Been Stalking Jak

Naughty Dog's creative director Daniel Arey discusses the structure, narrative, vehicles and weapons, amongst other things, of Jak & Daxter's latest and perhaps final adventure.

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It's been a turbulent year for Jak so far. First there were since refuted reports of his demise, then we discovered that his latest adventure sees him expelled from Haven City and left almost for dead in the surrounding wasteland, having failed to guide the city through a resurgence of Metal Head forces. Nevertheless, we're not giving up on him, and we're looking forward very much to the third - and perhaps concluding - chapter in his development. Speaking in a Sony-directed Q&A session prior to E3, Naughty Dog creative director Daniel Arey offers some insight into what we can expect. And of course you can find our thoughts on the game, including comments from Naughty Dog's game directors Evan Wells and Amy Hennig, by heading here.

Sony: Jak II was a mission-based action game. Does Jak III use the same system, with various characters asking you to complete various tasks? If yes, in which way will you improve the concept?

Daniel Arey: In Jak II we used cinematics to reward the player when they solved a challenge, and also to give them new information about the story and what challenges await. Jak 3 will also have a complete story where characters interact with Jak and Daxter to help them solve the mystery of the game. For Jak 3 we are adding an even more cinematic film feel, lots of special effects, and characters that both delight and intrigue, and as I said before, we will be answering many of the dramatic questions about Jak's universe and his past.

Sony: Can you tell us more about weapons? Can we expect upgrades for each gun, something similar to what's done in Ratchet & Clank ? It would be great...

Daniel Arey: In addition to Metal Heads and KG robots, Jak and Daxter will be facing a much greater threat in Jak 3. This threat is so dangerous and deadly that Jak needs significantly bigger and better guns to survive. Jak will be able to upgrade each of his weapons multiple times during the game. But to keep with the faster action platform feel of our game, Jak will not need to search a menu for his weapon selection. Instead, Jak had four weapon types, each selectable on a different arrow of the D-Pad (like in Jak II). By hitting each D-Pad arrow Jak can quickly cycle through the gun modes and get at the nasty hardware he needs quickly even as he runs! Jak 3 is first and foremost a fast action gun game!

Sony: Same question, now about vehicles: we saw the Buggy in action, but we'd like to know more about other stuff. Is there flying machine, robots, etc?

Daniel Arey: If you remember, Jak was a racer from the very first game. We added many vehicles in Jak II, and we will continue that tradition in a big way in Jak 3. Jak will get a wide array of new vehicle types - Off-road vehicles, hover vehicles, animal riding vehicles, a cool super fast subway vehicle, and yes, even high and fast flying air machines. This game is all about collecting big boy toys, and there will plenty to bring a smile to everyone's face.

Sony: We saw the first pictures of Light Jak: okay, now the guy can fly, but does he have any other powers? Is there still a "Dark" Jak or something like that?

Daniel Arey: Jak is evolving into something even his closest allies did not expect. This somehow has to do with the Precursor's and their plans. Jak will retain his Dark Jak powers, and even add a few, as well as get a whole new array of Light Powers to balance his dark side. Balancing Yin and Yang, makes Jak something special in his universe.

Sony: Online gaming is the future of entertainment: is there any chance to play Jak 3 online? If yes, what kind of challenges can we expect?

Daniel Arey: Jak 3 is designed as a huge action epic to be experienced personally by each player at his or her own speed. This game has so many unique play types, vehicles, and items, to realize such a huge and detailed universe of this magnitude, we had to put all of our resources into this single experience, therefore Jak 3 will not have an on-line component.

Sony: We know that Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games are really close: can we expect, sooner or later, Jak and Ratchet will meet together in the same game?

Daniel Arey: You may have noticed in Jak II and Ratchet and Clank 2, that there already were references to each other's games (For example, in Jak II you could find a poster of Ratchet hanging in the city) But to your point, if Jak and Ratchet ever do hook up, I pity the pantheon of bad guys and scum! Our two super heroes would mop up the galaxy and then go looking in alternate universes to kick even more butt! Heck, they'd probably come hunting for me! Still, you never know when big ears and big guns will get together!

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