A leading Naughty Dog developer has revealed the frustration he felt at some of the gameplay mechanics introduced by the studio’s popular PS2 platformer, Jak II: Renegade.
During an in-depth interview with GamesRadar on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, game director Bruce Straley spoke of the importance of “building up mechanics that you can use again and again” throughout a series, before citing Jak II as an example of how not to create such systems effectively.
Straley, who served as an artist on the Jak & Daxter series, recalled his frustrations that a protagonist-ridden rocket was introduced during one level in the game, with players having to invest a lot time in learning the intricacies of its mechanics, and even more in trial and error – only for said rocket never to appear again. He said: “I didn’t like the design process in Jak II; it didn’t feel like there were really systems. It was the first time I got angry about our own development internally.”
Straley added that the developer has since turned to more “systemic approaches” when designing games like Uncharted and The Last of Us, describing its processes as being “a constant evolution”.
For more information on the seminal Jak and Daxter series and all things Naughty Dog, you should check out our recent series that explores the history of the Santa Monica-based developer.