Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Jak and Daxter at E3 in LA - May 2001

Look what I found!

It was 21 years ago on January 5 2001 that I signed the contract for a new video game to be developed for the upcoming PlayStation 2 platform. It was ground breaking technology at the time and this game I was to develop characters for was to be among the very first produced for PS2.

The contract called for a year's work creating designs and character concepts from scratch for this game tentatively referred to as "Project Y". It was a also a ground breaking contract I negotiated that was far from the normal work-for-hire model that is common even to this day.

This was a monumental effort. I was so busy during that year the only time I could get to it was in the middle of the night. So I'd work from about midnight to around 4 AM and fax the images to the studio so they could have them for the next day.

I wound up creating 603 pages of character designs. In spite of at times very questionable art direction they came out very nice. The project was eventually titled "Jak and Daxter". In 2002 the character of "Daxter" won the coveted Best Character of the Year Award at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose California.

So in 2001 I took a trip with a friend using the LA subway system to the E3 Convention in Los Angeles which is the industry's Comic Con. What I saw was a complete surprise. I took pictures on my cell phone but they've been lost for years. But I'm going through my archives and found ...

This is the front page of the trade publication for E3 in May 2001.

 
This is a close up of the photo featuring the entrance to E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The giant banner at the top is the "Jak and Daxter" video game to be released later that year. I designed the characters and many others in the game.
 

7 comments:

Hazman said...

Hey Charles! very cool stuff, I've been playing Jak & Daxter again. Say A I've done another original Crash character of mine called Dr N. Verted and would like to know what your option on it.https://twitter.com/HazBlackslick/status/1345530943595900928

Motwera said...

Hey Zembillas, do you have any updates about the Crash project that you've mentioned on your blog earlier? I'm curious to know what it entails at the moment.

Untitled Junk said...

Hey, Charles! Remember when you teased that Crash thing, a few months back? Well, apparently.... someone on Reddit recently claimed that it was cancelled, do you think it’s true?

Unknown said...

Hey Charles! Rumor is that the Crash Bandicoot cartoon in the works at Amazon was cancelled with test footage and a Series Bible released online. Would be terribly disappointing if all that brilliant work didn't go anyone. Sincerely hope it gets picked up somehow and finds life elsewhere.

Charles Z said...

Very clever Hazman! Good design and illustration.

Regarding the Crash project. I don't know if it was cancelled or what the plans are. News comes to me one way or the other so I suppose fans would know more about the current status than I do.

This is one of the reasons why I'm not attracted to the Hollywood scene. You can have a studio executive green light a project and build a team around it. Then they're gone and the new one cancels everything and dismantles the production. Happens all the time in this business for a variety of reasons. That's why I made the point earlier that at that moment in time and space things looked good and it was moving forward. But things can change at an instant.

I placed a call to get some details. When solid info comes in I'll pass it along.

Geb said...

Apparently it was some sort of disagreement between Activision and Amazon.
A member of the theam shared with the community this test animation https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EOs0MiMaMZ4wtEfmvgH1yk5Tq9Yd76Zf/view and the bible (which apparently was taken down).
The animation looks amazing, Cortex is... he looks weird, but it seems like there was a lot of potential. They wanted to go for a 7-minute shorts format including everything from the series, even from cancelled games (or maybe they just browsed the fan wiki and took everything from there, who knows).

Rejcga said...

What was the questionable art direction you were given?