Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
|Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy|
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a platform game developed by Vicarious Visions and published by Activision. It is a compilation of remasters of the first three games in the Crash Bandicoot series: Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back, and Warped; all which were originally developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation during the 1990s. The game was first released for PlayStation 4 in June 2017, with versions for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One being released in June 2018. It received generally favorable reviews from critics, and sold over 10 million copies by February 2019.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a collection of remasters of the first three games in the Crash Bandicoot series; Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back and Warped. Each game features Crash Bandicoot traversing various levels in order to stop Doctor Neo Cortex from taking over the world. Like in the original games, Crash uses spinning and jumping techniques to defeat enemies, smash crates, and collect items such as Wumpa Fruits, extra lives and protective Aku Aku masks. The trilogy adds new features across all three games, including unified checkpoints, pause menus and save systems, including both manual and automatic saving, time trials, which were first introduced in Warped, and the ability to play most levels in each game as Crash's sister, Coco. It also features remastered audio and cutscenes, including new recordings of the games' dialogue given by the franchise's more recent voice actors.
Prior to the announcement of the N. Sane Trilogy, the Crash Bandicoot franchise had been on hiatus for approximately six years, the last entry being released in 2010. In a Kotaku interview with then-Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg regarding the future of the Crash series, he said, "I don't have anything official to announce, but I can speak as an individual, I love Crash Bandicoot. Those were some of my favorite video games growing up. And I would love to find a way to bring him back, if we could." Andy Gavin, cofounder of Naughty Dog and co-creator of Crash Bandicoot, has said that he would love to see an HD version of the marsupial's first four games, or even a full blown reboot. Fellow co-creator Jason Rubin, said he was hopeful that Activision would "Bring Crash back to their glory days and that the character is still very dear to fans between 18–49 years". In June 2013, Andy Gavin suggested ways to revitalize the series. "Crash needs a total reboot. There's an opportunity to reset the history, and go back to his creation story and the original conflict with Cortex. In that context, you could reprise classic Crash 1 and 2's settings and villains. It would make sense to use a more modern, free-roaming style. I would concentrate on Looney Tunes-esque animation and really addictive action. That's what we did with the original Crash, and there's no reason it couldn't be done today. Given the current Crash games, people forget that he was once cool. Our Crash had a certain whimsical edge to him. Sure, it was goofy – but it wasn't dumb."
In July 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House revealed that they had thought about reviving the Crash Bandicoot series, saying "It's never off the table." At E3 2016 during Sony's press conference, Crash Bandicoot finally made his official return when it was announced, in a timed partnership with Activision, that the first three games from the original PlayStation would be remade from the ground up. Crash would also be a playable character in Activision's then-upcoming toys-to-life game Skylanders: Imaginators, released on October 16, 2016. It was announced at Gamescom 2016 that Dr. Neo Cortex would also be playable in Imaginators, and that a Crash-themed level was created for the game, "Thumpin' Wumpa Islands". The remakes of the original trilogy were developed by Vicarious Visions under the title Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and were released for PlayStation 4 on June 30, 2017. Vicarious Visions has also expressed interest in making a new Crash Bandicoot game following the N. Sane Trilogy's release.
Vicarious Visions coined the term "Remaster Plus" to describe the collection, as they did not fully remake the original games, but rather used Naughty Dog's original level geometry to rebuild the gameplay from scratch. As the levels were coming together, they also added their own art, animation, and audio. Almost none of the source codes for the original games were available to the developers, as the game engines were specially written for the original PlayStation and Vicarious Visions could not find a way to use it on more powerful systems. Sony and Naughty Dog were able to provide various polygon meshes from the original, although many important elements from these were missing and the team found that "they were compressed in some wacky format that we had to decode". Vicarious Visions looked at various internet communities to make sure they had essences of the games captured. The team also had some fans test the game and give notes about it compared to the originals. In April 2017, there was a contest for fans to submit ideas for idle animations for the character, with the winners announced the following month.
Two additional levels were added as post-launch downloadable content: Stormy Ascent, a level originally designed for the first game but was cut due to its difficulty, and Future Tense, a completely new level created by Vicarious Visions for the third game. After one year of timed exclusivity, the N. Sane Trilogy was ported to Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows on June 29, 2018 with assistance from Skylanders developer Toys for Bob. The Switch port in particular was not originally intended until a lone engineer at Vicarious Visions successfully ported the game's first level to the platform, proving it was feasible to port the entire trilogy. Sega published the Switch version in Japan on October 18, 2018, while Sony Interactive Entertainment published the PS4 version in that country.
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In the United Kingdom, the N. Sane Trilogy was the best-selling game in the week of release, a first for the Crash Bandicoot series, and became the best-selling exclusive launch of the year, beating the record previously held by Horizon Zero Dawn. Its release also saw the biggest launch of a game in the first half of 2017, behind Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands. It was also the second-best-selling game in its first month in the US. The game had sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide by September 2017. By February 2019, that number had risen to over 10 million.
The game won the award for "Best Remake/Remaster" at IGN's 2017 awards, while the readers and staff of Game Informer voted it as the "Best Remastered Action" and "Best Remastered/Remade" game in theirs. It was also nominated for the Tappan Zee Bridge Award for "Best Remake" at the New York Game Awards 2018, and won the award for "Game, Classic Revival" at the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards, whereas its other nomination was for the "Original Light Mix Score, Franchise" category. It was also nominated for "People's Choice" at the Italian Video Game Awards.
- The original games were developed by Naughty Dog. Toys for Bob provided development support for the original PlayStation 4 release, and ported the game to the Nintendo Switch. The Microsoft Windows port was handled by Iron Galaxy.
- Mancell was the composer of the original games; the music was arranged by uncredited members of Vicarious Visions' audio team. Mothersbaugh is listed as a composer in the credits, but was only a music producer for the original games.
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