Jak and Daxter was easily one of the greatest and most popular video game series from the PlayStation 2 era. Created by Naughty Dog, the same development studio behind Crash Bandicoot, Uncharted, and The Last of US, Jak and Daxter was a defining franchise for the PS2 that followed the adventures of a courageous young man and his goofy best friend as they battled evil sages, giant monsters, corrupt rulers, robots, and gang lords to save the world.
The series mostly consisted of story-based platformers, with the exception of a multiplayer racing game. The story was unique, the worldbuilding was expansive and well-thought out, the characters were memorable, and the gameplay was phenomenal. However, Jak and his hilarious sidekick never made the leap onto other consoles beyond the PS2, other than appearing in other franchises like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale or as a cameo in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart.
It’s especially sad that the series didn’t continue considering the story never felt as complete as it could. Jak 3 did have a rather grand finale where Jak discovered he was the prophetic hero known as Mar, found his birth father, and had the opportunity to travel the cosmos with the Precursors but decided to stay with Daxter and their other friends, Sig and Ashelin became leaders of various cities, and Daxter got pants. However, Jak says himself at the end that they have many more adventures ahead.
Jak X: Combat Racing released after Jak 3 and furthered the plot. However, it leaves things rather open-ended. Rayn, the daughter of the crime lord Krew, reveals that she’s taking over the family business and claims control of Kras City’s crime world. With an army of criminals in her control, she drives off without ever getting caught or being harmed. The game’s story just sort of ends after that. There’s still crime to be fought and cities to protect, but that’s more or less where the series ends. There is The Lost Frontier, but it’s safe to say we all know that doesn’t count.
The titular heroes have plenty of work to do, but we never see anything come of it. New games in the series would be worth it to see what happens next after the events of Jak X: Combat Racing, among other reasons like a return to the exciting gameplay, revisiting the iconic characters, and exploring this unique world even further. A new Jak and Daxter game could easily follow a story involving Jak and Daxter taking on Rayn and her goons while dealing with the inner conflict of knowing they were once friends. They could even introduce a new monstrous threat in place of the Lurkers and Metalheads from the previous games to keep the science fiction/fantasy feel.
Unfortunately, there’s no Jak and Daxter news in sight, and there probably won’t be anytime soon. Many years ago, Naughty Dog had started development on Jak 4 after Daxter had released on the PlayStation Portable. However, the hardware used in game development evolved, and Naughty Dog took on a brand new engine that they eventually used for Uncharted and The Last of Us. Obviously, there are many similarities between those two more recent franchises that don’t quite fit what fans want from Jak and Daxter. There was concept art that was revealed showing what the titular duo would look like in the new engine, and as cool looking as it is, it’s far from what Jak and Daxter should be. Like Uncharted and the Last of Us, the characters look realistic rather than cartoony. At that rate, they’d be better off creating something similar but new. Hopefully they are able to find a way to bring the beloved heroes back on modern consoles.
Whether it be by Naughty dog or another Sony-owned developer, now is the perfect time to resurrect the Jak and Daxter series. Other series, like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, have both received successful remake trilogies that made the characters popular after not being as relevant for quite some time. The same could easily be done for Jak and Daxter instead of just keeping the original games on the PlayStation store, which is currently the case. Crash Bandicoot even got a new sequel because of how well the N. Sane Trilogy sold. If a Jak and Daxter remake trilogy does well enough, maybe that could finally lead to the release of the long-awaited sequel.
Ratchet & Clank has often been seen as a counterpart series to Jak and Daxter. However, Ratchet & Clank games are still releasing with the most recent, Rift Apart, coming out earlier this year on the PlayStation 5. Ratchet & Clank’s continued popularity proves that modern sequels to these PS2-originated mascot games still have a place. People are still interested in them. If anything, a potential Jak and Daxter sequel could use Rift Apart’s success to build interest. Plus, imagine what developers could do with Jak and Daxter using modern hardware. The possibilities are endless.
It’s a bit of a bummer that there can be new Ratchet & Clank games, but the same can’t be said for other Sony mascot titles like Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, and Ape Escape. Jak and Daxter is without a doubt one of the reasons Naughty Dog and Sony were able to reach the heights they’re at now, so it’s a shame it’s not getting the attention it deserves. Sony and Naughty Dog need to realize that now is the perfect opportunity for a new installment in the Jak and Daxter lineup.