E3 2018: Interview with Vicarious Visions on bringing Crash Bandicoot to Switch
Crash Bandicoot coming to the Switch is pretty huge; it’s the first time we’ve seen Crash on a Nintendo platform in a long time. Not only that they’re the original PlayStation games which are truly something surreal.
We were lucky enough to have the chance to ask Vicarious Visions, developers of the game, some questions about Crash on the Switch and on the development process. Here’s what they had to say;
Vooks: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has done extremely well all around the world, especially in Australia. How has the team taken to the reception?
Vicarious Visions: We’ve all definitely been very happy with the reception. Last year, when the game released, the fan response was super positive and that was a big driving force behind this multi-platform release coming up. We wanted to really just give more fans, more Crash fans more ways to play.
Vooks: For some Nintendo fans, this might be the first time they’ve played Crash Bandicoot or at least a Crash Bandicoot game in the last decade. What can they expect?
VV: If you haven’t played Crash since the PlayStation One days, obviously, it’s going to look beautiful. We’ve recreated the game from the ground up. The assets and the levels are super lush, especially if you’re playing Xbox One X and Native 4K with HDR. Outside of that, we’ve also made some modernizations to it, so all the games now have a unified save system, unified checkpoint system. All the levels have dynamic difficulty so if you do struggle with the difficulty of the platform a little bit, if you’re having trouble over and over, the game will help you a little bit. There’s a leaderboard system.
Another thing we’re announcing here at E3 is a brand new level to go alongside the multi-platform release, so that’s called Future Tense and that’s added to the third game, Crash Bandicoot Warped.
Vooks: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy isn’t just a remaster but a remake of the original games. Can you tell us what you’ve had to do to bring it from the 90s into this millennium?
VV: As a remake, we didn’t use any of the original code. We were essentially building this from the ground up. Really a lot more of the look, the lushness of the levels, all of that, you couldn’t do with the original code from the 90s. It was time to do a pretty major overhaul and upgrade, but in terms of other things that we’ve done, we touched on just the gameplay, making sure that we were able to be a little bit more accessible to the modern audience by doing things like adding dynamic difficulty, adding the ability for players if they’re failing a lot, adding a bit more forgiveness by adding some more checkpoints. Really, we don’t want to take away the challenge that people loved so much about the game but be a little more forgiving for the modern audience who expects that.
Vooks: How has the team taken to working on such an icon like Crash?
VV: It was definitely a huge honour, for sure. I mean, Crash is one of the biggest icons, I think, in gaming history and you’ll find that people who don’t even really play games or haven’t played games in years like know Crash or have a memory of playing Crash. With that, it was definitely like … That was one of the reasons we took such care and attention to this.
I think it’s worth adding that we ourselves are huge fans of the franchise. Vicarious Visions, in particular, we have a long history with it, so prior to this opportunity we produced a Crash Nitro Kart, did numerous handheld titles for Nintendo for Crash, and so we have a history with it. Some of the team members were some of the original team members from Crash Nitro Kart, so certainly a big love of the franchise coming from us. All we wanted to do was do it right and service the fans. I think with the work that we’ve done recently, it is all about giving back to the fans by adding one more level for them to have a new experience with Crash with us.
Vooks: The next question was actually talking about how you guys have had such a strong history with Nintendo handhelds and you’ve created some amazing portable versions of the like, so of Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero, and Skylanders as well. How has it been working on the Switch with a bunch more power?
VV: You know back in the days when we were working on Tony Hawk and even Crash, we were essentially making a different game. In order to make a portable version that was able to even give proper respect to those franchises, you essentially had to make something completely different. That’s not the case here. Switch players are getting the same experience as the other consoles. The benefit is now you get to take it on the go, you know? That’s a really wonderful positive aspect when I look at the lineup of other Nintendo titles, I feel like this is a really nice addition to your Switch library. I know myself personally I’ll be playing this on the plane.
Vooks: With Crash Back and Spyro Back soon, which 90s platforming star deserves another chance, and which one do you want to bring back?
VV: Nostalgia is so huge these days and it’s just been great. It’s been a great thing to see like the fan response to Crash and Spyro, so right now we’re really just focusing on like satisfying those fans and doing what we can to bring these two beloved classics up to the present day.
Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy is out July 29th.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.