Jak and Daxter: 21st Century Captain Planet?

Obligatory platformer "lava level"

Obligatory platformer "lava level"

So yeah. I wish this was an April Fool’s Day joke. But no dice kids. This is the real deal.  That picture up there is from Sony’s newest game.  Jak and Daxter are back in a brand new adventure for PSP and Playstation 2. That’s right; they’re pre-emptively admitting to failure by not even putting the game on Playstation’s flagship system.

All right, maybe that was a tad harsh. As far as platformers go Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was pretty cool. So cool in fact, it spawned two sequels, a spin-off racing game, and Daxter even got his own time in the spotlight on the PSP.

The original Jak and Daxter was an open world platformer in the vein of Super Mario 64 or Sly Cooper where the player was tasked with collecting items and saving the world in standard light-hearted fare. Jak II, on the other hand, went much darker (I assume in an attempt to “grow up” with its audience) and had more melee combat and an almost “Viva la Revolution!” and “Heroes Are Villains Too!” feel to it. Jak 3 continued this trend by having Jak outcast for helping the Underground (Viva la Revolution!…sorry) and him coming to terms with helping people that have turned their back on him.

Right. Now that we’re all up to relative speed, back to the topic at hand. Now, all of the Jak games have utilized “Eco” in some way; sometime it’s Dark or Light or Green, Yellow, Blue, etc.  But it was used as a gameplay element ONLY. For health or abilities or a plot device. I have no problem with that. But Sony and developer High Impact Games seemed be taking advantage of the Environmental Awareness Renaissance to plug their next game. Which is what I have a problem with. According to the press release (Bits in bold are for emphasis):

Hero Jak and his mischievous sidekick Daxter are back together… and for the first time-ever they’ve joined forces on PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable). Get set for the latest addition to the smash-hit Jak and Daxter™ series, Jak and Daxter™: The Lost Frontier from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Prepare for non-stop action and adventure as the duo travel across mysterious lands and take to the sky on a mission to save their planet from destruction. Take this incredible adventure with you anywhere on your PSP™, or play it at home with PlayStation®2– both out this autumn for PAL territories.

Picking up from where the original Jak and Daxter trilogy left off, Jak and furry friend Daxter team up with their friend Kiera on her quest to become a Sage and save their world from the threat of darkness. As the environment of their planet slowly dies, our two worldly heroes embark on a mission to protect their world from the threat of“dark eco”.

Beginning on foot, you’ll run and jump across undiscovered lands, before taking flight in one of five different aircrafts. With cheeky Daxter and our serious Hero Jak together on the adventure, fun and laugher is never far away. Blast airborne enemies and battle sky pirates with your powerful Gunstaff– a brand-new weapon that can transform into other new weapons.

The latest installment takes players to the long awaited“Lost Frontier” reached by the much-loved Jak and Daxter. Get set for a sky-high, laugh out loud and colourful new adventure with Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier. The future of their planet is in your hands with PSP – or save the day at home with PlayStation 2.

Oh, and from the Playstation US website:

…they must battle their way past air pirates and sinister creatures in their quest to find a cure for the world’s eco shortage.

Captain Planet, he's a hero...wait. Wrong genre.

Captain Planet, he's a hero...wait. Wrong genre.

Maybe I’m too jaded? Or cynical? Maybe this isn’t a blatant cash in on a pop culture trend. After all, this game must have been in development for years. But the timing does seem mighty handy. Even if it wasn’t Sony’s original intent, I’m sure their marketing department will slant this in a way to add to their 6 million units of Jak and Daxter games sold.

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