Neil Druckmann has confirmed at his IGDA keynote that The Last of Us team – which were separate from the people making Uncharted – were originally working on a new Jak & Daxter title, rather than a brand new IP.
“Our task was… and this is the first time we’re showing this, to reboot Jak & Daxter. And these are some of the concepts.”
“So we spent a lot of time exploring the world of Jak & Daxter,” Druckmann continues, before saying that they spent a lot of time exploring these concepts and this “fantastical world”. They soon found that their best ideas were getting away from Jak, and questioned whether that it was for marketing reasons that they were using the Jak & Daxter prefix.
They felt as though they weren’t serving the fans, even if the redesigned Daxter “was pretty good looking” and essentially asked their boss whether they needed to do it. His answer was no, and that it would just be easier for them to start with something, but they could go ahead and do something else if they wanted.
That led to The Last of Us, ideas of which had their roots back in 2004, and involved George Romero, the father of zombie films, who played Druckmann’s zombie game prototype, which formed the basis for The Last of Us once he revisited the characters later in a comic book.
It’s quite impressive to see how this game came to be, and the full keynote is an hour and twenty minutes long. If the above embed doesn’t work for you, you can watch it over on YouTube here.