dog said at the time it looked like high impact games was going to be able to do a pretty good job with it.
I don’t want to say anything disparaging of them. I like the guys at high impact, but if we had to do it all over again, we would have done some things differently in the execution of the lost frontier.
I’m, not happy with that being jack, swann song. I think we could have done a lot better, and this feeling at naughty dog is what launched the development into revisiting the jack franchise and giving another true numbered sequel in the form of jack iv.
And that kind of leads us right into the actual development of the game, which we know now started in late 2009 or early 2010 and naughty dog themselves were going to work on the game. They weren’t going to give it to high impact games or any other studio, and at this time they’d, actually bulked up their studio enough to work on two games at once and early on.
It was decided that the team wanted to reboot the game they wanted to overhaul the graphics and bring the characters into a new world. The two leads that were being assigned to the project were neil drunkman, who is a massive creative force at naughty dog and had previously worked on other games in the jack franchise and bruce straley.
Who worked as an artist on many of the jack games and went on as a game director role at naughty dog for their other non-jack related titles? So these were two powerhouses at naughty dog who were both passionate about working on this new jack franchise? And during this time, a lot of concept art was created to flesh out the world and give the developers an idea of what a realistic and gritty jack and daxter could look like a lot of the concept.
Art has been released through art station and the art of naughty dog book. So let’s, break down some of the art. So as we get into the concept art, the first few pieces come from kim peace, which show a few different images of what looks like jack, in mostly action scenes and in different areas.
Two of the images have a big steampunk vibe and there were discussions around the first picture, which some fans thought were photoshopped, because another version of this image is available online without jack and daxter and is actually being used as a cover to a book.
But it was later figured out that, yes, this image was included in the naughty dog art book, so it is confirmed to be real and he most likely just resold the art after a fourth image that isn’t also confirmed to be for jack.
4 was made in 2010, the same year. Jak4 was in early development, and the community has speculated that. This art could be for an updated hellcat design, which is just another vehicle in the game and once again, is a completely different design than what we’ve.
Seen in the past, then we can move on to craig elliot who’s. Another concept, artist who is tasked with working on the jack reboot all of his art, was done for a city in the game and is the most experimental out of any of the r for the game.
The community has speculated that this could be for a rebooted gritty haven city. Obviously, none of this is confirmed, but it is a guess and would be one of the main areas. Naughty dog would want concept art for when going through the pre-development phase, and there was also some art release from scribble pad studios.
We get two more looks at different city concepts, but once again the design keeps the gears and has a more medieval vibe fixed in. So it’s, definitely leaning into that steampunk with medieval, and it looks like this could be potentially another take on haven city as well that same concept, design studio also worked on some updated designs for jack, which is a big deviation from what the Character looked like in previous games, i have seen comparisons to this new design to anime or the final fantasy series.
But i really don’t, mind it and it’s. Only concept, art and most likely would have changed in the actual game engine and the final jack concept to me looks like what would have been the closest to the final design and the design i like best.
The image is from the naughty dog art book and includes some additional details about the game. The caption says the jack and daxter franchise holds a special place in many hearts at naughty dog and among us fans the impulse to revisit that would be very attractive and something we wholeheartedly explored before coming up with the last of us, they continued on saying what Would a realistic, distinctively non-cartoony jack look like we struggled with that idea for many months before realizing it might not work out on another page in the book.
We also get a look at some alien and robot designs that were done as well, and they all look good and kind of fit. This theme they were going for with this new franchise and another is an ink style artwork of jack.
The most interesting thing about this piece of art is that actually has the jack and daxter 4 logo instead of the jack 4 logo. It’s, not huge, but it’s worth pointing out and potentially means they were considering different titles.
Again, there was an additional page of miscellaneous artwork and the only reason i bring it up is because some fans have speculated that the top right artwork could be for ashland, not necessarily because they look alike, but more so because this could be the new design.
They were taking with the crimson guard, but obviously has never been confirmed, but i tend to believe that this is probably true and then finally, we get the artwork for daxter, which looked very different than anything else.
We have seen from the character in past games in the description for the concept art says as a wise, cracking, anthropomorphic, outsell, half otter, half weasel a realistic daxter needs to have all of the adorableness of a puppy, but the edge of a foxy jokester exaggerated hands.
In a bushy, playful tale were absolutely necessary and, once again i liked the direction they were taking the character in some of these designs, i, like some more than others, but it’s, just interesting to see a different art direction for the game.
So now let’s, touch on what happened to the game and why it was cancelled. Neil druckmann attended, igda toronto in 2013 and gave a presentation, and during the keynote he showed additional jack for concept, art and talked about the project and why? The team didn’t end up moving forward with their designs.
So let’s play the clip. Let’s. Let’s, start branching out. Let’s, create the second team, so they put bruce straley, who’s, game director and uncharted 2, and i on the second project, and our task was – and this is the first time we’re – showing this to reboot.
This game, jack and daxter – and these are some of the concepts from that project uh. So we spent a long time kind of exploring the world of jack and daxter and um. How would we reboot it? What would it mean to bring these characters back? What are some story? Ideas that we’re, getting excited by uh here’s, some more stuff, so number two is pretty cool where you see them fishing um and as much as we like.
A lot of these concepts and kind of exploring this fantastical world, we found the ideas we’re, passionate about were kind of getting away from what jack and daxter was, and we’re questioning is like.
Are we doing this for marketing reason and naming something, jack and dexter when it’s, not really jack and daxter or um? Are we really passionate about it and the answer was like we felt it was more for marketing and we just again, we felt like we weren’t doing service to what the fans of this franchise really like, even if the reinvented dexter is pretty.
Damn good looking, so we went to our boss and said: do we have to do this and he said no, i thought it would just be easier for you guys if you started with something, but if you want to do something else, come up with something else.
So we’re like awesome, and we left the office and bruce, and i looked at each other and were like okay now. What do we do, and this, for the most part, was a good enough reason for fans if the team didn’t feel they would do the title justice and could give a hundred percent of what the fans wanted.
They knew they shouldn’t make it, and instead they should make something they were passionate about. Unfortunately, for many years, naughty dog was quiet about the cancellation and many fans were left in the dark about the future of these characters.
In 2012, neil druckmann gave an interview with game informer and gave additional details on the development process of jak4 and elaborated further than just in that keynote on why the game was cancelled.
Druckman goes on to say that jak4 was going to be influenced by uncharted and they wanted to use uncharted style, narrative techniques and wanted jack and daxter in the same realistic style, which would involve the game moving away from the slapstick in comic book tone.
Now this is really interesting because it gives our first idea on what the game would have looked like and it sounds like yeah. It would have been jack and daxter basically set with uncharted and would have been a mixture of the two which sounds interesting to say.
The least his exact quote says we dug around trying to find the core of jack and daxter, who are the characters we had to reboot it essentially, every time we got excited about an idea, we take a step back and look at it and be like it’s, not jack and daxter.
Are we just slapping the name on it for marketing reasons? There’s, a lot of baggage that comes with daxter? If he’s, not light-hearted and slap-sticky and fun, then he’s, not daxter to the fans. We were thinking what, if he’s, mute what if he’s this, we had all these ideas that made daxter interesting, but then we were still trying to be creative within the box of, i have a rodent on my shoulder.
It started feeling like a compromise. The more we tried to make jack and daxter like we wanted to it. Didn’t feel like things were matching up, so we have folders and folders filled with scrapped ideas.
Any closed, saying, never say never. It could happen naughty dog’s, got a long history and i think it ‘ S got a long future. So to say we’ll, never go back, is kind of crazy, but right now we ‘
Ve got the last of us that we’re, definitely going to be supporting. I guess there’s, a possibility that the uncharted team could move on to jack and daxter. It’s still up in the air, but i wouldn’t think that’s going to happen, because i think we’d, run into all of the same problems with that team that we did with this Team and now let’s talk about even more recently if the game could return.
In an interview in 2017, ign spoke to sony president andrew house and asked about the return of the crash or the jack series house said it’s. Never off the table, it’s, not too much time passing, but it’s.
Some issues we’ve explored with the jag game. Is it something that makes sense to us? Now? I mean we still have people that worked on the crash games in the studio. We never forget our pass and it’d, be great for nostalgic reasons.
It’d, be the same reason as why there isn’t a jack four. I don’t know if it’s playing to our strengths right now, and he continued on saying it comes back to our decision making process whether it feels right with jack.
At the time we were really focused on making games grounded in a stylized but realistic world, and if you tried to transfer jack to that, you’d, lose a lot of what made him special it doesn’t mean, though, that at No point in the future: will we get good at making stylized artificial universes, however, and then it will work – and this is not too surprising – i don’t, think sony or naughty dog are against remaking jack, but won’t do so.
Unless someone comes up with a great pitch or idea which potentially could come at any time – and it just takes a certain developer to have that vision and know how to execute the game further, so i don’t think either parties sony or naughty Dog want to keep the franchise on hiatus, but after spending development, time and resources early on in the 2010s working on it, it just doesn’t make sense now.
So let’s close by discussing. If there’s, anything the community should expect in 2021 and beyond. Well, one year ago, limited run games released a special ps4 physical edition of jack and daxter jack 2 jack 3 and jack x.
Combat racing and if anyone purchased either all of the standard or collector’s, editions of the games, they would receive a collectible mock case for jakk4. The case itself also included an exclusive code for a ps4 theme and it included on the case some concept, art and a description for the game.
On the back, i’m, going to read the description just because i think it’s. Interesting to see what naughty dog wanted to include, they said the year was 2010 as naughty dog considered their next big thing.
Many paths forward were explored, including a new chapter for intrepid heroes, jack and daxter. Some of these early visions were lush wide open in teeming with life, others were narrower endlessly, inviting in the end, these became the foundations for an exciting metamorphosis which would take fans on a new uncharted adventure that would span the next decade.
This release leads me to believe that sony is not actively working on jak4, because i don’t think they would have released this cover and approved it if they were recently working on the game, because i think it would just confuse fans further if They released a special edition box, but then within a year or two released, a true sequel to jack iv.
It just doesn’t, make sense to me unless they rebooted the title altogether and dropped the four and made the next jack just called jack, or potentially even jack and daxter. Now, even more recently, there have been rumors and speculation that sony is working on jack again, potentially in the form of game remakes for the ps5.
I don’t want to spend any time discussing it here, but i’ll, leave a link in the description below that you guys can read up on, and there are a lot of videos discussing if we will get potential remakes for The ps5 some sort of reboot the rumors are always circulating and i think, if anything, it just shows sony that there’s still interest in a community around this title.
So, in the coming years i wouldn’t expect to see anything soon on the franchise. I could see sony eventually remaking the jack games, even for the ps5, that’s, not out of the question, but it will take a decent amount of development time to remake all of the games.
And i see jack iv out of the question. At least for the coming years, so that’s, why jak 4 was cancelled and where i’m going to end this video make sure to like and share subscribe for weekly gaming videos, and i will see you guys in the next One