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Naughty Dog set the tone for the decade with 'Jak & Daxter'

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"It was really, really crazy..." Andy Gavin, Naughty Dog

jak & daxter
jak & daxter

Just over a decade ago, Naughty Dog released Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, a game that set the studio's tone for the next decade.

These days, developer Naughty Dog is best known for its Uncharted series of games, and the upcoming The Last of Us, but just over a decade ago, the studio released Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, a game that set the studio's tone for the next decade, studio co-founder Andy Gavin told the Official PlayStation blog.

Jak & Daxter was Naughty Dog's first PlayStation 2 game, and the studio wanted to use the console's power to create a "good-looking, free roaming 3D," which Gavin said wasn't possible on the original PlayStation. When the studio began work on the game in 1999, it developed Jak & Daxter in a custom-made programming language called GOAL, which Gavin designed.

Developing its own tools allowed Naughty Dog to offer "load-free seamless-world" technology that streamed from the disk, for which he received a patent. But it also extended the development cycle.

"It was really, really crazy and basically took us about 20 months just on the engineering side before the engine was able to produce the kind of levels we wanted," he said.

More than anything else, Gavin remains proud of the integration of story and gameplay, which he sees in Naughty Dog games today.

"This comes to full fruition in Jak 2, and continues peerlessly today in newer Naughty Dog games like Uncharted," he said. "Jak has a detailed and involved story, but it’s never a semi-interactive movie, it’s a video game! The storytelling does not come at the expense of the gameplay."