Making Crash Bandicoot – part 5

PREVIOUS installment, or the FIRST POST.

[ NOTE, Jason Rubin added his thoughts to all the parts now, so if you missed that, back up and read the second half of each. ]

 

A Bandicoot, his beach, and his crates

But even once the core gameplay worked, these cool levels were missing something. We’d spent so many polygons on our detailed backgrounds and “realistic” cartoon characters that the enemies weren’t that dense, so everything felt a bit empty.

We’d created the wumpa fruit pickup (carefully rendered in 3D into a series of textures — burning a big chunk of our vram — but allowing us to have lots of them on screen), and they were okay, but not super exciting.

Enter the crates. One Saturday, January 1996, while Jason and I were driving to work (we worked 7 days a week, from approximately 10am to 4am – no one said video game making was easy). We knew we needed something else, and we knew it had to be low polygon, and ideally, multiple types of them could be combined to interesting effect. We’d been thinking about the objects in various puzzle games.

So crates. How much lower poly could you get? Crates could hold stuff. They could explode, they could bounce or drop, they could stack, they could be used as switches to trigger other things. Perfect.

So that Saturday we scrapped whatever else we had planned to do and I coded the crates while Jason modeled a few, an explosion, and drew some quick textures.

About six hours later we had the basic palate of Crash 1 crates going. Normal, life crate, random crate, continue crate, bouncy crate, TNT crate, invisible crate, switch crate. The stacking logic that let them fall down on each other, or even bounce on each other. They were awesome. And smashing them was so much fun.

Over the next few days we threw crates into the levels with abandon, and formally dull spots with nothing to do became great fun. Plus, in typical game fashion tempting crates could be combined with in game menaces for added gameplay advantage. We even used them as the basis for our bonus levels (HERE in video). We also kept working on the feel and effects of crate smashing and pickup collection. I coded them again and again, going for a pinball machine like ringing up of the score. One of the best things about the crates is that you could smash a bunch, slurp up the contents, and 5-10 seconds later the wumpa and one-ups would still be ringing out.

This was all sold by the sound effects, executed by Mike Gollom for Crash 1-3. He managed to dig up the zaniest and best sounds. The wumpa slurp and the cha-ching of the one up are priceless. As one of our Crash 2 programmers used to say, “the sounds make the game look better.”

For some reason, years later, when we got around to Jak & Daxter we dropped the crate concept as “childish,” while our friends and amiable competitors at Insomniac Games borrowed them over into Ratchet & Clank. They remained a great source of cheap fun, and I scratch my head at the decision to move on.

Now, winter 95-96 the game was looking very cool, albeit very much a work-in-progress. The combination of our pre-calculation, high resolution, high poly-count, and 30 fps animation gave it a completely unique look on the machine. So much so that many viewers thought it a trick. But we had kept the whole project pretty under wraps. One of the dirty secrets of the Sony “developer contract” was that unlike its more common “publisher” cousin, it didn’t require presentation to Sony during development, as they assumed we’d eventually have to get a publisher. Around Thanksgiving 1995, I and one of our artists, Taylor Kurosaki, who had a TV editing background, took footage from the game and spent two days editing it into a 2 minute “preview tape.” We deliberately leaked this to a friend at Sony so that the brass would see it.

They liked what they saw.

Management shakeups at Sony slowed the process, but by March of 1996 Sony and Universal had struck a deal for Sony to do the publishing. While Sony never officially declared us their mascot, in all practical senses we became one. Heading into the 1996 E3 (May/June) we at Naughty Dog were working ourselves into oblivion to get the whole game presentable. Rumors going into E3 spoke of Nintendo’s new machine, the misleadingly named N64 (it’s really 32 bit) and Miyamoto’s terrifying competitive shadow, Mario 64.

Crash and his girl make a getaway

For two years we had been carefully studying every 3D character game. Hell, we’d been pouring over even the slightest rumor – hotly debated at the 3am deli takeout diners. Fortunately for us, they’d all sucked. Really sucked. Does anyone remember Floating Runner? But Mario, that wasn’t going to suck. However, before E3 1996 all we saw were a couple of screen shots – and that only a few weeks before. Crash was pretty much done. Well, at least we thought so.

Now, we had seen some juicy magazine articles on Tomb Raider, but we really didn’t worry much about that because it was such a different kind of game: a Raiders of the Lost Ark type adventure game starring a chick with guns. Cool, but different. We’d made a cartoon action CAG aimed at the huge “everybody including kids” market.

Mario  was our competition.

 

Jason says:

The empty space had plagued us for a long time.  We couldn’t have too many enemies on screen at the same time.  Even though the skunks or turtles were only 50-100 polygons each, we could show two or three at most.  The rest was spent on Crash and the Background.  Two or three skunks was fine for a challenge, but it meant the next challenge either had to be part of the background, like a pit, or far away.  If two skunk challenges came back to back there was a huge amount of boring ground to cover between them.

Enter the crates.   The Crates weren’t put in to Crash until just before Alpha, or the first “fully playable” version of the game.

Andy must have programmed the “Dynamite Crate/Crate/Dynamite Crate” puzzle 1000 times to get it right.  It is just hard enough to spin the middle crate out without blowing up the other two, but not hard enough not to make it worth trying for a few wumpa fruit.  Getting someone to risk a Life for 1/20th of a Life is a fine balancing act!

Eventually the Crates led to Crash’s name.  In less than a month after we put them in everyone realized that they were the heart of the game.  Crash’s crash through them not only filled up the empty spots, the challenges ended up filling time between Crate challenges!

This isn’t the place for an in depth retelling of the intrigue behind the Sony/Crash relationship, but two stories must be told.

The first is Sony’s first viewing of Crash in person.  Kelly Flock was the first Sony employee to see Crash live [ Andy NOTE: running, not on videotape ].  He was sent, I think, to see if our videotape was faked!

Kelly is a smart guy, and a good game critic, but he had a lot more to worry about than just gameplay.  For example, whether Crash was physically good for the hardware!

Andy had given Kelly a rough idea of how we were getting so much detail through the system: spooling.  Kelly asked Andy if he understood correctly that any move forward or backward in a level entailed loading in new data, a CD “hit.”  Andy proudly stated that indeed it did.  Kelly asked how many of these CD hits Andy thought a gamer that finished Crash would have.  Andy did some thinking and off the top of his head said “Roughly 120,000.”  Kelly became very silent for a moment and then quietly mumbled “the PlayStation CD drive is ‘rated’ for 70,000.”

Kelly thought some more and said “let’s not mention that to anyone” and went back to get Sony on board with Crash.

The second story that can’t be glossed over was our first meeting with the Sony executives from Japan.  Up until this point, we had only dealt with Sony America, who got Crash’s “vibe”.  But the Japanese were not so sure.

We had been handed a document that compared Crash with Mario and Nights, or at least what was known of the games at the time.  Though Crash was rated favorably in “graphics” and some other categories, two things stood out as weaknesses.  The first was that Sony Japan didn’t like the character much, and the second was a column titled “heritage” that listed Mario and Sonic as “Japanese” and Crash as “other.”  The two negatives were related.

Let us remember that in 1995 there was Japan, and then there was the rest of the world in video games.  Japan dominated the development of the best games and all the hardware.  It is fair to say that absent any other information, the Japanese game WAS probably the better one.

Mark presided over the meeting with the executives.  He not only spoke Japanese, but also was very well respected for his work on Sonic 2 and for his years at Sega in Japan.  I could see from the look in Mark’s eyes that our renderings of Crash, made specifically for the meeting, did not impress them.

We took a break, during which it was clear that Sony was interested in Crash for the US alone, hardly a “mascot” crowning.  I stared at the images we had done.  Primitive by today’s standards, but back then they were reasonably sexy renderings that had been hand retouched by Charlotte for most of the previous 48 hours.  She was fried.

I walked over to her.  I think she could barely hold her eyes open.  I had spent the previous month spending all of my free time (4am-10am) studying Anime and Manga.  I read all the books available at that time in English on the subject.  All three!  I also watched dozens of movies.  I looked at competitive characters in the video game space.  I obsessed, but I obsessed from America.  I had never been to Japan.

I asked Charlotte if she could close Crash’s huge smiling mouth making him seem less aggressive.   I asked her to change Crash’s eyes from green to two small black “pac-man” shapes.  And I asked her to make Crash’s spike smaller.  And I told her she had less than 15 minutes.  With what must have been her last energy she banged it out.

I held up the resulting printout 15 minutes later.

Sony Japan bought off on Crash for the international market.

I don’t want to make the decision on their part seem arbitrary.  Naughty Dog would do a huge amount of work after this on the game for Japan, and even then we would always release a Japanese specific build.  Whether it was giving Aku Aku pop up text instructions, or replace a Crash smashing “death” that reminded them of the severed head and shoes left by a serial killer that was loose in Japan during Crash 2’s release, we focused on Japan and fought hard for acceptance and success.

We relied on our Japanese producers, including Shuhei Yoshida, who was assigned shortly after this meeting, to help us overcome our understandable ignorance of what would work in Japan.  And Sony Japan’s marketing department basically built their own Crash from the ground up for the marketing push.

Maybe Charlotte’s changes showed Sony that there was a glimmer of hope for Crash in Japan.  Maybe they just saw how desperate we were to please and couldn’t say no.  Maybe Universal put something in the coffee they had during the break.

Who knows, but Crash was now a big part of the international PlayStation push.  So there were more important things for us to worry about then Sony and the deal:

The fear of Miyamoto was thick at Naughty Dog during the entire Crash development period.  We knew eventually he would come out with another Mario, but we were hoping, praying even, that it would be a year after we launched.

Unfortunately that was not to be.  We started seeing leaks of video of the game.

It was immediately obvious that it was a different type of game: truly open.  That scared us.  But when we saw the graphics we couldn’t believe it.  I know there will be some that take this as heresy, but when we saw the blocky, simple, open world we breathed a sign of relief.  I think I called it I Robot Mario, evoking the first 3D game.

Of course we hadn’t played it, so we knew we couldn’t pass judgment until we did.  That would happen at E3.


CONTINUED in PART 6 or

more on GAMES or BOOKS/MOVIES/TV or WRITING or FOOD.

The Big Fight!

81 comments on “Making Crash Bandicoot – part 5

  1. […] February 6, 2011 at 7:02 am Making Crash Bandicoot – part 5 « All Things Andy Gavin […]

  2. Dammit, now both you and Jason are leaving us on cliff hangers! Curse you both! (But not really :P)

  3. ZeroDx says:

    N64 was not 64 bit!?!?

    • agavin says:

      No. Not really. It had a 32 bit main processor. There were certain little 64 bit elements, but I wouldn’t call it a true 64 bit machine. Sort of a 32/64 hybrid. This N64 really wasn’t that powerful a machine, it just had nice texture filtering for the time. The PS2 was all 64 bit, sometimes even 128 bit (vector processing).

      • ZeroDx says:

        Thanks a lot! A great mystery of humanity has been solved! 😀 So not even ps2 was really a 128 bit console. Then, what is the ps3?

      • agavin says:

        The main processor on the PS2 is actually MORE 128 bit than the PS3, however it is much slower. Both machines have fully 128 bit vector units. The PS2 has 2, the PS3 8 (but 1 or 2 aren’t online, so really 6 or 7). The PS3 vector units are much faster of course too. Those are full 128 bit processors, just specialized.

      • Andreas says:

        I guess Nintendo tried to take adantage of people’s lack of knowledge at the time, even these days. Most of the population doesn’t know what a bit is. As you say it’s a hybrid, and that’s why I believe Nintendo tried to exaggerate to the maximum.

        Talking about what I said about Nintendo and a daily human’s lack of knowledge about consoles. Did you know that by doing some easy softmodding you can even play DVD movies on your Wii? It takes less than 2 hours to do this. By the time you should be able to have lots of emulators and flash games made as apps by volunteerly people. The Wii is more of an open source console than we all think. It’s actually the most open source one I can think of in this generation.

      • agavin says:

        I’m not much of a modder anymore — but that’s cool.

  4. Q says:

    Greetings from Sweden! Thanks for making the Crash Bandicoot-games, my childhood wouldn’t have been the same without them. Best of luck in the future (to you all)!

  5. Lucas says:

    Greetings from Prague. I have several things on my mind.

    1) I want to thank you deeply for the Crash Bandicoot games and franchise as a whole. I think what you have created is phenomenal, fun to play and has huge replay value – I still play Crash games today (right now I have 104% in Crash3). I appreciate alot this development info you are sharing. I find it very interesting. From the looks of it, this series wasn’t certain at all and development was challenging. It’s great that you have managed to overcome the challenges in the end though.

    2) Why hasn’t someone already remade the first 3 games (Crash 1+2+3) in HD and with trophy support? It could be called “Crash Bandicoot HD Trilogy” and sold on the Playstation Store. HD remakes are very popular these days (Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell, Abe’s Odysee, Tomb Raider). I would love this to happen and it would be relatively easy to execute. Just look at Playstation emulators on PC. They have turned Crash games into something very pretty thanks to software emulation (OpenGL), making them look very sharp, with better textures, higher resolution, more colorful. The PS3 could do it with ease. Why hasn’t Universal/Naughty Dog thought of this yet? It would sell very well.

    3) Do you have any alpha/beta material from Crash Bandicoot 2 you could share? I am trying to find footage or even a build where the warp room looked completely different from the final game (Cortex’s hologram floating in the middle above ground in straight angle, different crystal/gem icons above levels, no centre platform lift) + additional snow level. I would love to at least see some gameplay footage from this build.

    4) Do you have any alpha/beta material from Crash Bandicoot 3 you could share? I’d love to see footage from the build with the old buttons in the warp rooms which have different style (green/black numbers), the old load/save screen, etc.

    I know my reply is probably long, but you are my only hope. Plus I really wanted to thank you for all your hard work too. Thanks alot, I’ve been playing Crash Bandicoot since 1996. Cheers 🙂

    • Dave Vileta says:

      Not that my opinion matters, but after reading the 5 parts of Crash Bandicoot’s history, I don’t know if this IP would be an ideal candidate for being remastered in HD.

      If I’m remembering just one thing in this account Andy and Jason have written, it is how custom-tailored Crash was for the PSone’s strengths and weaknesses.

      I picked up The Sly Collection at launch this past November. Myself and others have remarked that the trilogy still plays great on PS3, with relatively few “relics” that remind us how old the games are. There are open worlds, free analog camera control, a fully-voiced cast of characters, and a visual style that remains pleasing.

      Crash Bandicoot would be the first 5th gen 3D game to be remastered for PS3. I think there’s a reason why no one has done this yet, and it’s not just because all PS3’s are still backwards-compatible with PSone software. There is a discernible change in the depth of gameplay when you transition from PSone to PS2. Remember how the Crash games for PS2 disappointed most of us? And note how the post-Naughty Dog efforts of Radical, Traveller’s Tales, Vicarious, and Polarbit all failed.

      Anyway to cut short, we should be happy that every Naughty Dog Crash game is available on the PlayStation Network for emulation. I think that is the best way to keep the strengths of those games in mind. They would not shine so brightly when elevated to the standards that Jak & Daxter fulfilled on PlayStation 2.

      There are other issues, too. Personally, I don’t think publishers should consider releasing these remastered titles unless a (spiritual) sequel is on the horizon, which has been true in all cases so far.

      -“God of War Collection” for “GoW III”
      -“The Sly Collection” for “Sly 4”
      -“Ico + Shadow of the Colossus” for “The Last Guardian”

      Most third-parties are being careful about this, too. There’s really a lot to consider, beyond a quick buck. Besides, its not even a decision solely for SCE (and the defunct Universal), but Activision too.

      • agavin says:

        The merits of a new Crash aside, the PS2 efforts failed mostly because they were inferior games, not because of the inappropriateness of the character or gameplay to the PS2 etc. I played several of those PS2 Crashs, and they while casually the elements appeared to be there, they didn’t add much that was new, and they didn’t even successfully copy the old formula.

        One simple thing as an example. When we put crates into a level in Crash 1-3 we tried to make the arrangement of the crates meaningful, in the form of mini puzzles. Even an arrangement of 3-4 crates might be designed so that in order to get the 1-up, you had to knock out the box below the TNT, drop it, back off, then come back and get the 1-up. Or you might have to use a bouncer but avoid the nitro, landing on a TNT (which started counting), then hurry on to the reward.

        In the post-Naughty Dog Crashs, crates would just be strewn around willy-nilly, with no logic or puzzle to their arrangement (for the most part). This level of attention to detail (or lack thereof) was not confined solely to the Crates.

        I spent probably 2 months on Crash 1 optimizing the level load times to get them to 4-6 seconds. The first PS2 Crash had 30-90 second load times! I can tell you that never would have flown in the NDI office. On the PS2 we went for NO LOAD times, Jak & Daxter was the first totally seamless load game!

    • agavin says:

      I don’t know why there hasn’t been some cool remakes of Crash. I think it’s a bit caught up in the complex situation that is Activision/Blizzard (which is where the rights ended up after vivendi bought Universal and Activision bought Vivendi).

      I don’t have any alpha/bea stuff anymore, that was all property of Naughty Dog and stayed there when I left. All our old pre-release builds required specific physical hard dongles that we had manufactured too. At the time this was to prevent piracy.

      • Andreas says:

        The PS1 has always been ide open for piracy due to Sony’s sloppy disc sign check programming. By doing a disc swap trick between an original and burned game you can easily get the burned one to play nearly perfectly if not flawlessly. It depends on how well you perform the swap really. I guess it’s a good thing that PS1 is out of the market these days, or else Sony would lose revenue pretty fast due to emulators being made for the PC that even plays the games faster than the PS1 if you want.

      • Roid says:

        So Twinsanity wasn’t a cool remake?

  6. Jon says:

    Man I remember playing the heck out of Crash, some of my best memories with those games. But I can’t help but remember another series that went hand-in-hand with it, Spyro the Dragon. You mentioned Insomniac earlier as your “amiable rivals”, and looking at the graphics of the game, I wonder if they also had some tricks up their sleeve. Do you know if they did the same kind of “straight to the hardware” kind of a thing as well? I can see that they also had some “crates” of their own in the form of gems. Not to say that they ripped off Crash, though.

    • agavin says:

      Spyro came out the same time as Crash 3, and the first half of its development occurred all of about 50 feet away from Naughty Dog. Its an amazing game, and Insomniac had to pull out all sorts of tricks to get that open a world to even work on the PS1. But they also had 2 extra years of lessons from other games (including Crash) to point them in certain directions — Mario 64 being the first of these, but also including Rare’s early 3D platformers (like Banjo and Kazooie). As you can clearly see on the same machine, games evolve as teams learn. They learn how to do better art, better code, AND better design.

      • Andreas says:

        Why did you place demos of Spyro games in Crash 3 and CTR (and vice versa), and how did you make a deal with Insomniac to help out marketing each others’ games. Was Mark Cerny and his “Cerny games” company that encouraged this? I know that Mark Cerny worked on the Spyro games as well.

      • agavin says:

        Jason & I are friends with the principles at Insomniac, and we had the same publisher (Sony), and we had the same producing contractor (Mark), so it was just a matter of “hey, let’s do this.” Followed by needless paperwork and approvals, but not too many.

  7. mika says:

    question: who came up with CTR?

    • agavin says:

      CTR was the natural progression in house. If one had to narrow the credit I’d throw it at the feet of Jason Rubin and Even Wells. Both absolutely loved Mario Kart, particularly the N64 variant. We were also a bit burned out on the straight platformer, and wanted to try something a bit different.

      Came out pretty damn well — although it didn’t turn out to be 1 bit easier than the other 3 Crashs.

      • George says:

        Thank you SO much for CTR!!!
        Best present I ever got and it still gets played today! a classic!

      • Andreas says:

        My first Crash game ever and the only one I own as a non-platinum version in the series.

      • agavin says:

        Platinum just meant “half price.” Roughly a year after release the price would be dropped with the new box. It was branded such because only the best selling games got the “platinum” branding.

  8. bluepasj says:

    Incredible posts! Really incredible

    Question: Where did the ideas come for the moves of Crash, like spin, fall to the floor and sweep? How this comes out?

    • agavin says:

      As the series progressed, we wanted to add to Crash’s moves in a natural way and expand his options for dealing with enemies. There are really only so many ways to move on the screen, so we tried out as many cool ones as we could think of.

  9. Pablo says:

    Hey andy! Greetings from Uruguay!

    Thank you so much for posting this, just wanted you to know how far Crash had reached. Uruguay isnt really a market or voice for games anymore, but i fondly remember stuff like ads, posters, the sort of promotion we would get for cartoons and tv all over the place. Characters like Crash and Cortex were right up with Warner Brothers/Cartoon Network cartoons during my childhood and have stayed with me all these years. I read the whole thing with a big smile on my face and cant wait for the last part!
    I wish i had something interesting to ask you! but all that comes out from my typing fingers is a big fat THANK YOU! 🙂 and greetings from a Uruguayan fan that just wanted to reach out (maybe the first one ? certainly not the only one!)

    • agavin says:

      Cool. Thanks. I spent a day in Uruguay once, in Colonia. Neat place! One of the great things about gaming, is that it’s totally cross cultural! Fun is fun.

      • Pablo says:

        wow, very cool 🙂 couple of friends live in Colonia and i go there occasionally. Hope you had a good time.

      • agavin says:

        Totally did. And snarfed a great steak too 🙂 Mostly, though, I liked seeing such an old city in America. I travel a lot, and am an avid history buff, and I know of no other town in America (I mean both Americas) that so well retains its 17th century feel.

      • Pablo says:

        well, great to see it gets the appreciation it deserves! 🙂

  10. Lucas says:

    I don’t want to sound impolite, but could you answer my earlier post as well please? 🙂

  11. Alexander Bevier says:

    Is there any chance we’ll see a “making of” article about Jak and Daxter after this?

  12. heretosay says:

    This was a great read! I can’t stop thinking about how awesome the first Crash game was now. I don’t remember if I actually beat it, but I remember playing it a bunch on my ps1. Thanks for writing this stuff and for making a great game!

  13. lgonzalez says:

    Greetings from Puerto Rico!

    The Crash series was the first games I ever played, and created my love for gaming.I just wanted to ask: Why did Naughty Dog left the Crash Bandicoot series?

    • agavin says:

      It’s a complicated story of rights. Basically, to continue Crash we had to keep Universal in the picture, and they added no value. So we moved on.

      • you lu says:

        you should have kept Universal in the picture at least we still would have had crash now and i thought Mark from Universal was hands on? Did he not add value.

        and what do you think activision has planned for Crash

      • agavin says:

        Mark did. But we got to keep him anyway — he quit around then and consulted with us (and Sony, and Insomniac, and others).

  14. Friedslick6 says:

    This story is so interesting, and offers facts that might have otherwise been lost to time.
    +1 respect to you and Jason.

    I’m trying very hard to make a copy of Crash Bandicoot’s second PSX model, actually. I miss everything about the original games: the look, the music, the gameplay, my reactions to Crash’s death. All priceless. And let me say, I’d love to make more out of those games. If only they came with object placement editors ;_; .

    Anyway, can’t wait to hear more of this.

  15. Stephan says:

    Thanks for the incredible read.
    Crash was the first psx game I ever played, and boy did it set the bar high; This game is what triggered my excitement for video games, way more than even sonic and arcade titles before it.

    I had no idea that it took this level of sheer determination and hard work (on top of talent) to make the crash games.
    It seems almost daunting to go through all that even if you are passionate about it and can pioneer something exciting, let alone other people doing it just to thread old ground to try and recreate what others have done.

    What made you leave Naughty dog and stop making video games? (assuming you did stop, from you mentioning your new dayjob).

    I really miss the ‘labor of love’ quality in many new ‘AAA’ games, your f word statement really hit home hard.

    Anyways, thanks again for the great childhood memories.

    • agavin says:

      Video games is a very competitive business. The best game makers all love games, and they work very very hard — so pretty much all great games are labors of love. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of crap out there, just that the good is all as good as each team could make it.

      Our leaving Naughty Dog is a story for another time. Briefly, when 2004 came around and the end of Jak 3 it was time for our “understudies,” Evan Wells, Stephen White, and Christophe Balestra to run the show. They’d earned that level of creative control, and I think Uncharted 2 proves them not only worthy of the Naughty Dog tradition, but having taken it to new heights.

  16. bluepasj says:

    Greetings, from Brazil!

    A difficult question here: why does you love more: Crash or Jak and Daxter?

  17. Joeseph says:

    You should have kept Universal in the picture, at least we would still have Crash, it worked well before didnt it? and I thought you said Mark from Universal did add value. one last question what do you think activision has planned for Crash

  18. Joeseph says:

    What do you think are Activisions plans for Crash and why did mark quit Universal, and couldnt he sell Crash rights back to you as he was an Exec there

    • agavin says:

      Mark did. But we got to keep him anyway — he quit around then and consulted with us (and Sony, and Insomniac, and others).

    • agavin says:

      It isn’t that simple and they certainly weren’t going to sell the rights at the time he left (as royalties were pouring in). I can’t really say what Activision is going to do with Crash. I’m not them 🙂 Sorry, wish I knew.

  19. […] PREVIOUS installment, or the FIRST POST. […]

  20. Joeseph says:

    Please answer the above question Andy, BTW Crash Bandicoot is massive in England

    • agavin says:

      One of the most fun things about Crash was the international success. Jason and I used to tour the world promoting it (tiring but fun) and it was incredible to see all these international fans. London was one of our regular spots in the late 90s. China White! (the club not the drug)

  21. Jacob Nieman says:

    So, if it wasn’t for Sony, Crash would’ve been a 3DO title?

  22. Jacob Nieman says:

    Well, that’s better at least. 😛

    Love your work Andy, huge Crash fan, thank you for the great fun had through the series!

  23. Jacob says:

    On the subject of the current Naughty Dog, I just wanted to point you to the new Uncharted 3 trailer. After watching it I heard a cool little ode to Crash in the beginning. You can hear a very familiar sound effect if you listen closely at about 7 seconds in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHHcM6aHPnE) during the Naughty Dog logo.
    I’m so glad that Naughty Dog has continued down the path of making great games. You made good decisions regarding putting new people in charge.

    • agavin says:

      I’ve watched that trailer like 10 times and I still get goosebumps. I have to go into their office and watch it in their uber THX theatre!

      • Adrian says:

        Andy! Did you notice that in the very intro of the U3 trailer, when the paw in “Naughty Dog” is showing up, you can hear the faint sound of the Wumpa Fruit Slurp?!? It gave me shivers! :D!

  24. […] Bandicoot – part 2Making Crash Bandicoot – part 3Making Crash Bandicoot – part 4Making Crash Bandicoot – part 5Making Crash Bandicoot – part […]

  25. Andreas says:

    i know Crash Bash wasn’t made by you, but I know Insomniac placed a demo of the game in Spyro 3.

    What I want to know is why some people placed an easily accessible “Cheat menu” option in the Crash Bash pause menu by doing button combinations at the main menu that was basically just left and right on the D-pad?
    With this menu you can basically jailbreak the demo and put other cheats on Gameshark level in there. You can also access every single level of the game. Of course it’s interesting because you get to play beta versions of the levels where some are a little different from the official release. I also know that Homer and Bart Simpson status bar photos are used for the Komodo bros. icons during the boss battle.

    Did you hear about any of this from Eurocom or insomniac at the time?

    • agavin says:

      Insomniac wasn’t involved with Crash Bash, other than to okay putting the demo on 🙂 It’s typical for games to have cheat codes in them, all the Crash games do, but we tried to make the activating sequences VERY VERY hard to guess.

      • Andreas says:

        Are you saying that there’s still cheat codes in the triology that’s uncovered?

        I know that the japanese got some weird bonus videos in their Crash triology versions.

    • agavin says:

      I have never taken the time to survey the web to discover what had been found and what has not — but there are cheat codes in all our games. However, you won’t get them from me, I don’t even remember how you access them 🙂 Seriously!

  26. Jonathan says:

    Did you guys ever solve the 120,000 CD hits problem, or just live with it?

    • agavin says:

      The drives weren’t AS BAD as they thought. That being said, the original PS1 designers never really imagined that the drives would seek as much as they did. They used commodity CD drive hardware that had been designed for music playing (which has very little seeking), so early drives in particular did tend to burn out.

      Playstations (and other CD based game systems) did break much more frequently than the NES/SNES type hardware which had no moving parts. People seemed to deal.

  27. Andreas says:

    Thatnk God for Platinum games then! Without those I would probably never get to have Crash at the time (other than CTR of course).

    My whole Crash Bandicoot fan history starts playing Crash 2 at a friend’s house.

    It’s really a shame. I cheacked out http://www.gamefaqs.com and found out that there is a Cheat menu in Crash Bash (PAL version only), but only for non-platinum versions. The platinum part is the criteria screwing me over.

  28. Heitor says:

    Greetings from Brazil Andy! I love everything that Naughty Dog makes, and I really regret not having original versions of Crash, because here in Brazil sometimes we have to buy pirate games due to the price of the originals(the taxes here are absurd, and since mostly all the games are imported…), because Crash is really a relic(at least for me) that upped the ante in the game industry, and I really hope Naughty Dog keeps making these amazing games. I cant wait for Uncharted 3. BTW now I only buy original games not pirate ones. XD

  29. The Swede says:

    I got Crash 2 for my 8th birthday or something like that, and later on Crash Team Racing. Last year I bought Crash 1 and Crash 3 and played them all again, and I have to say it’s a huge shame such a character had to end his days in the last games that weren’t even developed by you. Games I dream about coming back are Crash 1-3, SSX 3 and a few more, so I really hope there’ll be another Crash game! 😦

    By the way, Crash Team Racing is actually incredibly fun! I’ve got all of the sapphire time trials and everything and the game is kind of addictive with all the boosting and everything, even today!

  30. […] [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] PART 8 is brand […]

  31. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    do you think the any crash games will be re released

  32. […] posts on Crash: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, […]

  33. […] Making Crash series: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, […]

    • Snuffol says:

      “…any move forward or backward in a level entailed loading in new data, a CD “hit.”” Does that mean that if you keep moving back and forth through a level on the original cd you could crash the game?

  34. Maneru says:

    Greetings from Brazil! 🙂

    Have you seen Mutato Muzika lately? I personally think his songs are fantastic and perfectly combined with each level, and transmitted the right emotions. I congratulate you for choosing him as a musician for the Crash games. I love all the musics, and I’m sure many other fans do.

    Oh, and I found some fanmade Death/Gem/Secret Route remixes from Crash 3, like:


    I know there weren’t any Skull Route on these levels, but how would you imagine a Skull Route on China levels, or the Jet Ski levels?

    • agavin says:

      I chat with Josh (the composer from Mutato) periodically, but I haven’t been over there in like almost 10 years 🙂 But for sure the music turned out absolutely perfect for Crash!

  35. […] story, as posted by Andy Gavin: 1. The ideas 2. Characters 3. The technology 4. Crash gameplay 5. Crates and other items 6. Attending the E3, premiere of the game 7. As a startup 8. An outsider’s perspective 9. The […]

  36. Jenna says:

    But, utilize one day each week to look at printing deals and websites on the internet.

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