Naughty Dog

The Last of US [Beta – PS3]

The Last of Us is an action game developed by Naughty Dog and published in 2013 by Sony Computer Entertainment for their PlayStation 3. The project was started in 2009, after the Uncharted 2 team was split in 2 to create a a Jak & Daxter reboot along with Uncharted 3. When they designed some concept arts for the cancelled Jak & Daxter 4 project, they thought that the style and target they were aiming for was too distant from the J&D IP and so decided to create a new IP, using some of Neil Druckmann’s ideas from an old concept that he did at school. That new IP was initially known as “Mankind” before to be changed into The Last of Us.

As we can read on TheVerge:

Just like in The Last of Us, [Mankind] was set in a world where Cordyceps has leaped from insects to humans, turning the infected into dangerous monsters and bringing down civilization with them. The key difference was that in Mankind, the virus only affected women. An early version of Ellie was the only female who was immune, and Joel decided to protect her in order to bring her to a lab where a cure could potentially be created.

During the development of The Last Of Us, many features were removed and the story was changed a lot, before to arrive to the final version. As we can read on GameInformer, in the original plot::

Joel partners with Tess to smuggle Ellie out of the locked-down city. In the alternate story the gang is halted at a security checkpoint. Ellie is screened for infection and comes up positive, but the guards don’t care that she may carry an immunity that could save humanity. Joel sees Ellie at gunpoint, which reminds him of his dead daughter, and goes berserk. He kills the guards, leaves with Ellie, and ends up betraying his partner Tess, who embarks on a cross-country pursuit of vengeance.

Neil Druckmann also shared some memories from a different ending for the game:

“The original ending when we pitched the game was a much more hopeful ending, where Joel and Ellie make it to San Francisco and that is a town run by people who are trying to restore society,” he continues. “Joel has killed all these doctors and lied to Ellie, and Ellie just fully buys into the lie. So, you’re left with the idea that they are going to live the rest of their lives in this town. The camera pulls back and maybe everything is going to be alright for these two. I was working on writing, and it didn’t feel honest anymore. After everything they’ve done and everything they’ve been through, that was letting them off a little too easy – especially for Joel.”

Some more changes and removed content are:

  • Downgraded Artificial Intelligence: it seems that enemies were “too difficult” for the players and it was not fun to always get surrounded and killed by a group of “intelligent” enemies (see the videos below).
  • Marlene was originally meant to die in the surgeon room
  • Some enemies were cut or the design was heavily changed, see them in the gallery below
  • They removed a dog companion that would have followed Ellie and Joel during the game

An unseen epilogue scene performed during The Last of Us: One Night Live was set 4 years after the end of the game with Joel and Ellie talking and playing a guitar, but it seems that this scene was never meant to be added ot the game: it was just a scene wrote for the live show.

More concept arts and info on the development of the game could have been published in the Art of Last of Us artbook (23$ on Amazon COM, 20£ on Amazon UK, 27 euro on Amazon IT), if you have the book let us know! If you notice more differences in the early beta screens and videos from The Last of Us, leave a comment below!

Images:

Videos:

 

Jak & Daxter 4 [PS3 – Cancelled / Concept]

Before to fully work on  The Last of Us, Naughty Dog was planning to create a new, even more grittier Jak and Daxter game for the Playstation 3, but after the concept art team drawn some Jak and Daxter artworks to use in this “reboot” of the series, they thought that they would have more freedom to just create a new IP for the mature audience, and thus the project evolved to became The Last of Us. After Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Jak 2 and Jak 3, this project could have been the 4° title in the main Jak series (or even the 5th one if you consider Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier). In the end, Naughty Dog never released any new Jak & Daxter game for the PS3, only an HD collection with their first 3 PS2 games.

At the IGDA Toronto 2013 Keynote, Neil Druckmann (Creative Director & Writer from Naughty Dog) talked about this cancelled Jak & Daxter concept:

Our task was to reboot Jak & Daxter. We spent a lot of time exploring the world of Jak and Daxter and how we would reboot it; how we would bring these characters back, some story ideas that we were getting excited about.

As much as we like these concepts and exploring these fantastical worlds, we found the ideas that we were getting passionate about were getting away from Jak & Daxter. We were questioning ourselves, were we doing this for marketing reasons and naming something Jak & Daxter when it really isn’t Jak & Daxter, or were we really passionate about it?

As we can read at GameInformer:

Shelving the Jak and Daxter ideas meant the team could begin work on a fresh idea. Shedding the restrictions of an existing IP allowed directors Druckmann and Straley to let their creative juices flow and explore whatever they wished.

Some concept arts from this cancelled “Jak & Daxter 4” project were shown by Neil Druckmann at the IGDA Toronto, in the “A Tribute to Naughty Dog: 30th Anniversary” exhibition in september / october 2014 and in the “Naughty Dog’s 30th Anniversaryart book (you can buy it on Amazon UK for 20.39£, Amazon USA for 25$ or Amazon IT for 32 euro), as posted by Junkie Monkeys!

Thanks to Loïc Caria for the contribution!

Images:

Video:

 

Jak 3 [Beta – PS2]

Jak 3 is an action game developed by Naughty Dog as the third game in the main Jak and Daxter series, published in 2004 for the PlayStation 2. As we can read on Wikipedia, Jak 3 was first revealed to be in the works by one of Superplay’s writers on January 8, 2004. While browsing the Naughty Dog offices, he saw early work being done with desert environments.

Below you can see a video of a Jak 3 beta dated 24-28 August and about 70% complete, thanks to BamzookiMan130.

  • Most maps lack borders, such as water or walls.
  • Crates are missing from the game.
  • Health bar for vehicles.
  • Different noises for collecting items.
  • Different shooting noises for the desert drones.
  • The Wasteland map is vastly different.
  • NPC’s seem to be missing from Haven City.
  • The KGB Blast Bot seems to rarely take damage.
  • The voicing in the game seems to be unfinished/not started on.
  • The Armor of Mar is unused.
  • The Jak 2 health bar is used, and even though it is used in the trailer, there seems to be no way to check how much Light Eco you have.
  • When Jak changes from the Scatter Gun to the Plasmite RPG, the diagram of the gun doesn’t change.
  • There is no appearance of the Dark Mod for the Blaster in the trailer, hinting that one of more variants of it were unfinished.

Video:
 

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune [PS3 – Beta / Tech Demo]

At GDC 2008 Naughty Dog showed an interesting video about the development of Uncharted, (aka Project Big) with some footage from beta-test levels and a different character design for Nathan “Nate” Drake. Even Elena Fisher underwent changes during development: in the early version the character had dark brown hair, but in the final version the color changed to blonde and the face was altered.

Thanks to trainer15side and Juanan for the contributions!

Images:

Videos:

 

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped [PSX – Beta]

crash3logo.jpg

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped is a platform game developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation. The game serves as a direct sequel to Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. It was the last platformer in the series developed by Naughty Dog, who then developed Crash Team Racing. [Info from Wikipedia]

In these screens from the beta version there are some differences: an early design of the HUD, changes in the the Load/Save Monitor room and in the Warp room, a missing background in the “Under Pressure” area, a removed bonus stage in the medieval levels, a removed Lab assistant that was supposed to  

Page 1 of 212