Greetings again, my fellow retr0pians. As E3 dawns upon us once more, a plethora of games have already been announced or plan to be shown off. Between Telltale’s forthcoming take on The Dark Knight and company, the sequel to the 2014 action-adventure Watch Dogs, and the latest installment in the Zelda franchise, it’s looking to be another eventful and exciting convention. However, if there is one game that I hope does get announced in some form or another, it would most certainly be a reboot of the Crash Bandicoot franchise.
If you recall back to part two of my soon-to-be-concluded retr0spective on Naughty Dog, I had went over ND’s role as the creators of the series, and how they managed to give us four games which to this day are beloved by PlayStation fans and retro gamers everywhere. Unfortunately, just as the series had finally reached its’ full potential, ND was forced to leave it behind, as their contract with Universal (the original owners of the IP) had came to a close, and they went on to develop games such as Jak and Daxter, Uncharted, and The Last of Us. Following ND’s departure, Universal (and later on, Sierra and Activision) pumped out game after game starring the orange furry goofball, some good, some okay, and some so bad that they kind of make me question my faith in humanity.
With the cartoony platform game pretty much being an endangered species at this point, it’s no surprise that the series hasn’t seen a new installment in what is now most likely going to be six years. At first, I was rather content with the series staying dormant…but now that I’ve seen rumors swirling around that he just might be in for the same fate that his old buddy Spyro suffered (which I hope to god isn’t true) and upon realization of other things, I thought it would be appropriate to list off the top 5 reasons why the series needs to make a comeback – and a REAL one, for that matter. Bust out your Fruit Bazooka, cleanse your crates, and get out those gems & crystals, as we take a look at The Top 5 Reasons Why Crash Bandicoot Needs To Make A Comeback.
NO. 5: There’s A Certain Charm To It That No Other Game Series Can Replicate
What really made the original three games so special (at least in my opinion) was the fact that they never really took themselves too seriously. While there were plenty of dangerous, treacherous, and intimidating environments (especially in the first game), they still managed to apply an offbeat, Looney Tunes-esque edge to the characters and overall gameplay, the latter being most evident in several of Crash’s death animations, as he is flattened, scorched, crushed, and electrocuted, all of which done in a humorous Wile E. Coyote-style fashion. In a way, ND managed to make dying, one of the most frustrating things that can happen to you in a game, surprisingly enjoyable. While the series still retained its’ sense of humor post-ND, it never quite managed to hit the same marks that its’ creators did while they were at the helm. Well, except for Twinsanity, which opted to go for a full-on comedic tone, which is easily the best aspect about that game to me.
NO. 4: It Could Boost The Series To New Heights
As of now, there is a major resurgence in interest for franchises that many people hold a great amount of fondness and nostalgia for. I’m not bluffing when I say this; just look at The Force Awakens, the recent attempts to revive the Terminator franchise, the CGI TMNT cartoon, the ridiculously successful Transformers films, and the Powerpuff Girls reboot!
…okay, you can ignore that last one.
Regardless, with all of these efforts to revive certain properties and introduce them for a whole new generation, that’s to say NOTHING about the gaming industry. Just look at the last two Rayman games, the Doom reboot, the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, and others upon others. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that with all of the praise/positive reception and success all of these games have received, one can wonder how a reboot could benefit the Crash series. While it still has a massive fan base, it is honestly quite far from being a “mainstream” franchise along the likes of Mario and Sonic. If put into the right hands, the series could achieve the same popularity it did during its’ early years, and maybe even surpass them!
(I do not own, nor did I made this render. The credit goes to VideoGameCutOuts of DeviantArt.)
NO. 3: There Aren’t That Many Active Sony Platforming Franchises Left
As I’ve mentioned before, the cartoony platformer sub-genre of video games is pretty much an endangered species, with the only ones still having a lot of life left in them being Mario, Sonic, Kirby, Rayman, and maybe a few others. However, the drought of these kinds of games haven’t just affected variety in games, but game companies as well, the aforementioned Sony being one of them. And as much as it pains me to say it, it seems as if they might be moving on from the genre altogether. Although the PS4 Ratchet & Clank remake/movie tie-in (which was released one month ago), was a huge success in sales, the CEO of Insomniac himself has admitted he’s not quite sure where to take the series from here (which can be a bit justified, considering how horribly the film itself performed). In addition to this, Sly and Jak are missing in action, and there hasn’t been that much news about LittleBigPlanet. Even Sony’s attempts to start new platforming franchises haven’t been all that successful, as seen by the unimpressive sales of Puppeteer (as estimated by VGChartz) and the complete embarrassment that was Knack, which was developed as a launch title for the PS4, and was, ironically enough, was meant to be this generation’s Crash Bandicoot! Perhaps if Activision, through some way or another, managed to work out a deal with Sony the same way they did with Nintendo for Skylanders Super Chargers, it could lead to Sony regaining some faith in their platforming endeavors.
NO. 2: Sony Themselves Wants To Revive The Series
While this may come off as a bit confusing to some after the last reason, I do have some ways in which this can be justified. If you look back at the past few years, you’ll notice that Sony has dropped quite a lot of cryptic hints and easter eggs featuring Crash in some form or another, the most glaring one being his cameo in Uncharted 4, which I won’t show to you since I think you have to see it for yourselves. While this most likely doesn’t mean that a new game is being developed like many people hope it does, it does kind of give off the feeling that Sony is trying to tell us something. Plus, Jim Ryan, the CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, actually acknowledged the demand for a new game, and while he did say that they didn’t have anything to update on, it pretty much proves that Sony wants to gain the rights to the property.
NO. 1: There’s Still, And Will Always Be An Audience For Cartoony Platform Games
Even if they have been through a lot of crap and have decreased drastically in numbers since the middle of the 2000’s, there is still a legitimate audience for these types of games. The Mario series, being a Nintendo-owned property, is still going strong, producing a mostly conistent track record of quality titles. The Sonic series, while far from consistent in terms of quality, still has a lot of life left in it (which is really mostly due to the fanbase), despite being prone to games that are often considered to be some of the worst ever made on a daily basis. As I mentioned earlier, the recent Rayman games, as well as the Ratchet & Clank remake/tie-in, both received critical acclaim. Meanwhile, in the indie game industry, several fledging developers are working their way towards bringing new life towards the genre, with games such as Clive ‘N’ Wrench, Lobodestroyo, Skylar and Plux and A Hat in Time in development or on their way. And do I even need to mention the smashing success of the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter, as well as the humongous amount of hype surronding that game? Needless to say, with the genre’s future looking brighter than ever as well as the fact that his series is turning 20 years old this year, there couldn’t be a better time for Crash to make a comeback than now.
And there are my Top 5 Reasons Why Crash Bandicoot Should Make A Comeback. While the chances of a revival for the franchise are rather slim, that doesn’t mean we can’t dream or go back and revisit the first three games and look back upon what made this series so iconic in the eyes of the PlayStation community.
Do you think Crash Bandicoot should make a comeback? If so, why? Be sure to post your thoughts in the comment section below.