After showcasing remastered gameplay from Crash Bandicoot and Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back as part of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Activision has revealed a look at three new levels from the remastered version of Crash Bandicoot: Warped.
Take a look below at Double Header from Warped and read on for more from Vicarious Visions’ game director Dan Tanguay for more on the process of bringing Crash back 20 years after the bandicoot’s debut.
Reflecting on the work done across all three games, Tanguay told IGN the Vicarious Visions team looked at the trilogy “holistically” when remastering all aspects of the three PlayStation titles.
“[We have the benefit of 20 years of hindsight,” Tanguay said. “And so it’s almost like this history lesson where we could see, form game to game, the lessons Naughty Dog was learning. With that hindsight we were able to say, clearly they arrived at this solution for Crash 3, that seems beneficial to apply to all of the games.
“[Warped’s levels] were designed a bit more wide open by the third game to allow for a little more expressiveness in how you wanted to tackle the challenges,” Tanguay noted of the specifics design opportunities Warped presented.
And though those more expansive levels offered both lessons to apply to the previous two games and different challenges to tackle than those earlier titles, Tanguay explained that the team still did develop the games sequentially “to mimic the evolution of how Naughty Dog built them.”
Observing and then applying that evolution — which included quality of life aspects like adding crate counters to the HUD of the original Crash Bandicoot — came from both the hindsight the Vicarious team had, as well as that team being made up of a large number of Crash fans who played the games when they first released.
That in-house fandom became a key factor in how the team approached balancing the remastered trilogy for both longtime and new players.
“Audience really is the key factor you way when you’re trying to make a decision like [changing aspects of the games]. We certainly have our nostalgic fans who may not have completed the games but remember Crash the character fondly,” Tanguay said. “But we know there are a number of hardcore fans out there and they’re very active… The good news is we have a lot of those hardcore fans on our team.”
Listening to that part of the audience came in retaining what has allowed the original trilogy to endure in their minds for years while also applying some needed alterations that came with the benefit of updated visuals and gameplay, and additions like time trails for all three games and individual platinum trophies for each title.
“We want the gameplay challenges to be pretty much how they were, but how we communicate those challenges could vary a little bit,” Tanguay said. “If there was an AI whose attack didn’t really communicate well to a player, they didn’t know to dodge at a particular point, then we’d give that AI a tell.”
But for Tanguay and the Vicarious Visions team, one of the constants that they aimed to maintain was a reason they believe Crash has endured since his debut in 1996 — his personality and the vibrant personality of those first three games.
“Just as important as how beautiful it is the personality of the game. Crash is so memorable because he’s oozing personality out of his pores,” Tanguay said. “[And] he dies in very amusing and clever ways, which is important given that it’s a rather challenging game.”
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy launches for the PlayStation 4, with PS4 Pro support, on June 30. For more ahead of the trilogy’s launch, check out the newly announced line of Crash Bandicoot merchandise.