Crash Bandicoot is a name synonymous with my childhood. To many Playstation fans, Crash Bandicoot was actually the first mascot for Sony during the early days of the Playstation. Another thing that adds to the significance of Crash is that it was the first series created by Naughty Dog. Yes, Naughty Dog, of Uncharted and The Last of Us fame. Since Crash Bandicoot Racing, the Crash franchise has been passed down to various developers like Traveller’s Tales and the current holder of the license, Activision. With that, Crash dwindled rapidly in fame during the PS2 era with mediocre games. Having lost interest, Crash was completely absent all of the PS3 generation.
Now, the other day I came across an interesting article from Eskimo Press claiming that the Crash Bandicoot franchise is making a return to the PS4. More important is the claim that one of the biggest well kept secrets in the industry is that Sony has acquired the Crash license off Activision and that Naughty Dog and Santa Monica Studios are currently working together on the next-gen reboot of the series. While this could be complete nonsense, the unnamed source is also the same person who broke to the site that a new Uncharted was in development and would be shown soon back in October.
While the PS4 is the newest console, it feels more like a spiritual successor to the PS2 than anything else. With a lot of marketing being hinged on nostalgia and “the good ol’ days” of the PlayStation era, why not bring back a classic franchise? Crash was a fun action platformer for all ages, something Sony tried to capture with Knack but couldn’t quite hit the mark. However, it was a step in the right direction to show people that Sony wants to bring us back to this era.
While Crash Bandicoot may be a little childish for what Naughty Dog is doing now, it may not be so far-fetched for Sony to hand the franchise to another in-house developer. Take the Sly franchise for example, the original trilogy was made by Sucker Punch but the recent sequel was handed to Sanzaru with Sucker Punch supervising the project. This could be what Naughty Dog is doing with Santa Monica Studio.
While budgets for games are increasing, install base is decreasing, making it harder for companies to make a significant profit unless you’re Rockstar or Call of Duty. To take Crash Bandicoot back to its original format of levels and platforming, you can put out a solid budget title at $29.99. With that, there is no real need to have hyper realistic graphics and produce a top-rated game on a moderate budget if demand is high. Financially, it could work out for Sony if this rumor is true.
Crash Bandicoot is due for a proper comeback. If Spyro can make a multi-billion dollar spin-off franchise with Skylanders, the least Sony can do is make a Crash Bandicoot PSN game. An even crazier dream would be to upscale the original PlayStation games to the PS4. Maybe something along the lines of Ducktails Remastered.
Whether or not this rumor is true, the fact that it has popped up makes me hopeful that somewhere, just maybe, this idea is being thrown around. Until then, I leave you with this video of a tech demo for Crash Bandicoot using an Unreal Engine.