Making Crash Bandicoot – part 6

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. ]

 

Not only did we need to finish our E3 demo, but we needed a real name for the game — Willie the Wombat wasn’t going to cut it. Now, in the Naughty Dog office proper we knew he was a Bandicoot. In fact, we liked the idea of using an action name for him, like Crash, Dash, Smash, and Bash — fallout from the visceral reaction to smashing so many boxes.

Dr N. Cortex goes medieval on Universal Marketing

But the Universal Marking department (of one) thought differently. They had hired one of those useless old-school toy marketing people, a frumpy fortyish woman about as divorced from our target audience – and the playing of video games – as possible. This seems to be a frequent problem with bigger companies, the mistaken idea that you can market an entertainment product if you aren’t also an enthusiastic customer of said product. On the other hand, everyone making the game played constantly. We had regular Bomberman tournaments, we could all debate the merits of control in Sonic vs Mario, and Dave was even a former Q*Bert world champion.

In any case, this obstacle (the marketing woman) wanted to call the game “Wuzzle the Wombat,” or “Ozzie the Otzel.” Fortunately, after much yelling we prevailed and Crash Bandicoot became… Crash Bandicoot.

Crash's hot girlfriend, Tawna

It’s also worth mentioning that she objected to Crash’s rather busty girlfriend (or Bandicoot-friend) on basic sexist principles. Now, Tawna wasn’t the most inspired of our character designs, more or less being Jessica Rabbit as a Bandicoot, and without the cool personality. But remember who generally played games like Crash. The same kind of guys we had been 5-10 years earlier.

The music also had to be cobbled together before E3 – and in classic video game development fashion had been left to the last minute. This task had been assigned to our nominal producer at Universal, a gentleman who mostly sat in his office and played Sexy Parodius. While of dubious benefit to the project, at least he loved video games. However, he proposed that instead of conventional music we create something called “the urban chaotic symphony” in which the programmer (me) would cause random sound effects such as bird chirps, car honks, grunts, and farting noises (actually listed and underlined), to be randomly selected and combined. When we rejected this innovative proposal, we were introduced to Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo and more recently Mutato Muzika. He and (mostly) Josh Mancell composed all the music for the games, produced by music aficionado and Naughty Dog programmer Dave Baggett.  Besides, Dave actually knew the game inside and out.

Finally we arrive at E3, and the debut of the N64 and Mario 64. Gulp.

Jason (right) and I (left) at E3 1996

Mario was a bit of a two edged sword for us. First of all, the attention it garnered helped force us into the limelight. Sega was engaged in the slow process of killing themselves with bad decisions and bad products, and so Sony and Nintendo found themselves head to head. This literally put Crash and Mario into the ring together. In fact, this was depicted on the cover of at least one game magazine (along with Sonic who declined to enter the ring).

In any case, since Crash released about a month after Mario the press often assumed that we had copied various elements, which always bugged us to no end, as both games were developed with no real knowledge of each other. Crash was nearly beta by the time we saw Mario at E3, and gold mastered by the time the N64 shipped and we could play it. Both games took very different approaches to the then unproven 3D CAG genre.

With Crash we decided to emphasize detailed cartoon visuals and classic Donkey Kong Style gameplay. So we used a camera on rails (albeit branching rails).

With the N64’s VERY limited texture system and poly count, but with its smoothing and z-buffer, Mario chose to go with a very loosely defined polygonal free roaming world and a much more playground style of gameplay.

Mark & I watch Miyamoto play Crash

Personally when I first got my hands on Mario I was like WTF? How is anyone going to know what to do here? And although there was a pretty real sense of marvel in this funny new world, I never found it very fun. The early camera AI was brutally frustrating. And the Mario voiceover. I still cringe, “It’sa me, Mario!” Still the game was brilliantly innovative, although I remain convinced that if anyone but Miyamoto had made the game it would have flopped.

Really, the future lay in the hybrid of the two.

Critics loved Mario. Perhaps because many of them were Nintendo fan boys, perhaps because it was more innovative (and it was). But the players loved both, because they sure bought a LOT of Crash Bandicoots too, approximately 35-40 million of our four PS1 games.

In a lot of ways Crash was the last of the great video game mascot characters, despite the fact that Sony never really wanted a mascot. We set out to fill this void, and made a game to do it, but we never really expected – only hoped – that it would happen. By the era of PS2 and X-box, the youthful generation of video game players had grown up, and the platforms began to appeal to a much wider age range. With this, and increased graphics horsepower that made possible more realistic games, came a shift to more mature subjects. The era of GTA, of Modern Warfare and Halo. Sophisticated and dark games mirroring R-rated action movies.

A part of me misses the simple, but highly crafted comic fun Crash represented.

 

Jason says:

There were so many great stories from Crash Development.  I’m sad that this is the last of 6 blog posts.  There is so much that has been missed.

One of my favorite memories relates to the collision detection.  Crash had more detailed environments than most games had attempted at that point, and there was no known solution for such complex collision detection in games.  Even after Crash came out, most developers just let their characters wade through most objects, and stuck to simple flat surfaces, but we wanted the character and the world to interact in a much more detailed fashion.

Andy and Dave called one of their friends at the Media Lab at MIT.  Basically, the Media lab worked on state of the art visual and computing problems.  They were, and still are, some of the most advanced in the world.  They asked their friend what high detail collision detection solutions were kicking around at that time.

The next day the friend called back and said he had the perfect solution.  Unfortunately, it demanded a Cray Supercomputer and hundreds (thousands?) of PlayStations worth of memory to work in real-time.

Andy and Dave hung up and started to come up with something on their own.

Naming Crash was one of the hardest things I have ever had to take part in.  It became so confused, so frustrating, so combative, and so tiring that I remember starting to think that Willie Wombat sounded good!

Credit goes to Taylor and Dave for combining Crash and Bandicoot for the first time.

If Andy and I deserve credit for anything name related, it is for viciously defending our character from the ravages of the Universal Marketing Death Squad.  I remember the name mooted by Universal to be Wez or Wezzy Wombat, but as I said things were very confused, and frankly it doesn’t matter what the alternate name was.

When Universal stated that as producer and they were going to pick the name, Andy and I walked the entire team (all 7 of us!) into the head of Universal Interactive’s office and said, “either we go with ‘Crash Bandicoot’, or you can name the game whatever you want and finish the development yourself.”

I think the result is obvious.

This was not the only time this tactic had to be used with Universal.  With all the “everyone grab your stuff and head to the office at the other end of the hall” moments, I don’t know how we even finished the game.

But we didn’t win every battle.  Crash’s girlfriend Tawna ended up on the chopping block after Crash 1.  We tried to choose our battles wisely.  Unlike the name “Crash Bandicoot”, Tawna wasn’t worth fighting for.

There was so much negativity and dispute with Universal Interactive that it is a miracle it didn’t scupper the game.

For example, Naughty Dog was told that it wasn’t “allowed” to go to the first E3.  This was part of a continuing attempt by Universal Interactive to take credit for the product.  It might have worked if Universal were parents and Naughty Dog was their six year old child, but we were an independent company working under contract.  Nobody was going to tell us what we could or couldn’t do.

There were also some leaked copies of the temporary box cover and press materials for E3, upon which Naughty Dog’s logo had “mysteriously,” and in direct conflict with the letter and spirit of our contract, been forgotten.

My response to both was to draft and print 1000 copies of a glitzy document entitled “Naughty Dog, creator and developer of Crash Bandicoot” ostensibly to hand out in front of the Crash display at E3.  As a “courtesy” I to passed these flyers out “for review” to Universal Interactive beforehand.

The head of Universal Interactive came as close to literally flipping his lid as a person can come.  He stormed into Andy’s office, made some extremely threatening comments, and then promptly went off to a shooting range in order to produce a bullet-riddled target to hang on his office door.

Things did get heated from time to time.

And just for the record, kudos to Mark for surviving all the hassle.  He was an employee of Universal Interactive yet completely uninvolved in any chicanery.  And as I’ve said before, he was always the Nth Dog, so times like these were harder on him than anyone else.

But all this is keeping us from discussing E3!

Ah the big show…

Sony booted one of its own internal products to give Crash the prime spot on the floor.  Walking in and seeing dozens of monitors playing the game was a moment I will never forget.

But I don’t think Andy and I had spent more than a moment looking at our triumph before we went off to fight the hoards at the Mario 64 consoles over at Nintendo’s booth for a chance on the controller.  As amazing as it was seeing our wall of monitors, seeing the lines for Mario made my heart drop.  Could it be that good?

Unlike Andy, I actually think Mario 64 WAS that good.

Mario 64 was a better game than the first Crash Bandicoot.

Miyamoto-san was at the top of his game and we were just getting started.  Crash was our first platformer, remember, and thus it lacked many of the gameplay nuances that Mario had.

Mario 64’s controls and balance were just better.

And then there was our annoying way of making players earn continues.  This was a major mistake.  It makes players that need lives fail while boring players that don’t.  It is the opposite of good game balance.

We were already learning.  We had realized that if a novice player died a lot of times, we could give them an Aku Aku at the start of a round and they had a better chance to progress.  And we figured out that if you died a lot when running from the boulder, we could just slow the boulder down a little each time.  If you died too much a fruit crate would suddenly become a continue point.  Eventually everyone succeeded at Crash.

Our mantra became help weaker players without changing the game for the better players.

We called all this DDA, Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment, and at the time the extent to which we did it was pretty novel.  It would lead later Crash games to be the inclusive, perfectly balanced games they became.   Good player, bad player, everyone loved Crash games.  They never realized it is because they were all playing a slightly different game, balanced for their specific needs.

But for all of our triumphant balancing attempts, we still made many mistakes in the first title.

Miyamoto-san didn’t make these mistakes.  3D Gameplay choice and art aside, Mario 64 was a better game.

And that isn’t to say that we didn’t have some serious advantages of our own.

For example, Crash looked better.  I am sure there will be disagreement with this statement.  But when 100 people were lined up and asked which looked more “next generation” (a term like ‘tomorrow’ that is always just over the horizon), most people pointed to Crash.

If I had to guess what Miyamoto-san was thinking when he was playing Crash in the photo above it was probably “damn this game looks good.”

Of course he had consciously made the decision to forgo the complex worlds Crash contained.  The N64 had prettier polygons, but less of them to offer.  Crash Bandicoot could not be made on the N64.  Of course Mario 64 couldn’t be done on the PlayStation either.  The PlayStation sucked at big polygons, specifically scissoring them without warping textures.  Mario 64 relied on big polygons.

But more fundamentally, the open world he chose would tax ANY system out at that time.   Mario 64 couldn’t be open and any more detailed than it was.  Miyamoto-san had chosen open and that meant simple.

Spyro later split the difference with walled open worlds, but at E3 1996 there was only the choice between the complex visuals of Crash, or the crayon simple expansive simplicity of Mario 64.

Yes, Crash was a throwback to old games and on “rails”.  But Mario 64 just didn’t look (as much) like a Pixar movie.  That created space for an argument, and thus one of the great wars between games, and by proxy consoles, could be fought.

I believe, right or wrong, that Crash won that comparison when it got to the shelves.

And this was just the beginning.

Unlike Miyamoto-san, Naughty Dog was willing to forgo the light of day to bring out a sequel to Crash Bandicoot one year later in September 1997.  By comparison, there wouldn’t be another Mario platformer until “Mario Sunshine” in 2002.

We took what we had learned from Crash 1, and from Mario 64 for that matter, and went back to the drawing board.   Crash 2 was re-built from the ground up.  Everything was improved.  But most importantly we focused on the gameplay.

Crash Bandicoot had taxed us to our limits.  Much of that time had been spent figuring out what the game would be, and then getting it working.

The second game could be built on the platform and successes of the first, but also from its mistakes.  The same would eventually true of Jak and Daxter, and, though I had no hand it the games, is probably true of Uncharted.  While Andy and I led Naughty Dog it had, and seems from outside to still have, a relentless pursuit of improvement.  That has meant historically that the second game in a series tends to be a better game.

Crash 2 would be a MUCH better game than Crash 1.  I would even argue that Crash 2 would end up being as good, if not better, than Mario 64.

But that is as story for another day.

 

This (sort of) continues with a virtual part 7 by Dave Baggett with his thoughts on Crash.

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Jason: or blog

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The Limited Edition Launch Poster

343 comments on “Making Crash Bandicoot – part 6

    • Ricardo Fernandes de Souza says:

      do you think crash bandicoot can back to naughty dog and naughty remake crash games for ps3? like spyro the new begining?
      Sorry my questions, but i love crash bandicoot games… i´m from Brasil and sorry my english… i´m not speak english very well…

    • Daniel says:

      Hi Andy, i was just wondering what crash bandicoot game and jak and daxter game you enjoyed making most. thanks! 🙂

    • Daniel says:

      Hi i would like to say that the beach that you first are on in jak and daxter 1 is the most beautiful creation i have ever seen in a game before. I would love to live there haha. 🙂

  1. 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

  2. Joeseph says:

    Is there no way you can go back to Naughty Dog after all it is your company you must have some rights there?

  3. Joeseph says:

    Is there any way you can work for Activision, at least you can work on Crash again, I am sure they will hire the people who created Crash Bandicoot. BTW sounds like Universal were a nightmare. If Universal splits with Activision/Vivendi will they still own crash?

  4. Joeseph says:

    what did you think of Crash Twinsanity many poeple thought that was a good game, not better than yours obviously. Do you play the orignal crash games via PS3

    • agavin says:

      Twinsanity was the best of the non-NDI Crash games I played, and boy did I have some good laughs from that one. “Blondes DO have more fun!” Still… it wasn’t very inspired, just competent. Just popping in Crash 2 on a PS2 would have gotten you more fun.

      I do periodically play Crash on the PS3, where I think it plays great. My PS1s are in a box in the garage.

      • Freker says:

        I’m loving these blogs. I’ve loved Naughty Dog for years and I love the way that in CTR you encouraged us to see the concept art of the games. Since then I’ve been trained in animation (mainly 2D) and trying to make my way doing that, but I can’t help but get excited by concept art and model sheets. It’s been great reading the trials and tribulations of Crash.

        I’ve been wondering when you guys are going to be back on the core gaming scene after Crash and Jak. I really miss the cartoony dynamics your characters had and the evolution between both the franchises.
        Jak 2 is one of my favourite games of all time and although I missed Crash, I wouldn’t give it up for Jak. Well, at least when Travellers Tales were the only developer that new how to handle Crash after ND.

        I love how Jak grew with me each game. Very brave decision changing the design of Jak every game as he got older. I hope that you’ll cover Jak in the future. You and Jason should have a blog for these post mortems alone.

        It’s been a great few days as I’ve been reading these. I hope you continue covering the Crash series, but I just feel that Jak and Daxter and the radical jump of gameplay and theme in Jak2 would be a great read.

      • agavin says:

        For whatever reason, the market focus on the PS(x) and xbox has shifted away from cartoony. The Wii, iPhone and various other platforms still have a lot of that, but the “hardcore” game systems tend to focus on gritty games right now.

      • Freker says:

        Thanks Andy, I did think that’s probably the situation. In my opinion, this console generation made one big mistake, it grew up with the players of the last one (PS2) instead of embracing the next generation of gamers whilst entertaining adults at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Wii, which arguably has been the children’s console this gen, but just find very little games challenge and push children’s imaginations on that system, especially the way, say, Crash or Jak did, most games for children now have moved away from the trial and error of the Crash gameplay which harkened back to 2D platformers.

        Gaming has moved away from that simple narrative and crafted, fun world in games and once Insomniac Games stop the Ratchet and Clank series, it’ll be a very sad day indeed.

        I really hope Activision do something with Crash again, without changing too much from the ND games, they’re sitting on a downloadable title IP goldmine if they keep it old-school.

      • agavin says:

        No one who knows me can argue that I’m anything but a super intellectual, but to tell the truth, I like my games like Crash — where you don’t have to think TOO much, but just kinda go for it. When you get on a roll in Crash (and often that roll is forged by dying a lot), it’s just pure visceral fun.

      • Andreas says:

        Haha, my PS1 is still hooked up to an old TV that might’ve been born before myself to be honest. (Non-flatscreen) The new TVs these days have this ferocious off-sync in gameplay with their one second delay for each button command when playing games from the PS1 or other systems released at the time. The PS1 and Dreamcast are the only reasons why I keep my old TV next to my new TV that was actually a newly released model when I bought it. =D

      • agavin says:

        At Naughty Dog we had a CRT monitor (an Amdek Color II) which I had bought in 1980!!! that was still in use in Evan Well’s office for testing Jak 3 when I left in 2004. Justin told me it was in maybe 2007. I have to ask him if it still works, but that thing was in continuous use for over 25 years of game development! It was affectionately known as “old shitto.”

      • agavin says:

        Taylor found it. It lives, the ancient 1980 monitor:

      • Odie says:

        I mentioned to Taylor that “old shitto” belongs in the trophy case as much as anything else. It’s being used as a support beam for a bunch of boxes currently!

      • agavin says:

        A sad retirement plan for an old geezer

      • Ricardo Fernandes de Souza says:

        you are happy with the crash bandicoot style like tatoo in crash of the titans and crash mind over mutant?

      • agavin says:

        Never played any after Twinsanity other than the iPhone cart game.

      • tristin says:

        Well, for traveller’s tales -oxford’s defense, Vivendi Universal, was very timid about what it wanted to be, the original concepts, made the game look amazing, but when vivendi decided to trash them due to another similar games release, idk,it didnt seem fair the the developers, and trust me, Twinsanity, Titans AND Mind Over Mutant were made by developers, who were inspired by the ND teams, TT- Oxford was a bunch of Crash Fans coming together, in the attempt to restore crash, and it was the same thing with Radical, Unfortuanatly,the fanbase about 60% is completely convinced that you and jason are the only people who are appropriate for crash, and that no one else has the potential to create good games like you people did, its rather sad . . .

      • Daniel says:

        haha thats cool, i play crash bandicoot about twice each year, as well as jak 1 and 2 because they are the best games i have ever played!

  5. jasonrubin says:

    Maybe I can help answer the “Why Not” questions about Andy and I working on more Crash games.

    Universal Interactive which became Vivendi Universal certainly mishandled Crash. The titles they put out tried to capitalize on Crash’s good name rather than making new interesting games. Though certainly the developers that worked on the games deserve some berating, they were always handed tiny budgets and asked to pull miracles. The games simply could not have succeeded to the level that the first 4 did.

    Crash did have success in that period, however. Crash Team Racing for the iPhone was did well, as did its sequel.

    When Activision took over the Crash franchise they did not do him the same disservice. Rather, Activision has done very little with Crash beyond keeping the iPhone game alive.

    In my opinion, and it is only that, this shows a respect for Crash that hasn’t been there since the Naughty Dog days. I know many of the people working at Activision personally, and I have a huge amount of admiration for them. I am sure they are trying to figure out what the right thing for Crash going forward. Until then, Activision seems to be giving Crash a rest.

    Personally, I’d love to be involved in another product. But only time will tell…

  6. brian loo says:

    posts 1-6 are a truly great recount – well-done, well-done, well-done. and if they can make a movie about creating a site which allows you to post messages about what youre doing at a given moment, they should make one about the seminal works of an economic industry powerhouse. nice!

  7. Joeseph says:

    Thank you very much Jason, here’s me thinking Activision just wanted Crash for Iphone gaming only. I do think he needs a rest after Radical Entertainments poor treatment of him, they completely changed everything have you seen Aku Aku and Uka Uka now. I also hope they bring out a game for his 15th Anniversary on Ps3

    • agavin says:

      To make Crash’s 15th Anniversary (Sept 2011) they’d have to be well under way 🙂 It takes 2 years to make a great game!

      • Joeseph says:

        So they are not making a game at this moment? Another game may take longer than I think then. 😦

      • agavin says:

        I can’t say for sure, but I haven’t seen any announcements. Usually if a game was coming out this fall it would be public by now, certainly by E3.

  8. Andrew says:

    I was curious about this after reading a previous comment that mentioned Spyro, Mario, and Banjo & Kazooie all being developed around the same time. It never dawned on me how many directions the genre was going all at once, in 3D no less. It really sounds like everyone was finding ways to react to each other (studios), even during development.

    • agavin says:

      Mario and Crash were “first generation” 3D platformers. B&K and Spyro second or third (in that they came out 2 years later). Really it’s way more complicated than this because there are a bunch of really lousy games before Crash and Mario (like Floating Runner, or Jumping Jack Flash). Other contemporaries to Crash (but a hair later) were games like Croc.

      Making 3D platformers was really hard, and most sucked. A few totally didn’t, like Mario, the Rare games, Insomniacs. Some had some real merits (like Gex 2), but were flawed. It was a hard place to be. The PS1 was 3D, but it made it really hard, and the genre was so new there were a lot of ways to screw up.

      • Tim van der Meij says:

        Oh man, Croc, what an awesome game. I got my 3D gaming kick by discovering Crash, Spyro and Croc around about the same time. Croc 1 and 2 make up about 70% of my first four or five years of gaming.

        It was really great reading about the development of Crash, specifically about all the different problems and challenges that occurred along the way, like solving the polygon problem by putting a leaf in the way, that was great. I find it a shame that we can’t discover any of this more readily, like a post-game blog series about what the challenges were in making the games.

        If there’s going to be a series like this on Crash 2 (and 3 and beyond) then I eargly look forward to reading it. I would also like to give you guys a personal thank you for making Crash, because without it I wouldn’t be gaming today with wonders like Ratchet, SSX, Burnout and more. It all got kicked off thanks to Crash.

  9. Taylor Kurosaki says:

    Great stories guys! This really takes me back to an incredible, rewarding, grueling time. Looking back those were incredible days, and nights, and weekends, and weekend nights. I’m the most satisfied with Boulder Dash and Hog Wild- varying our core gameplay mechanic just enough to give the game more variety without invalidating the lessons we were constantly, mercilessly, teaching the player. Boulder Dash survives mostly unchanged even in Uncharted 2, although the boulder is now a truck trying to mow you down in an alleyway. 🙂

    Dave and I did champion the name Crash relentlessly around the office, although, and I know this is heresy, I really wanted Crash Wombat to be the final name. I hated how everyone I pitched Bandicoot to would invariably say Bandi-who?

    The thing I’m least proud of was just how brutally difficult the game was and still is. I was learning game design by the seat of my pants from Mark and in my mind I truly thought each and every challenge needed to be slightly more difficult than the one immediately preceding it. Oops! To this very day my mother plays Crash and I cringe at how unforgiving it is and try unsuccessfully to steer her to the sequel as we finally understood that a difficulty ramp shouldn’t be linear.

    The other thing I often reflect on was my decision to leave the company during the development of Crash 2. I was simply fried after the first game, and was so excited to get back to year one of the two year development cycle. I had spent months thinking about not only the expansion of Crash’s moveset but also the idea we had to turn the camera around, flip it 180 degrees if you started pushing toward the screen. I was thrilled for the R&D phase again, and once it became clear that we were going to start crunching all over to make what I called (wrongly) Crash 1.5, I knew I had to leave or I was going to snap. It was a difficult decision for sure, I felt terrible for bailing on this family we had become, but a decision which probably worked out the best for both Naughty Dog and I in the long run. The one thing that still amazes me to this day is the company culture instilled by Andy and Jason at Naughty Dog. The relentless iteration, the flat structure where everyone’s opinion was valued, that is what made Crash great and it’s what made Naughty Dog great. That spirit is alive and well and stronger than ever at Naughty Dog today. Thanks for everything guys.

    • jasonrubin says:

      I know we were all pretty burnt. It didn’t really hit me until after CTR. I think I was so busy doing things that I never had the time to stop and realize how tired I was.

      Glad you got back on Board at Naughty Dog. Man, I do miss it!

  10. Joeseph says:

    I never played Radicals Crash games, cos frankly they were terrible!!! what did you think of the redesigns of the popular characters such as AKU AKU and UKA UKA for me they were the worst.

  11. bluepasj says:

    LOL

    I don’t like Mario 64 too. Personally I think Sonic made a much better entrance in 3D than him. AND that Crash is the best 3D mascot game I played. I just love linearity.

    You should make posts about the making off of Crash 2 and 3 too.

  12. tom says:

    Awesome, its amazing how much you accomplished with the crash series, in both the industry and technical achievements. Hope you carry on these blogs! 🙂

  13. So, when you got Aku Aku, did he actually say something, or am I just imagining him saying ‘Boogaja!’. Ah man, those were the days.

    Crash Bandicoot was quite literally one of the first games I owned and played to completion. I was about 5 years old when I first played it and man, was it awesome. These posts have been a fantastic insight into one of my favourite games of all time (I still have the original Crash in my room. It lives in my Naughty Dog collection). Thanks for writing these up Andy and Jason, and thanks for making such awesome games. I’d love to read about development on Crash 2, or better yet, transitioning from PS1 to PS2 with Jak and Daxter. But that’s just me being interested.

    • agavin says:

      He says something closer to Uga Booga. I still get goose bumps when I hear the sound, it’s so awesome.

      Crash is in my room too, check out the first drawings ever of the “real crash,” not 5 feet from me:

      • Oh man, I’m so jealous. What I really what is one of those awesome Jak figurines/statues!

      • agavin says:

        That reminds me. I have to find mine, it’s in a box somewhere. My favorite Crash item is the launch poster (only 60 made) shown up at the end of this article. Mine was given away to a Universal exec that left a week later (he probably gave it to his 2 year old), but 10 years later I got one back when Taylor (super awesome dude and friend that he is) gave me his. Now it’s framed in my basement game room with the Jak 1, Daxter (PSP), and Uncharted ones. Only the first game of a series got a launch poster, and they were printed on the Iris (what they call a Giclee, or glorified ink jet).

      • jasonrubin says:

        If I remember correctly, Mike Gollum, who did the sound for the Crash games, was having a beast of a time coming up with sounds for Aku Aku. They had searched every library, and tried to mix sounds they had to make something new. Apparently one of the sound guys not working on Crash came into his office and said “how about this?” and just belted it out. I don’t think it says anything, and I don’t think it can be recreated. It just was.

  14. Andrea says:

    Hi, I’m from Italy and I’ve read all the 6 pages: they are very good! I remember that when I was 8 I didn’t know what was a PS1 or a Nintendo 64, so I always went to my friends and they were always playing Crash Bandicoot: that game was so funny that in 2003 I bought my first videogame console, a PS2, with Crash Bandicoot 2. Then, I bought Crash 1, Crash 3 and CTR. They were so funny: I remember that I was shocked how the graphic was so good and I remember that I had a lot of fun and a lot of hard times with the levels (especially the Sunset Vista: that’s probably one of the hardest level of the Crash series) and a bit of…disturbing moments, like seeing the Lab Assistants, N.Gin or N.Brio when he became a monster.

    By the way, it’s a bit sad that Activision (or better Radical Entertainment) isn’t doing a Crash game for console since 2008. Yeah, I know that there are CBNK3D (2009) and CBNK2(2010), but I really hoped in a return of Crash in a console, especially that the last year they were really doing two Crash games for PS3/Xbox360/Wii: If I remember, the first was a sort of a remake or a new CTR, but it was canceled and the second was probably the best (and it was going to be made by Radical): a good looking Crash game with Crash that was going to have a Japanese looking and a return of some ND elements, like the boar of Crash 1. Unfortunately Activision canceled it too (and we don’t know why).

    Oh well, let’s hope that this year will be better. For now, I think that Twinsanity is probably the best Crash game after ND’s Crash 1/2/3/CTR.

    • agavin says:

      Sunset vista (which Dave programmed) was one of my favorites too. I loved the hard 2D “platformy” levels. We toned them down in Crash 2 and Crash 3, which are much much better balanced. We also increased the percentage of gimmick levels in Crash 3 a lot (flying, riding, etc.). I always myself liked the classic Crash on his own 2 feet levels, but a lot of people loved the alternate mechanics, and they marketed really well.

      Making each fun to play was my job (with lots of pressure from Jason and Mark :-)) and it was HARD!

      • Andreas says:

        Sometimes you get lucky with the waves of bats that comes at you in some places and you manage to spin them all away thus receiving wumpa.

        Crash 3 had the best bosses in my opinion. I really liked Dingodile. Not only is he my all time favorite Crash character with his Australian by Tom Hanks, (I believe)but the boss battle against him was really interesting being the only snow level in the game and the “run around in circles” effect. There is a flaw in the programming though that lets you easily slide jump over the crystal barrier that’s supposed to be blown away by Dingodile himself. This is fixed in the Japanese version, but Dingodile can easily be beaten in less than 30 seconds by utilizing this bug.

        I also wanna point out that you can go faster in Crash 2 and 3 by continously sliding and cancelling the slide by spinning. The spinning animation will also be tilted. You can also jump extremely high by sliding then spin right before jumping. This can be used to get out of the pits in the first jungle levels of Crash 2 with ease.

        Still, I think this is something that improves the game to be honest. Skilled players that can utilize these can get up to high places with crates that they forfeited in some way by failing to jump off e.g the ostriches in the secret of “Turtle woods” in Crash 2 fast enough.

      • agavin says:

        The “go faster” maneuver you describe was well known in the office. Most of us did it to run through levels faster. It wasn’t a problem game play wise, just a kind of technique that was called a “tester move.”

  15. Joeseph says:

    Are you still in touch with Mark cerny and the gang who worked with Crash Bandicoot? What are they up to now?, are any of them still at Naughty Dog? P.S sorry for all the questions I am eager to know.

    • agavin says:

      We are still very friendly with all of them. It’s a rare week that goes by where I don’t have lunch with some Naughty Dog. Dave Baggett (who lives on the east coast) is still one of my best friends. They were intense times, like serving in a war together, just without the dying, and built intense relationships.

  16. Joeseph says:

    will you do a blog about Crash Bandicoot 2 and 3

  17. bluepasj says:

    Too, where did the idea for the Aku Aku come from?

    • agavin says:

      Oh boy. Trying to remember… He went with the native south pacific tiki theme for sure. He needed to be able to follow Crash and not have a ton of polygons, or take up too much screen space, or use collision detection. So he ended up a magic mask.

      • Andreas says:

        I like how a double shining Aku Aku likes to block your view during the Cortex battle. XD

        It’s a minor flaw that hasn’t been killing me off too much during the battle though.

        Talking about Crash 1. Have you ever thought there were too many easy one ups in Crash 1? I usually get 99 lives before facing Cortex in Crash 1 these days. That’s not saying the difficulty is bad. It’s just that I’m very familiar with the levels at this point. I would still like to pop the game in and play any day at this point as well.

    • jasonrubin says:

      Andy is right. We had no polygons to spare. We had to design a character in 30 polygons or less because he was always on screen. A sphere takes as many polygons!

      I remember putting a box on the screen, pulling a nose, and thinking that it looked like a face mask. The rest just flowed.

    • jasonrubin says:

      Oh yeah, and he couldn’t walk on the ground because that was too complicated. I remember trying a flying bug, a faerie with particles coming off it, etc. All were too small and had no personality.

  18. Rodrigo says:

    great read, hopefully you make a Jak and Daxter one some day (would love to hear about the PS2 era ND)I have a few questions…

    1.How’s your relationship with ND today? do you guys still visit the company?

    2.If you guys were still at ND today, would Uncharted have been made or would you have continue the cartoon platformer direction?

    3. Have you play the Uncharted games? what do you think of them?

    • agavin says:

      See above — still great friends with many Dogs.

      #2 is one of those what-ifs that can’t be answered.

      #3 but I’ve played (extensively both) Uncharted games. I liked 1, and I LOVED 2. It’s gorgeous, fun, and a better “movie” than National Treasure. LOL.

    • jasonrubin says:

      It is almost certain that if either Andy or I had stayed at Naughty Dog that something would have been different. Uncharted is the result of exactly the creative energy that was there after we left.

      But we were certainly contemplating doing games that were more mature. Grand Theft Auto 3 changed everything. Gamers went from loving cartoon characters to thinking of them as juvenile in less than a year.

      There was one great focus test we did during Jak 3 when two 8 year olds said that they loved the game but thought it was for kids younger than them. The world had changed!

      I remember offering to do something with human characters instead of Jak 2, arguing that we could probably never achieve the greatness we had achieved with Crash again unless we targeted a more adult market. But Sony felt strongly that Jak and Daxter was a good property, and they wanted us to continue.

      So my guess is had we stayed, Uncharted maybe not, but cartoon definitely not.

  19. Rodrigo says:

    Thanks for the answers! one more question, who owns the IP to the previous ND games way of the warrior, rings of power, Keef The Thief?

  20. Joeseph says:

    Why are you not still at Naughty Dog I heard somewhere that Jason wanted a break from the industry couldn’t you just take 1 or 2 years break rather than leave altogether.

    • agavin says:

      Leaving NDI was a complicated decision, and I could write an entire blog post on just that — but I won’t 🙂 Somewhere in one of these other comments I gave a brief answer.

  21. Joeseph says:

    It would be nice to see blogs about crash 2,3 and team racing and it would be interesting see how you guys and universal departed what what the thoughts were about Crash at the time of finishing the last game.

  22. Robert says:

    Excellent blog posts! I still think you guys should write a book about making the Crash series.

    Hoping for post sets about Crash 2 and 3!

  23. Hukka says:

    So what about the voice acting? As you know, Brendan O’Brien voiced everyone who even had a voice. How did you end up choosing him? Did you just ask some random people in your workplace whether they wanted to try their hand at voice acting or something?

    Also, I am too looking forward to blog posts about the development of Crash 2 and 3. The latter is my favourite game, and I’d like to know how it was programmed.

    • agavin says:

      Jason was more involved with the voice acting, we split that stuff and I handled the sound effects themselves (as they went in the game and needed more programming). The quality and seriousness of it certainly increased drastically game by game from Crash 1 to Jak 3 however.

    • jasonrubin says:

      We had a choice: SAG talent or no SAG talent. SAG is the Screen Actors Guild, the union that represents actors. Most good actors are SAG, and if you want to use them, there are rules that come with that. One of the rules is that nobody on the production can do voice acting. So no Naughty Dog’s do any voices in any of the games I worked on.

      Once we decided to go SAG the entire talent pool of Hollywood was available to us. We casted for voices and got 100s of samples. We listened to each one and chose the best.

      Brendan is one of those talented guys that can do any voice. So whenever we had him around, we asked him to do whatever voices we needed that had yet to be cast. Most of the time he nailed it.

  24. Nick says:

    I’ve been working in the ‘industry’ for 6 years and i’ve done the 18 hour days, 7 days a week for months on end, on games i’ve loved and well some that i didn’t.

    I played a few games during my early childhood, mario, sonic and the rest. But my true love for games came thanks to you guys, core design and capcom

    To this day i still hold Crash, tomb raider and resident evil as the greatest games of all time. They changed everything in my life, so thank you for all the pain you went through to make crash.

    The red crystal in Crash 2 taunted me for months!!!

    Thanks and good luck on your story!

    • agavin says:

      Thanks! One of the advantages to being the team lead / owner is that you only have to work on projects you really love — unless one sucks 🙂 Even so, there were times when it was hard going. Still, the thing that made it so worth it was how much people loved playing the games!

      So thanks to you fans. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true.

  25. Ben says:

    A fascinating read, thanks for writing these posts!

    I was raised on Nintendo games up till the Playstation came out and loved those games, but when I walked into a shop (probably about 9 or 10 at the time) and saw Crash Bandicoot running for the first time, it evoked a reaction past games hadn’t, I just thought:

    “Cool…”

    Thanks for making this game guys it was one of my favourites!

  26. ZeroDx says:

    And what about Jak 4, The Game I’m waiting for? 😛 Damn, ND must do it after finished UC3!

    • agavin says:

      Take that up with Evan Wells! (co-president of Naughty Dog) 🙂 But they sure are trying their best over there to make as much great game as they can.

  27. Andrew says:

    Loved reading every word of this series – the Crash games clearly were a labor of love for you guys. I would be delighted if you reflected on your experiences with the Jak & Daxter series – I would love to read about the discussions that went into shaping those games (particularly with Jak 2 and 3 being more open world).

    Crash will always hold a place in my heart – I remember that exact launch poster (though ironically it may have been for a later Crash release) used as a promo with snack sized potato chips. You got the poster for free and had to get your Mum to buy chips which contained character cards which you could stick onto the poster! How video game marketing has changed!

    Thanks for all the good memories, guys!

  28. Jaf says:

    I remember back when I was a kid wanting the N64 so badly because all the other kids had it. I wasn’t really interested in the PSX and brand unfamiliarity likely played a role in that. Anyways, come Christmas time I tear the wrapping off a heavy box and what do you know, it was a PSX bundled with Crash 1. I was a little saddened but man did I forget about the N64 as soon as I popped the disc in. Thank the lords for level codes because I didn’t have a memory card either. Ever since then I’ve been hooked on the core series (Crash 1 to CTR). Sadly I lost my original copy of Crash 1 but I downloaded it for PSP!

    • agavin says:

      The N64 may have had a few totally amazing games like Mario, Golden Eye, Zelda, Didy King Racing, etc, but the PS1 had SO many good games, and a lot more variety.

    • Andreas says:

      That reminds me of myself. Super Mario 64 was doubtlessly the first game I ever played. When I got a PS1 for my fifth birthday I wasn’t sure what to think. The crash series must’ve been more amazing than I think to be able to convert a N64 player into a Sony fanboy. Still, I have both the PS3 and Wii today. I keep my distance to Microsoft’s home consoles which is the Xbox series.

    • jasonrubin says:

      We were never too attached to any system to enjoy a good game on another. I think Goldeneye might hold the record for most hours of gameplay on a single title in the PS1/N64 era. I completed 00 mode.

  29. Aleu says:

    Ahh, Crash Bandicoot. So many memories… I was only 3 when I started playing these games, and they’re still one of my favorites. 🙂 I mean, how can you forget the first time you beat the boulder level? Or any of the bosses? Priceless! I don’t think I’ve gotten that much excitement from a game since the PS1, even with all the realistic graphics and situations now- Crash and Spyro and all those iconic characters were obviously plowing the way for games today.
    Thank you so much for writing these, all 6 of them. They’re great, to say the least, and I must say that I wish Naughty Dog still had hold of Crash. Being the company that they are, imagine what they could do with him today!

    • agavin says:

      Glad you enjoyed them, and thanks for the vote of confidence. Mark had a slogan called “training the consumer,” by which he meant that a company got to “train the consumer” to trust their brand, or not. Each time you put out a really good game, you buy some good will. A mediocre one, you chip aware at it.

      At Naughty Dog we always tried to remember that the game player is the customer, and we are “selling” them fun. Not all games you buy are fun, so building a brand is about letting people know that they can trust you’ll deliver the goods. Why are people so loyal toward Nintendo 1st party, or Blizzard? Because they know they’ll get a fun game! It’s really pretty simple.

      Publishers, as a general rule of thumb, don’t grok this. Probably because too many of their decision makers don’t play games.

  30. Andy, I just have a couple more questions I hope you can answer. According to your wikipedia page, you went ahead and created GOOL, your own dialect of LISP for Playstation. Can I ask, why GOOL? Why not use C++, Lua, or some other language? Didn’t it just make a whole heap of work and pressure on you, making your own compiler and language? And then when you moved on to the PS2, you made GOAL, again, not using C++ or anything. I just would like to know the advantages and reasoning behind using GOOL/GOAL.

    Also, I saw in a BTS video that Naughty Dog has Pogo and Trumpet hanging around as their mascots, did you have dogs roaming around the office in the days of Crash? Any response would be very much appreciated!

    • agavin says:

      Grrr arrg. I wrote a white paper in 1997 on this very issue (GOOL), but it’s in Word 95 format and the newer Words won’t open it. So if you know how to get get Word 2007 for PC or Word 2011 for Mac to open an ancient Word file (30 minutes of googling failed me — but everyone else has this problem too), then I’ll convert it and send it to you 🙂

      Morgan was at the Naughty Dog offices from 1993 (Way of the Warrior) until she passed to the great dog park in the sky in 2002. Osiris, arrived in Jan of 2000 and was there until I left in Fall 2004. He overlapped with Pogo in 2004. Trumpet is a relative newcomer, but I’m sure just as beloved.

      • Fantastic! I’d love to read that! If you’re willing to send it over/upload it to your wordpress space and link it to me, then let me download it, I’d be happy to play around with it trying to open it!

      • Jeff says:

        I would love to read this document too, or anything else on GOOL/GOAL for that matter.

        Thank you for the article series, it was a fun read.

      • agavin says:

        I placed the paper up on the web at:

        http://mascherato.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blog/misc/CGDC_Paper

        It was written in 1996-97 I think using normal Word 95. Word 2007-11 which I have can no longer open these old files. If one of you figures out how to get it converted to a new format, please post it as such, and tell me how to do it. I have PC Word 2007 and Mac Word 2011.

      • Jeff says:

        Weird. I found my Office 95 and installed it, but I could not get the file to open up (Word 95, Powerpoint, etc.). It wanted to ‘convert from’ and I went through all of the options with no luck. Word 97 didn’t work either.

      • agavin says:

        😦 That file tagged along from various Unix server to server to PC to Mac. It’s headers may have gotten gummed up. Lost it’s file type or whatever. Not sure what to do with it.

      • Cathal Murray says:

        Just to let you know, OpenOffice ( or its newer form LibreOffice) can open this file no problem, but you’re right, it’s been very messed up, it’ still readable but their are loads of # symbols instead of spaces etc

      • agavin says:

        I couldn’t find any other version of it either 😦

      • Yeah, the file seems to be a bit ….. not good. The best I’ve done is change the file extension to .rtf and open it in WordPad. There are weird symbols all over the place, but for the most part, it’s readable.

      • Art says:

        http://paste.lisp.org/+2KF7
        I converted it manually. Please proofread it.

        Do you have more materials on GOOL/GOAL?

        Best,
        Art

    • jasonrubin says:

      Morgan is the Black blob in the photo of Andy and I from Blog post 1. She was the only dog with a pass to the backlot at Universal.

      Morgan came to work every day from Way of the Warrior until CTR.

      • Is she a Labrador? They are the best. I had a lab when I was a kid, it was just crazy full of energy. My current two dogs are just these two lazy Maltese/jack russell that can’t be bothered playing fetch 😦

      • Wow . Did not know you were serious. All this talk about Crash made roam through the interwebs’ history, in particular, Naughty Dog’s. Whoever wrote your and Andy’s ‘biographies’ is awesome.

      • agavin says:

        That was us writing those old bios. Although I hate sweaters. I used to wear shorts and T-shirts even in Boston winters.

      • agavin says:

        Morgan was half black Lab, half Rhodesian Ridgeback, all great dog!

      • Andreas says:

        I remember seeing a Playstation underground scout video on Yotube where a guy attached a camera to Morgan in order to get some information on Crash 3 that would later be revealed to the public. XD

        This is probably a stupid question, but did you actually plan the whole project?

        I know I saw you in that video with some sketches explaining the bosses (especially Tiny) to a lady that worked on the game as well.

      • agavin says:

        What do you mean by “plan?” It was certainly planned, scheduled, designed, etc. 🙂 Not that everything went according to plan, lots of stuff didn’t, but there certainly was one.

  31. Alfonso Acosta says:

    Man what can I just say after reading this. Crash Bandicoot for me…..is the best game ive ever played (Though I value the creators opinions i think personally its the best.) It was my first game and It took me ten years to beat without cheat codes and when the time came my parents were freaking out to and so were all my friends (We never saw the ending and EVERYONE in my family loved it.) That game itself made me fall in love with and still make platformers my favorite game genre. Ive owned every single game on disc and on ps3 and Ive written research papers on your whole battle with sony and Universal on rights….It even brought tears to my teachers eyes how devoted and loved this franchise was and was thrown away. Yet basically to get to the point I just have to say thank you for posting this…..I have learned alot about the process to make a game and what you guys accomplished to make the one game Im holding near and dear to my heart (And my thumbs) possible. Heres hoping for a HD remake of the game and ND somehow getting back their rights…..(Ive literally bugged and called and talked to Greg Edmonson at a Video games live concert to see if he knew anything). Yet I value you entirely for listening to the opinion of a sixteen year old latino male whose life has been set to that of a geek thanks to this one game. Crash Bandicoot for me will be the only game series that could have taken mario and beat him. (And im a man who loves his Mario to yet thats a different story people wouldnt like to hear)

    • agavin says:

      I too hope Crash eventually comes back and reclaims his goofy badass spot!

      • Alfonso Acosta says:

        Wow…..I got to finally get a reply from someone who agrees with this….(Its a big thing I mean I really tried for well over 2 years) Thank you very much for listening again and I hope to see future work from you for I will pic it up day one.

  32. Best read I’ve had in the developer’s realm in years. Thank you for this extended series, just a bevy of insightful anecdotes. Most agreeable, good sir! Quite a show.

    One thing in game development that I find appalling is the attitude most publishers carry. Around the same time you were toiling into dawn, a dedicated team of programmers much like yourself were feverishly crafting –GEX–

    Remember him? A fantastic memoir similar to this can be found here. a warning: The Blog is 13 years old!

    http://games.greggman.com/game/gex/#

    honestly, what gives publishers the gaul to try and rummage the physically debilitating process of making art? Such madness! A tyrannical bureaucracy stomping on the face of creativity for all time!

    Read that blog, and if you can, tell me other instances in your career where a nosey publisher tried to flex their authority at the expense of quality. No need to be detailed, although….that would be divine. I’d assume that once you established yourselves as premier artists in the industry, that lessoned, no?

    • agavin says:

      Oh so funny. Gregg (of greggman) is a friend of mine, and worked at Naughty Dog on Jak 1! We had a lot of Gex and Gex 2 people at NDI. Danny Chan, lead programmer of CTR was lead for Gex 2. Even Wells a current co-president of NDI was a designer on Gex 2, as was Dan Arey (a former NDI designer and the main writer on Jak 1-3). Several others too.

    • jasonrubin says:

      You don’t know the half of it!

      The Crash 3 hallway offices and lack of air-conditioning courtesy of Universal Interactive period has yet to be told and would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up!

  33. Jay says:

    His time with us was too short… tsk tsk. Well thanks you guys for bringing me and many others into the world of games, hell, if there was no such thing as Crash Bandicoot I might outside playing football and interacting with other human beings 🙂 I only hope we get someone as creative (Or at least in possession of common sense) as you and Jason for Crash in the near future.

  34. Josh says:

    Never realized how much work went into making Crash, wow! Crash Bandicoot was one of the first video games I have ever played and i think it will always hold a special place in my heart, personally I like it more then crash 2 & 3 (especially 3). Highly enjoyed reading this story on its development. Just got the digital download on my PS3 (even though i still have the original disc in working condition). I have 4 levels left before I beat it for the first time ever.

  35. Dion Gray says:

    I really enjoyed this blog post 🙂
    Thanks for all the interesting insight on the development of crash.

  36. NJARVIE says:

    first of all
    THANK YOU!

    I still vividly remember that christmas morning unwrapping crash bandicoot and my PS1, and just being blown away by the charm and overall gameplay experience the crash series delivered, 15 years on and to this day it remains my favorite gaming series, I still enjoy going back. (owning multiple digital and disk based forms of the games)
    thanks again
    The insight into the development was fascinating, i throughly enjoyed the blog posts.

  37. zerodx says:

    Andy, you’re a Great man.

  38. Hashim says:

    My dad brought me and my sister to a game shop to rent games for our new Playstation. There were two games that caught our attention, Tomb Raider and Crash Bandicoot. After minutes of arguing between the two games with my sister, my dad decided to rent Crash Bandicoot. My whole family enjoyed the game especially my mom. We loved the game so much that my Dad decided to buy it. Everything about the game is memorable even today.

    Crash Bandicoot was also the first game I manage to get a 100% completion (I was 8 then, I still can’t believe how I did it). It was a challenge to get every crystal just to get to the end of the level for a special ending. 😀

    Thank you for making this game the most memorable gaming experience in my life.

    • agavin says:

      I’m not sure I ever got 100% in one saved game 🙂 I’ve done every part of it many times, but it would be unusual for me to do it all in one pass, as I had to start over again and again to test new versions.

    • jasonrubin says:

      One of my favorite parts of game development was the last few weeks before final. I would always go into the game testing room, take off my shoes, and play through the game at least two or three times to 100% (or whatever the max was). For those few days I lived the tester life, ate tester food, made tester jokes, and really got a feeling for the game as a complete project.

      This was true of every game except Rings of Power, which was 40+ hours at best!

      Andy never had that opportunity because he was responsible for clearing the game for Gold Master.

  39. Julio F says:

    What a great read! I found it interesting how you mentioned the timing of Mario 64 as a two edged sword, and that people mistakingly thought they had copied the game.
    I always wondered about the wide range of expressions Crash had and the ‘stretchable’ Crash now explains everything.

    I think i some ways Mario 64 was the better game in terms of gameplay design, however, Crash has a much bigger spot in my heart, and the cartoony elements of Crash spoke to me a lot more than the Mario factory, and i’m sure I speak for a lot of people.

    The Naughty Dog work ethic is indeed still alive today. That is definitely something to take pride in!

  40. Joeseph says:

    Hi I,m back Do you think Activision would sell Crash if Sony wanted him

    • agavin says:

      Everything has a price, but the truth is that media companies don’t sell properties except in distress. I’m not saying it never happens, but if you look at it historical in the general sense, they move hands when companies merge, are bought, or start to go out of business. The later does not apply to Activision.

      • Andreas says:

        Looking at how the Crash games are now I think Activision will consider selling the rights for Crash after their third game, to be honest. If Naughty Dog were somehow to buy back the rights for Crash Bandicoot, would you rush back and work for the company again?

  41. Joeseph says:

    was Evan Wells at Naughty Dog at the time of Crash Bandicoot development

    • agavin says:

      Evan started at NDI at the beginning of Crash 3. He was a very integral part of Crash 3, CTR, and everything after.

    • jasonrubin says:

      Evan was especially instrumental in helping me survive CTR.

      Instead of CTR, Andy, Stephen White, and Mark Cerny were working on early Jak and Daxter prototyping. For the first time since I was 15 I was working on a game project without Andy at my side. And Stephen White and Mark Cerny, the other coders that I had come to know and depend on at Naughty Dog were also off the project. Dave Baggett had left Naughty Dog a year earlier.

      In their stead there was a new group of new programmers at the healm, none of which I had worked with for more than a few year: Danny Chan, Evan Wells, Didier Malenfant and Gavin James.

      It is on CTR, which was the hardest project I have ever done, that I really got to know Evan’s skills as a designer and coder. I guess you could say that from that point on Evan was destined to take my place at Naughty Dog’s helm.

      And yes, Didier is the same guy who is now running Ready at Dawn!

      • Man, you have to have some sort of crazy magical secret that makes awesome games. Both Naughty Dog (with and without you guys) and Ready at Dawn make fantastic games!

      • agavin says:

        The “secret” is craft. Have smart people. Look at each and every thing and decide is it the best it can be. Refuse to accept the merely good.

  42. Joeseph says:

    Are any of the people who worked on Crash Still at Naughty Dog

    • agavin says:

      Yes. Of the Crash 1 crew, Justin (longest running NDI employee), Charlotte, and Taylor are all still at Naughty Dog. Taylor left and missed it so much he came back for a second round of punishment!

  43. Joeseph says:

    Did Universal offer you Crash Bash or once CTR was finished they just said goodbye, how did the partnership end?

    • agavin says:

      We wanted to do another game: Jak & Daxter

      • Joeseph says:

        So it was your choice to end the franchise? Did you think about carrying on with the franchise? BTW never played Jak and D

      • agavin says:

        Yes we certainly thought about it 🙂 It just wasn’t the right move at the time. We were ready for something new.

    • jasonrubin says:

      CTR was not part of our three project deal with Universal. It started as a generic racing game, funded internally, that we eventually teamed with Sony to publish. It was up to Sony to get the rights from Universal, though it was never a sure thing that it would happen.

      I am glad that it all worked out. CTR turned out to be an incredible game.

      • aimee says:

        CTR was an amazing game its a shame you couldn’t do Crash Bash as it was the last of the Crash bandicoot games on PSone, it would have been a nice ending to the Crash series.

  44. Joeseph says:

    It would be nice to see blogs about crash 2,3 and team racing and it would be interesting see how you guys and universal departed what what the thoughts were about Crash at the time of finishing the last game

  45. Joeseph says:

    what is Jak and Daxter about is similar to Crash?

    Why did you choose not to have N brio in Crash 2,3 or team racing. He was wicked.

    Who is your favourite good and bad guy in Crash?

  46. Joeseph says:

    How did spyro end up with Activision did the same thing happen like Crash

    • agavin says:

      To make a long story short: Spyro and Crash were both mostly controlled by Universal, which was bought by Vivendi, which was bought by Activision.

  47. Aimee says:

    What do you and Jas?n do now? are you making any games

  48. Thank you so much for making a game that will forever be embedded in my memories. Your game is a favorite still and just reading this 6 part series has me wanting to go find my disc and put it in my ps2.

  49. Kurtis says:

    its such a great thing to have had these games growing up, and now to read how they were made. Im glad you had as much fun making levels as i did playing them. Thank you for making my childhood fun!

    ps, i would take Crash 1 over Mario 64 any day 😛

  50. ZeroDx says:

    Somewhere i read that Jak 1 was initially conceived as a Crash’s free roaming! It’s true?

    • agavin says:

      Not at all. We were making a new character action game on the PS2, with a new character, and we wanted to make it free roaming, as Mario and B&K had proved the merits of this direction — plus the new machine allowed our detailed and pretty art style in a big expansive world.

  51. aimee says:

    OMG please do crash 2,3 and CTR pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee

  52. Joeseph says:

    Did you play any of Radicals Crash games, if so what do you think?

  53. Joeseph says:

    What Type of PS3 games do you like

  54. aimee says:

    what does Jason do now?

  55. joeseph says:

    Thanks for the information Andy, both of you and Jason are legends and I hope you bring something spectacular out (gaming wise). PS can’t wait for the rest of the Crash Bandicoot stories. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  56. StargamerX says:

    Really interesting to read this, Naughty Dog and their games are the reason I got into video games in the first place. A similar retrospective of Jak and Daxter would be awesome!

    Thanks for the hard work and the great games!

  57. Blake says:

    This was posted earlier on the second entry but I just wanted to make sure it can be read.

    I cannot even begin to say how pleased I am to read this. To express my undying fondness towards the Crash series would be an overall understatement. Crash Bandicoot 1 was the first game I ever played when I was four and I will always remember that. I was with my dad as he set up our play station that Christmas day with the play station disc demo. We played the Crash demo repeated times loop after loop. I was too little and had never played a videogame before so I kept spinning myself into the tnt crate laughing hysterically as Crash’s eyes fell down on his burning remains. When I was little I was so scared running away from the boulders I would pause the game if the boulder got too close in order to relax. The music at that sequence is simply amazing I must add, the constant beats and thumps is just urging yourself to run faster. This is where I start sounding weird in that I play through Crash 1 and 2 at least twice a year. I love warped and team racing but two and one really caught myself as being the richest in environment and overall amazing sound work. Snow Go in Crash 2 is just a trip down nostalgia lane as I recall playing when I was younger. The penguins, seals, and music just really capture a truly great level. I still play the original playstation one copies on my ps2. I also have the crash figures I bought when I was little that I loved playing with. The overall theming and sounds that make up Crash are so unique in an outstanding way that I feel can never be copied. Road to ruin and Ruination are my favorite levels in Crash 2 despite many people not enjoying them. The music and platforming is just amazing. I have always felt that Naught Dog had simply forgotten about the series after selling the franchise but this blog post has simply done wonders for my overall feelings towards you and Naughty Dog. I sincerely hope that one day Naught Dog will have ownership over Crash once again to either remake older titles or new ones. I would line up to play that hands down.

    • jasonrubin says:

      Both Andy and I hope that Crash comes back as well.

      I have to say, reading all the comments from Crash supporters has made me realize what a special thing we created. Who knows, maybe something will happen some day!

      • jorb says:

        So Jason and Andy, do you still visit the Naughty Dog office every now and then to see how business is going? Seeing some development going on Uncharted 3 etc?

        In any case you must be really proud of the succesfull franchises produced by ND. There seems to be a format: 3 maingames 1 racinggame (Crash 1,2,3, CTR) (Jak 1,2,3,Jak Xracing). Do you guys think/sense/feel there’s going to be a Uncharted Team Racing? 😛

  58. this is a great opportunity to thank you all for the games (1-3), I always have the felling that thats the way donkey kong 64 should have take and now I now why. when I finally get it , after DK64 and Mario 64, it bring me back to the snes era, it was so perfect so old school an instant classic, what a good game thank you.

    now DK country returns with the tiki enemies, dont you fell a homage to your work there? I know they will never say such a thing but…

    • agavin says:

      Is there a new DK? I haven’t owned a Nintendo machine in a while. The WII just doesn’t do it for me.

      • Andreas says:

        The Wii is turning more hardcore these days. We’re even getting a new Kirby from HAL laboratory soon. It’s going to have similar gameplay to Kirby Superstar from the SNES.

        I have DK country returns and I gotta say it’s harder than any Crash game. (no offense)
        It’s so hard, that Retrostar Studios decided to make a super-guide that will let the game play through the level at wish if you die enough on a level. It won’t collect any extras on the level though.

      • agavin says:

        Hard isn’t necessarily good. People want just enough challenge that it isn’t “easy,” but they do want to keep moving through the game without a lot of frustration. One trick is that different people have different skills, so to make this happen for everyone is very hard.

  59. bluepasj says:

    So what’s next? Crash, then Jak and Daxter… what’s next? Another franchise or a continuation of one of these?

  60. Alex says:

    Whoa, this read was amazing. Blew my mind out of the water.

    All those memories of having a blast while riding away from those boulders, fighting against Tiny Tiger – that Colosseum level in Crash 3 still has a special place in my memory – and the zero gravity stages in Crash 2 and 3. Maaaan, brings a tear to my eye.

    Like if it was today, seeing my dad arrive home with a black plastic bag with the PSOne box inside and Crash Bandicoot 2. Setting it up in the living room and playing all night long in my birthday!Then, a bit later, racing my friends on CTR, so great!Thank you guys for these great experiences that have marked my childhood.

    I still haven’t had a chance to play NDI’s Uncharted, but I plan to do it soon.A quick question: have you met with other Sony developers at the time? I’ve always hold a special place for Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid’s mastermind. Have you played any of his games?

    • agavin says:

      I played the PS1 and PS2 Metal Gears. We would drool over the level of detail of the effects. Very very detailed games, very cool. I did find the writing/directing took itself too seriously, but certainly advanced the art of 3D game cinematics and story oriented gameplay.

  61. Alex says:

    Whoa, this read was amazing. Blew my mind out of the water.

    All those memories of having a blast while riding away from those boulders, fighting against Tiny Tiger – that Colosseum level in Crash 3 still has a special place in my memory – and the zero gravity stages in Crash 2 and 3. Maaaan, brings a tear to my eye.

    Like if it was today, seeing my dad arrive home with a black plastic bag with the PSOne box inside and Crash Bandicoot 2. Setting it up in the living room and playing all night long in my birthday!Then, a bit later, racing my friends on CTR, so great!Thank you guys for these great experiences that have marked my childhood.

    I still haven’t had a chance to play NDI’s Uncharted, but I plan to do it soon.A quick question: have you met with other Sony developers at the time? I’ve always hold a special place for Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid’s mastermind. Have you played any of his games?

    Thanks from Brazil : D

  62. Roc says:

    I have been a Nintendo fan all my life, and played Mario 64 until the springs in that N64 joystick wore out. However, I remember playing Crash for the first time (post-Mario) and immediately thinking “THIS is a 3D platformer.” What a set of games.

    3D platformers, while they lasted, mostly mimicked Mario’s open style, as you said. Do you think we might see a trend of Crash’s 3D eventually? 2D platformers have seen a resurgence, and Sonic Colors was a surprisingly good game which really borrows a lot more from Crash than Mario. Even Mario Galaxy 2, with its more linear style, gimmick levels, and general “hoppiness” plays a lot like Crash.

  63. Andreas says:

    I noticed that you thought about using the title “Crash Bash” for the game which has later been used by Eurocom who made the minigame themed Crash Bash. Great game as well. A friend and I have gone through the game 200% five times now. It’s extremely hard as well.

    • agavin says:

      Crash Bash is the last game where a “Crash Original” worked on it, as Mark Cerny was the designer/producer. Hence the game is better than those that followed, and retains the correct style for the characters. Later games often violate the spirit which we intended for the characters and world.

  64. Cathal Murray says:

    First of all, I want to say thank you, not just for the amazing games you guys produced while at ND but also for this blog and these posts, since I was 5 Crash was my favorite game ( and still is, followed closely by Jak and Daxter ) but it’s also what inspired me to become a Game developer or at least, try to. When other kids wanted to be firemen, I wanted to be one of the guys who helped make Crash. And now that I’m in college studying this kind of stuff I’m fascinated even more by it, the limitations, your work arounds, everything.

    So on behalf of, what I believe, would be many gamers around the world, Thank you.

    • agavin says:

      Make your dreams happen! Making games is a great — albiet… intense — career!

      • Cathal Murray says:

        Thanks for the encouragement, a few times now I’ve wanted to give up actually, but maybe not so strangely, I’ve gone back to play older games ( specifically crash games, currently on a 105% run through on my PSP) and the sheer fun and excited feeling I still get all these years later has encouraged me to keep going.

        I remember getting Crash 3 for my 8th birthday (though it had been bought on release day )and being blown away by how amazing it was even compared to 1 , I had been so absorbed in 1 I didn’t realise that 2 even existed, perhaps the lack of internet and being 8 might have had something to do with that either, but as it was I ran out about 3 weeks later ( after finishing 3 ) and bought two and then to my delight CTR came out mere months later.

        But to make a long story short, the 4 PS1 Crash disks are currently sitting on my desk and are currently one of my most treasured possessions and I always knew a huge amount of love and work went into them, but to read about it has really made my day 🙂

      • jasonrubin says:

        I think everyone making games thinks of leaving. Certainly, every game developer I have ever known has complained about the hours and intensity.

        It is a really hard choice between working yourself to exhaustion doing the thing you love and living a slower, more adventurous life without the thrill of development.

        I have to say I feel very lucky to have been able to do both!

  65. Mike Joseph says:

    Very very interesting set of articles.

    Now you should do one of these for Crash 2, and Crash 3, and CTR!

  66. […] Making Crash Bandicoot – part 1Making Crash Bandicoot – part 2Making Crash Bandicoot – part 3Making Crash Bandicoot – part 4Making Crash Bandicoot – part 5Making Crash Bandicoot – part 6 […]

  67. Dhruv Govil says:

    So back in, I guess 2000, when the PS2 first came out, I finally got a PSX.
    At home, in India, there were no consoles unless imported for heavy prices. So when the PS2 came out, the PSX(a.k.a PS1..bleh) dropped to roughly the equivalent of $600.
    At the age of ten, I pleaded with my parents to get it, giving up presents or anything till the PS2 finally launched in India 5 years later.

    Anyway, back then, you could only get pirated games. Anything else was prohibitively expensive. So the first game I got was Crash Bandicoot 1. I popped the disc in, and lo and behold, it was in Japanese.
    Now even pirated, the game still cost money so I couldn’t complain.

    I had so much fun playing this incredibly new detailed world, that I actually didn’t care what anyone was saying. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t save because I didn’t understand the O – X inversion in Japan. Instead I got a cheap Japanese dictionary and learnt the damn language.

    So I think that in 2005, I finally found a legal retail copy of the game and bought it for about $100 to play in English.

    Now 5 years after that, I’m an animator trying to get into the industry you guys helped shape, by creating a game that inspired me so much, I decided to make a career being part of more games like that.

    Now in 2011, I have two friends working in Naughty Dog. Hopefully soon, I can join them too.

    Thank you guys so much for creating such a huge inspiration, for so many good times that I’ve replayed over and over. And thank you for such a good read. Truly inspiring.

    P.S. While making my animation final, we spent breaks playing Warped. Epic times.

    • agavin says:

      $100 for Crash! That’s like when I bought a Super Famicon in 1990 (I think), about a year before the SNES came out here. I importer not only over charged, but they required that you buy 7 games at like $110 a game. I did get some real gems in the lot: Super Mario Bros, Pilot Wings, F-Zero, and a few duds: some random golf all in Japanese, some random soccer.

      Or I used to get Megadrive games and saw down the cartridges to get the to fit in my Genesis. My friends and I would yell the weird Japanese voice over slogans out: Dlacura is coming to bite you!

      • Dhruv Govil says:

        Wow that must have been expensive. But atleast it makes you appreciate the games you got.
        It’s not like today when you can get a ton of disposable games and never play.

        I remember when my friend first got Contra. I think 10 of us used to take turns trying to play, when we were like 5 I think. That was the first game I finished.

        Now days, some games are cheap enough that you get them and don’t touch them at all.

  68. Jonathan Winwood says:

    Andy, I absolutely loved your blog. Crash Bandicoot is one of my all time favourite games. Its also was a source of inspiration for the game I helped make for Dare To be Digital called Death Inc. for the PSP. I religously studied camera implementations in games and tried to replicate a similar camera to the one used in Crash. Not only the camera, but the basic gameplay (running, jumping etc) because we thought Crash had absolutely nailed it. It was great reading this, finding out about all the highs and lows.

    P.S. Atleast you got gave your character a great name…we stuck with Mini Reaper! That’s just a description of what he was!

  69. Russell Hughes says:

    A fantastic read Andy, really shows the huge dedication and technical expertise required to create truly great games!

    My friends owned Crash 1, 2 & 3, and I remember borrowing them and thoroughly enjoying them all. I need to go back to Warped and complete it, I never finished the game!

    I bought CTR when it went platinum and it became one of my most played Playstation games – it was absolutely brilliant and far outshined Mario Kart 64 IMO. When I (reluctantly) traded in my PS games to help pay for my PS2 CTR was one of the few games I refused to part with 🙂

    Congratulations on the deserved success of the series.

    What are your thoughts on the current direction of NDI? Are you happy with the company now that you are looking in on it as third parties?

    Russell

    • agavin says:

      NDI is kicking ass and taking names. Since Crash we were evolving in the direction of trying to tell a movie-like story WITHOUT sacrificing gameplay, and UC2 takes this concept to the highest levels it’s every been. The game is like playing an adventure movie — but it’s still playing, not watching.

  70. aimee says:

    Hi Jason
    CTR was an amazing game its a shame you couldn’t do Crash Bash as it was the last of the Crash bandicoot games on PSone, it would have been a nice ending to the Crash series.

  71. aimee says:

    That Taylor guy got his job back, I’m sure you will if you ask, after all it’s yours and Andy’s company.

    If Evan wells ever decides he needs a break or quits would you two ever consider going back, if asked?

  72. Hypothetical question for you Andy. If you had decided to stay at Naughty Dog, would you have kept on using GOAL? Or make the ‘jump’ that GOOL did to GOAL? Or just went all ‘mainstream’ with C++? Also, did you ever have the chance to work with a PS3? What do you think of the Architecture/design of it?

    • agavin says:

      I never programmed directly on the PS3, but I was very intimate with the specs before the machine came out as the tech team working on Next Gen (at the time) stuff reported to me, and Mark and I went to Japan a couple times to check out the machine in development. Mark went a lot of times.

      I’m not sure. I might have ported GOAL, as porting it wouldn’t have been that hard to do. Writing it from scratch I’m not totally sure I would have done again. Once it reached the Jak 2 and Jak 3 level almost all the programmers loved it, and missed it when it was gone. It really did have some HUGE advantages for game programming. It also had some disadvantages, most of which were not in it’s design perse but just in the fact that I didn’t have time to say write a GUI. The debugger, while powerful, was an extremely arcane text debugger like DBX or GDB.

  73. Jonathan Winwood says:

    Andy & Jason, what a great article. Crash Bandicoot is one of my all time favourite games, and this article has shown me the highs and lows of making this fantastic game. Personally for me Crash > Mario (though Mario is still great).

    Not only did I find Crash a great game but also a great inspiration when creating Death Inc. for the PSP at Dare to be Digital. I watched countless videos and played countless hours looking at the basic gameplay (running, jumping etc) and camera techniques to try and base our mechanics on those. Plus also playing crash bandicoot was a great way to wind down after work.

    Lastly, I found the bit on naming crash really funny and interesting as we had problems naming our character, we instead just stuck with the short description of him….Mini Reaper.

  74. SCE DevNet says:

    omg… impossible to read full post! is so looong!!! 🙂

  75. cijfer says:

    Got Crash along with my PSX in 96.

    I used to walk back and forth a lot, to see all the backgrounds and try to see what was behind the plants:) Also always trying to get onto the things on the side, the toadstools and rocks. The worlds seemed so big and rich:) I still tend to do this with games like Uncharted actually.. trying to look beyond the accessible areas.

  76. Chris says:

    A great read I am glad to have come across this blog. I would just like to voice my thanks for many years of awesome naughty dog products and the work that has been put into each game. For me, the Crash games were the sole platformers worth playing on the PS1. Many would disagree but I found Spyro to be very subpar in quality when compared to what Rare, Nintendo, or you guys were doing. I can’t name how many times I have played through CB: Warped and enjoyed it each and every time. I hope that things work out with you in the future with whatever you decide to do.

    • agavin says:

      I myself love the intensity of gameplay that having a bit of a channel allows. We tried to layer and stage challenges (like 2D Mario and DKC). Dave B likened it to a symphony, where you built up to a crescendo, relaxed, built back up etc.

  77. aimee says:

    Jason you said you know people at Activision do you know if there is a crash game in development?

    • jasonrubin says:

      Andy and I have to walk a fine line between sharing our personal experiences and sharing other peoples private business. Only Activision has the right to discuss what they are doing with Crash.

      But as I have said before. I have a lot of respect for Activision, and I know that if they do a Crash they will make sure to do it right. That makes me very happy.

      • Gabriele says:

        Mr. Rubin what do you think about the two Crash games (Crash of the Titans and Crash Mind Over Mutants) made by Activision that changed more than the other non-ND games the characters, the gameplay etc.?
        Do you think that they can make a game like Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped?

      • aimee says:

        Crash of the Titans and Mind over Mutant were published by Sierra and developed Radical, both were rubbish, nothing to do with Activision, they only have released the iphone games.

      • jasonrubin says:

        There are two halves to making good games. First you need the talent. But equally as important is the time and budget to compete with other titles (including the previous games in your series).

        I don’t think any team that did a followup Crash had the time or budget to compete with our first titles. Universal, and eventually Vivendi tried to milk the franchise rather than build it.

        Without the time and budget it is impossible to know if the teams had the talent. We can only guess.

  78. aimee says:

    Hi Jason
    CTR was an amazing game, its a shame you couldn’t do Crash Bash as it was the last of the Crash bandicoot games on PSone, it would have been a nice ending to the Crash series.
    What did you think of Crash Bash?

    • jasonrubin says:

      If Crash was a platformer competing with Mario, and CTR was a Kart game competing with Mario Kart, then Crash Bash should have been a game to compete with Mario Party.

      On that metric, I think Crash Bash fell short.

      But if you read my other comments strewn around in this blog you will know that I believe that none of the titles after CTR got the time and budget to let the teams create something great.

      Crash Bash was a rushed product. It’s too bad.

  79. Xander says:

    Wow guys. Very good read, and judging by the size of the scroll bar, you’ve had very good feedback.
    I loved the 4 Crash games you made… Every Crash game since has been so disappointing, especially Crash Tag Team Racing…
    Crash Team Racing was incredible, and is one of my favourite games ever. I still play it from time to time, and I’m now 18 😀
    I know Activision own the rights to Crash (which is a bit lame) but you guys should do all you can to keep Crash alive… If Activision were to remake Crash Team Racing, and keep it pretty much exactly the same and just add online multiplayer, it would be INCREDIBLE.
    Thanks guys.

  80. Borgonoise Flaps says:

    The prebaked polygon oclusion makes sence, the camera was very strictly atached to the level path (wich was not a bad thing given the game design)
    But what about CTR?! That game had enviroments as detailed or even more detailed than Crash Bandicoot, and it didn’t have a on-rails camera. Plus, it had to render twice on 2-player mode. How the heck did you guys ever manage to pull that off on the psone?

    • agavin says:

      CTR used a mostly different engine, mostly written by Danny Chan (lead) and Greg Omi (assembly guru). It’s considerably less detailed actually, but it is a totally free roaming engine with very different visibility. The CTR engine is the very direct ancestor (conceptually) of what was to become the Jak engine. It used a kind of carefully constructed mess that could do dynamic level of detail. 16 polys collapsing to 4, 4 to 1. Texture fading to shaded in the distance.

      • Borgonoise Flaps says:

        Oh yeah, I remember how some objects morphed into more complex geometry as you got closer, but without the ugly pop-up of other games. Funny how that hasn’t been experimented with by other developers too extensevly to this date. All the talk about tesselation in directX11, but it’s not like you couldn’t do dinamic LOD in the past with custom solutions…

    • agavin says:

      All our PS2 games did it, and even Spyro (older) did fading out the textures to shading. I’m sure others did it as well, but it was hard, and not as necessary with modern hardware.

      • jasonrubin says:

        CTR’s engine was entirely new from the ground up. Greg Omi did an incredible job of getting that much out of the PlayStation.

        But working with a new engine was also part of what made CTR the hardest product I ever had to lead.

        More on that some other day!

  81. Andy and Jason,

    Reading this post is one of the most illuminating exercises I have had the pleasure of engaging online. I am very happy to see that your relationship is still vibrant enough to have each of you comment on your shared experiences without a scintilla of petty animosity toward one another. It is clear that whatever chemistry enabled the two of you to blow past the technological limitations of the 90’s and produce something truly extraordinary has not not dimished with time. The article makes it clear that you no longer work together, but…Jesus…I can’t think of a better example of two people bringing out the best in each other in furtherance of a shared, common goal. It’s what people want their marriage to be.

    Regardless, I want to thank both of you for posting this story. I was into PC gaming at the time of the PS1 release, and since I had better graphics on my system I never bothered with the first or second generation consoles. I missed out on a lot of very creative gaming experiences as a result–Crash Bandicoot included. I regret that, to be sure, but nonetheless I want let the two of you know how much those of us out here with limited resources appreciate and admire what you were able to do with so litte–just because you wanted to.

    However cliched, it is a wonderfully American story, and I wish you both the best in your endeavors…wherever they may take you.

    • agavin says:

      As a general rule of thumb, even though PC games from about 96 on had better graphics, console games had/have better playability. There are exceptions of course. But the standardized platform and better (and standard) controls are big factors.

    • jasonrubin says:

      Andy and I are still working together on Monkey Gods, though we are not doing new projects there. And we still talk about other ideas.

      I think the best way of looking at it is that we are on vacation, rather than retired!

  82. aimee says:

    Hi Jason
    CTR was an amazing game, its a shame you couldn’t do Crash Bash as it was the last of the Crash bandicoot games on PSone, it would have been a nice ending to the Crash series.
    What did you think of Crash Bash?

  83. aimee says:

    Andy,
    Have you heard what is happening with Activision they are cutiing games like there’s no tommorrow. Do you think Crash will be affected?

    • agavin says:

      They just canceled Guitar Hero. But as they haven’t announced any Crash development, there isn’t anything to cut 🙂 Let’s hope they eventually find a great team for it.

  84. Friedslick6 says:

    Oh, something weird you may or may have not known Andy.
    A pre-beta copy of this game (dating from roughly the 29th of Febuary 1996,) seemed to have gotten into the hands of a guy named “psx-collector” at some point. The graphical design looks quite different even at that stage. Was anything else noteable that was later changed? I actually like the look of the original 2D map btw, it looked alright.

    • agavin says:

      That is an Alpha version. It went to Sony, and must have leaked. By Crash 2 we had a hardware friend manufacturing us weird custom dongles to help prevent that. That practice is still common — but we originated it! 🙂

      • jasonrubin says:

        To be more precise, Greg Omi opened up a few hundred PlayStation controllers and reprogrammed them. The game then looked for one of those controllers in the second controller bay (doing all kind of weird inputs that were actually a code). No special second controller? No game!

        We only did that for one game.

      • agavin says:

        I think we may have used those same weird controllers for both Crash 2 and 3. Eventually Sony made their own little USB dongles for the PS2 which did the same thing without being a weird custom controller.

  85. Mark says:

    These 6 blogs were so interesting, thank you for giving us an insight into the development process of your iconic games!

    Every Naughty Dog game I’ve played has been great and absolutely polished to perfection. I didn’t get into a lot of gaming until the PS2 era, so my first real experience with your games was Jak and Daxter. Would love to read about that if you get around to it. But after reading these blogs, I think I’ll need to pick up some Crash games as psone classics to see what I’ve been missing.

    Great read!

    • aimee says:

      OMGGGGGGGGG you haven’t played Crash Bandicoot, where have you been, if you have a PS3, you can download all four games and you will have a blast

      • Mark says:

        Just bought Crash 1 as a psone classic, and playing it on my psp!

        Actually I did play CTR a long time ago on my ps2, but I missed out on Crash 1-3. I plan to remedy that now. I loved Jak 1-3 and both Uncharted games though. Looking forward to U3!!!

    • agavin says:

      We took our polishing Q from Miyamoto, who spent like 4 years on each game and really really put a shine on them. That was our target. Truth is it pays off on almost any product where quality and not cost matter.

      • jasonrubin says:

        If only we had four years per title!

        Crash 1: 21 months
        Crash 2: 13 months
        Crash 3: 11 months
        CTR: 8months 6 days (of sheer terror)

        Jak 1: 24 months
        Jak 2: 24 months
        Jak 3: 12 months

        And the pace continues at Naughty Dog

  86. […] is part of a now lengthy series of posts on the making of Crash Bandicoot. Click here for the PREVIOUS or for the FIRST POST […]

  87. Andreas says:

    No, I meant like planned as in the placement of the camera on Morgan to reveal stuff about Crash 3 that shouldn’t be.

    And about the Wiis hardcoreness. Yes, its games are getting harder. Especially DK country returns. What they did was to slap on the super-guide to do the work for you. Also, you don’t need to collect anything to complete the game normally, and I can’t imagine that being too difficult. 100% completionists like me gets the extra ridiciously hard DK temple levels to boot. One in each world.

  88. Tommy R says:

    ABOUT MOTHERS, VIDEO GAMES AND CRASH BANDICOOT

    Thank you so much for making the Crash Games. They were responsible for me rediscovering video games. At the time they came out I had not touched a video game for about ten years (since the Amiga days when I was about 15 years old). But seeing Crash Bandicoot in a store made me decide on bying a playstation 1 and “Crash”. And then i was hooked. The same thing happened to my mother (who loved to play video games back in the Atari days). I showed her Crash Bandicoot on my new playstation and right after that she went out and bought a playstation herself. After that she bought and played to death every single Crash game (until the other developers started making them, she just didn’t feel comfortable with their games, they were too illogical and not fun play and she just didn’t “get” them). I tried to make her like other playstation games as well. Croc, Spyro and every other platformer, but she never liked anything as much as Crash. I think what was unique about Crash was that it never made her give up on the game. It was diffucult enough to never get boring, and at the same time she never got totally stuck somewhere either on difficulty or some puzzle that was too hard.
    She later got a PS2 and now has a PS3 and a PSP. The PS3 (with all it’s processing power) has mainly been used to download the original Crash Games to play on the PS3 and also on her PSP. Mayby this says something about gameplay triumphing over fancy graphics.

    I got a bit tired after the third Crash platform game and stopped playing games for a while. Then the PS2 were released and I saw that Naughthy Dog had made a game called “Jak & Daxter” for it. So I bought the machine and the game. And once again I rediscovered how much fun video games were. I was totally stunned by the games graphics and its incredible gameplay. I also tried other PS2 games, but not a single one (except the Def Jam fighting games) except for the Jak & Daxter games gave me total satisfaction. All other games seemed unfinished, had bad and over complicated control schemes, were too hard or too easy, or just were not fun to play. Jak & Daxter just was perfect in every way. And it was also the first game that made me really care for its characters.

    Then the story repeated itself again. I was bored with and stopped playing games until the PS3 and “Uncharted” were released. Then totally fell in love with that game. I remember my fathers (who have never enjoyed video games but watched my mother play them for hundred of hours) comment when he saw me play it. “Is this a DVD or a video game?”. He thought the graphics looked so good that he couldn’t tell if it was the real thing. And after finishing it I stopped playing until “Uncharted 2” was released. And that one was a video game so perfect that I am almost sad to have played it. I feel like nothing ever will compare to it. So now I am just waiting for “Uncharted 3” to come out. I have desperatly tried to find other games to play. But I only end up comparing them to the Naughty Dog games I have played and then I just get frutrated with all their imperfection. So after countless dissapointments I have finally given up and realised that for me nothing will ever come close to those games. So unless the box says its from Naughty Dog I just don’t bother even trying it. Naughty Dog is the game worlds Pixar. They have made an ubroken string of great games and they have never dissapointed me.

    So thanks for making me love video games again. And thanks for giving my mother endless hours of entertainmain and keepin her young.
    I will try to forgive you for all the hours I have wasted trying to find a new game for my mother that she will like as much as the Crash games. I think the only thing that would truly satisfy her is if the original people behind the first Crash games would make another one (and still in the classic style) either for her PS3, PSP or Android.
    I hope that miracle happens before she’s too old to lift a joypad.

    • agavin says:

      Wow! That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (seriously).

    • Andreas says:

      You should probably try rivalling games of the series. The Ratchet & Clank games works mostly like Jak 2 and 3 and are rivalling those games. The series is made by Insomniac which had a close relation to naughty Dog according to Andy. they also made the original Spyro the dragon triology.

      The best part about liking the four (Even though Deadlocked was a disappointment compared to the first three) is that you get three new games in a new R & C series on the PS3 created by Insomniac with better graphics and a completely new story.
      A new spin-off just like R & C deadlocked is on its way to the PS3. Personally I think it looks a whole better than Deadlocked.

  89. Zoe says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to write these six blog posts. 🙂 I’ve always been a major Crash fan (the second one was the very first game I ever played on the PS1), and it’s a very special series to me. My dad said that when I was little and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always used to say I wanted to work for Disney or Naughty Dog, haha!

    But yeah, thank you so much for making the Crash games, and for making them so great! My sister and I still play them at least once a week – and as you can imagine the discs are scratched to hell. 😛 Amazingly they all still work (apart from CTR which crashes after I’ve beaten Pinstripe). My boyfriend also bought Crash 1, 2 and CTR off the PSN for me to have on my PSP as well, so they come with me wherever I go. I also enjoy watching him play Uncharted; I’ve been meaning to try it myself but still haven’t got round to it yet.

    I guess I should throw it in here that I have a scuba-diving Crash plushie, a Cortex plushie, and I also won two normal Crash plushies for my sister and I at a theme park here in the UK yeeeeeears ago. I also used to have a Coco figurine when I was younger (the one with her jet-ski) but she met her end when my brother tried to pull her off a high shelf and she tumbled to the ground. 😦 I still have the little pink gem that came with her, though!

    Just out of interest…is there any chance that all of the artwork (for the four ND Crash games) that used to be on the Crash website years ago might still be floating around somewhere? I used to have all of it saved, but lost them all in a computer crash and never got them back. 😦 But thank you again for all your hard work on Crash, and I hope he takes a turn for the better sometime soon! The games just aren’t as good these days as they used to be when you guys made them. 😀

  90. Dayton Schulist says:

    Hey!
    I wanted to say thank you so much for making this game because this game has broughten me so many wonderful memories with my friends! This game has actually been around as long as have maybe even longer because i was born on December 16 1996! Then when I was 4 my brother got it for christmas and i would play it everyday and today in 2011 and im 14 i still play!
    so thank you so much for making this game!
    I really wish you could make some more crash games too!

  91. Alasdair says:

    Thank you so much for this, really interesting reading.

    Absolutely loved Crash from the moment he got beamed down into ‘Jungle Rollers’ (the jungle themed levels are by far my favourite) on the Nov-Dec 1996 demo disc!

    I have a couple of questions:

    Crash 2 improved upon 1 greatly, and the same with 3 and 2, but I’ve always missed the island-hopping from 1. I never got the same sense of adventure and progression from the warp rooms.
    Were the warp rooms implemented for gameplay reasons (not as linear), or technical ones? (Maybe the limitations of the PSX would have made it difficult to keep similar ‘island-hopping’ visuals up to date along with the rest of the game?)
    Both maybe? A different reason?

    Having your lives reset (back to the default 4) after loading a saved game: intentional or not? (I think this only happened in Crash 1)

    That’s all!
    Thank you for the Crash games, they were mind blowing back then, and still hold up amazingly well today.

    P.S – An extra thank you for the concept art, really really cool.
    P.P.S – Cortex bobbing back and forth on the display screens in ‘Generator Room’ is still by far one of the creepiest things in a video game!

    • agavin says:

      I can’t remember why exactly we ditched the island. Part was surely that it was a “weird level,” with odd tech requirements. The warp room was technically much more similar to any other level. Another was the need to have other features in it, like the load/save and crystal displays, another was the non-linearity and the “cortex projector movies.” The Island burned A LOT of polygons.

  92. Kyle Maloney says:

    I truly miss not just this franchise in naughty dog’s hands, but the kind of games it represented as mentioned in that last paragraph. Games take themselves too seriously these days. its why I don’t even bother with non Nintendo games anymore for the most part.

    I don’t want Halos and uncharted, I want crash and Spyro back, the way they used to be. Not only do these two play too differently, but their art design is just awful.

    Too many games try to be dark/mature/epic. they lack of the sense of fun crash had. Crash was cool, but at the same time not kiddy. these days its usually one or the other(too childish and shallow, or too deep and mature), neither of which appeal to me.

    To be honest I think even jack and Daxter was guilty of this. The first one was perfect in tone, then it went in the other direction.

  93. Ricardo Fernandes de Souza says:

    it will be very cool if crash bandicoot return to naughty dog and naughty remake crash games. Like sierra did with spyro.
    you can imagine Crash bandicoot for ps3 with new graphics?

  94. Ricardo Fernandes de Souza says:

    of course with jason rubin and andy gavin in command…

  95. Ricardo Fernandes de Souza says:

    there are any chance to crash bandicoot go back to your hands?

  96. William says:

    What do you think of the Crash now?

    I dont like it very much

  97. Tristin says:

    Hey, Andy and Jason, if it’s alright may i ask you guys a question? Do you really think the new games are horrible? I mean, yes their different, but come one, with the tiny budget ACTIVISION gave radical, and with the changes they demanded, i dont think there was much for them to do.

    I mean Kirsten Forbes (the producer who worked for ACITISION, Poor soul)has great respect for you two, and she was a Crash mom. I’ve always said, “You can’t beat the classics. . .” but it seems to me,every crash fan i know, hates the new games because of the looks. . .

    Well, ive played crash since the beginning, and i remember my first game being CB2: Cortex Stikes Back, =D I just wanna say awsome job, and i plan on going to work on the Crash Bandicoot series, and hopefully help crash get back to the fame and glory he deserves. ( But it’ll be a little difficult to do because of the violent/dark/realistic craze games are in lol) You two, Charles Zembillas and Kirsten Forbes inspired me to work with Crash.

    Thanks for Reading

    -Tristin Evans

    • agavin says:

      I never said I hate then. 🙂 I haven’t played one since Twinsanity. I did play Wrath of Cortex and Twinsanity mostly thru. They just were mostly just flat. But Crash was never flat. Certainly with the newer ones they didn’t perform well in the market (i.e. sales).

      As Jason also said, yeah, you need both a gifted team and adequate time and budget, both the later of which I suspect were denied them. It’s not fair to compare teams under very different conditions. But in our day, from our point of view, nothing was too good for Crash, he was worth it.

  98. Tristin says:

    Yeah i do have to agree with you there, the only major dissapointment in the series for me, was Wrath of Cortex because in my eyes, it was basically another WARPED, barely anything, if that nothing, was new gameplay wise, the enimies would kill you if you went in a certain radius of them, and the characters (which isnt that big of a deal but in this case . . .) looked horrid, but i guess thats what happens when you give a development team 6-12 months to make a miracle happen.

    The Oxford Studio was given three years unfortuanatly 60% of what twinsanity was supposed to be was cut currtesy of Vivendi, and what they had left over was Twinsanity, (you can find all the cut stuff on Crashmania.net)Twinsanity had much more potential then what it came out to be, unfortunatly the people at Vivendi/ACTIVISION weren’t as close to them as you guys were to Mr. Cerny at Universal back in the 9o’s.

    In my eyes, the CREATOR(s)/DEVELOPERS should own the games and the publishers do what their title is PUBLISH!!! Its companies like ACTIVISION/Sierra/Vivendi [all the same company]that bring that Art of Video Games down, lower . . . and lower . . . its sad. 😦

    • agavin says:

      At it’s best publishers are supposed to add business and market savvy to the process. But all to often then just bring caution and even a false sense that they can actually pick what will sell in an “by the numbers” fashion. While this may work when say bringing out Madden 2006 after Madden 2005, it totally fails with new franchises and creative takes on gameplay — and most groundbreaking games do that.

      Imagine some marketing team saying to ID in the early 90s, “a shooting game in 3D? None of those have ever sold before!”

      • Tristin says:

        I agree, completely! Publishers should Publish, and and add business. Under no circumstances (in my views) should they have full control of a Franshise like ACTIVISION does with Crash, Spyro, etc., because then not only do they have majority, if not full control but then they get to decide, what they want, how they want it, and when its done. . .

        What happens when some nut at ACTIVISION wants to change crash, or another series AGAIN!? The fanbase can barely handle the newer changes made to them! I mean change the some of the new stuff and add a pinch from the older games so it’ll apeal more to those who judge games by the looks, or listen to what the fanbase wants when they send e-mails, letters,etc.!

        The day a publishing company, or whatever company owns game franchises, listens to the fanbase, by tuning into chat-sites, websites like youtube, and other mischellaneous sites, is the day, the developers and publishers will know exactly what the fanbase(s) want from a game, and be able to create them right. Until then they will just keep guessing, and guessing and guessing, some will like it, some may not.
        (sorry for my long novel-like chats)

        ~Tristin

      • agavin says:

        In practice, with the exception of certain high end developers (like Valve for example), the publishers control the money and therefore the show. The best of these have a good working relationship with the creators and leave the proper things be. The worst of them whore out their properties for hire on the cheap.

    • aimee says:

      Crash Twinsanity was good, not the best, Radicals crash games and were very very poor, they changed everything from crystals to aku aku and uka uka, the worst crash games were made at radical, the publisher at the time was sierra/vivendi were even worse, i wonder what Activision will do with Crash

  99. […] cartoon. Although I didn’t understand how the Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment (discussed in part 6) actually worked, I was truly amazed that it was the first game everyone I knew who played games […]

  100. Tristin says:

    (in resopnse to the last comment)

    I’m sure that if ACTIVISION, or any other publisher dragging the titles of video games through the mud, would shell out a couple more bucks and spare the developers a little more time, im sure any game, that has time, a good budget, and a team that gets along, or is close, could be an epic masterpiece, but teams like that come along once in a blue moon.

    I think that if more franshises stuck with certain consol systems, i think i would help (possibly), and like my previous posts, developers own and decide budget, publishers, manage marketing, and publishing, done. I think thats why Nintendo’s mario is doing well, because nintendo gets the decision, and simply has either another branch publish, or have another company do it.

    Although i do feel mario’s just one of those lucky games, that can do repetitive stuff and still make greatest hits, while other games like crash spyro, and sonic [and im sure others] must require minor or major changes as time passes on.

    Thanks a bunch for responding Andy, your awsome!
    ~Tristin

  101. Tenza Qas says:

    Thank you.

    You guys helped shape my childhood.

  102. Mads Sørensen says:

    First of, greetings from Denmark!

    Wow, what can I say. I get really emotional when I read this. I feel like letting you know my story.

    I received a Playstation with Crash 1 together with my little brother when I was 5. When I first started playing it, I was really bad. I took me ages to figure that TnT was a bad thing 😀
    Back then I never completed any of the games, but when I got 9-10 years old I completed the games with ease.

    Every now and then (atleast twice a year) I play trough all the games. When my MoM got hurt and went to the hospital and it felt like time was standing still, I pulled out my PS1 and played the games. A great escape into my childhood and extreme fun.

    I never played any of your Jak and Daxter games, so I can’t comment on these, but I’m sure those are epic too. Actually, I think I’m going to check the first of em out now 😉

    Thank you for making such epic games and making my childhood what it was.

    Best Regards

  103. Ricardo Fernandes de Souza says:

    woa man i relly miss the old crash games…
    i know is crazy but i will try one day to buy the crash rights and give for andy e jason… it will be very nice, see two friends work together again…

  104. Ricardo Fernandes de Souza says:

    I think naughty dog don’t wanna make more crash games…
    they have laugh when someone ask for new crash game

  105. Nima says:

    I loved the first 3 Crash games on the PS1 and I will NEVER forget them. It is such a shame that Universal Interactive Studios held onto the franchise and drove it to the ground making Crash so pathetic today. They destroyed what was fun about the game and made it so bland.

    Can I ask why you stopped making Crash’s?

  106. […] [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] PART 8 is brand […]

  107. its_not_a_me_mario says:

    J.R:”Personally, I’d love to be involved in another product. But only time will tell…”

    This made my day 🙂

  108. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    in the first crash game did it had a lab assistant that carried a t.v. in the lab beta version

  109. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    is it true that when the lab assistant falls off he makes the howie scream

  110. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    I think I am the biggest Crash fan…are there any other Crash fans left in this world?

  111. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    if activision ever gave you the rights of crash bandicoot would naughty dog ever make more crash bandicoot games?

    • agavin says:

      It’s very unlikely Naught Dog itself would end up again with the rights, as lateral transfer between entities like Activision and Sony is almost unheard of. And Jason and I no longer work for NDI, although lots of talented people do.

  112. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    well at least activision is taking care of crash bandicoot.bb

  113. jorb says:

    Greetings from the Netherlands!

    Andy, it is amazing to have the opportunity to read and reply on your blog – the co-creator of my favorite videogame series.
    Being a member of the Crashmania-forum I’ve read all 12 posts so far. First of all, thank you for co-inventing an important deal of my childhood.
    I think you’ve put a great effort into the programming and inventing work of the ND-Crashgame series, absolutely brilliant.
    I really hope you continue this series of blogposts towards Crash 2, 3 and CTR as I still have a lot of questions on these.

    However, I thought the music was very, very important for the tone of the series too.
    So I would like to ask: How was it to work with Josh Mancell and Mutato Muzika? How did you met and what where your thoughts on the first time hearing the music? Did they always hit the spot with the right tune or where there often needs for adjustments, what was your favorite song etc?

    Thank you in advance.

    • agavin says:

      It was great working with Josh on the music. It wasn’t always perfect the first time out (sometimes), but it was pretty easily and quickly tuned to “perfect” 🙂 Josh is awesome. In any case, reply to a Dave Baggett comment in part 7 with this question, as he produced the music, and he’ll probably give you more details.

      • jorb says:

        Yay! Thanks for the reply and tip, I’ll take the question right ahead to Mr. Baggett (getting to ask Q’s to so many devs, i’m being spoiled right now :D). I still wonder why Dave wasn’t on the soundtrack-credits in Crash Bandicoot 1 though?

      • agavin says:

        We had a policy of not breaking down the credit of individual Naughty Dogs, including Jason and myself. It was just a list, in order of hiring.

  114. Rob says:

    Great read. Crash was the first game I ever bought (being a newbie, I’d asked the guy in the shop something along the lines of ‘what’s the most awesome game you have?’. No prizes for guessing…)

    Save system drove me insane – is it bad I threw in the towel somewhere around ‘Up the Creek’?! I revisited it a couple of times over the years, until I got rid of my PS1 not long ago, and (stupidly) the games. I’m slightly less impatient now, so I plan to buy it again and finish it this summer once and for all! 😀

    I’ll add my voice in saying it’d be really good to read about the later games’ development – also a big advocate of Crash 3 and anything with Jak and Daxter. 🙂

    • agavin says:

      Yeah the saved game was terrible. In some comment on one of these posts I wrote in detail about that, and how we came about. Scrapped it immediately for Crash 2.

  115. jorb says:

    I’m very curious about game-development. What is the hardest part? Starting development or finishing development? Starting as of making sketches, ideas, financing, find a team or ending a product: perfectionizing it, debugging, game-testing, finding glitches and stuff? Also, is the first game the hardest to make compared to sequels like Crash Bandicoot 1 to 2 and 3? I would like to know your views because you have a lot of experience in this industry.

    • agavin says:

      All of the above. And I’m serious. Some parts are more vague, like coming up with a good idea, and some are mostly about hard work (debugging for example). But it’s all hard.

  116. vivi says:

    Hi!
    My name is vivi and i would like to know what is the best console in your opinion, because i think that is the ps3 but i have a friend that said taht is the xbox but is crash bandicoot fan i think that your opinion is very important.

    • agavin says:

      Both the PS3 and Xbox are excellent. It just depends which exclusive games you want. I have both myself 🙂 The PS3 also makes a darn fine blu-ray player.

  117. Daniel says:

    Naughty Dog, you are the best. Everyone loves your games, and i do too. Every now and then i play crash bandicoot 1,2,3 and CTR and also the jak and daxter series. My favourite crash game is crash bandicoot 2, and my favourite jak and daxter game is number 2. These games are great and i will play them forever. I grew up with crash bandicoot 2, and i loved it. Thank you heaps for those good times and memories! 🙂

  118. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    hey andy i got a question why did stormy ascent never made it in the original crash bandicoot.

  119. adam says:

    Know what ? In europe we got crash MANY TIMES before Mario (1 year according to wikipédia). I always though crash was first.

    Regarding, I find Crash Bandicoot 1 way more funnier than Mario 64.

  120. ogun yucekas says:

    Crash must come back to naughty dog for ps3
    im from the netherlands and i know many people they very like the old crash but don’t like the new one

  121. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    hey andy i got a question were there any unused lab assistants in the original crash bandicoot game?

    • agavin says:

      I think there were, but I can’t remember. We lovingly called them the “lab asses” internally, with offensive short hands like “knight ass” or “mummy ass.” 🙂

  122. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    hey andy since you don’t work at ndi anymore what are you doing now

  123. Dakota Hedgepeth says:

    that’s very cool i bet it’s exciting.

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

  125. greg smith says:

    just wonderin u now how they made spyro orange and crash purple if u and anyone from insomniac back when the original 3 were made if there were any talks about making a game like that and if so would u hav any ideas on the story.

  126. greg smith says:

    and if the chance ever presented itself in some way would u make a new crash game?

  127. Snuffol says:

    Is this the real Andy Gavin? I’d like to thank you for the Crash Bandicoot series, I’m a big fan and wish you were still making them.

    • agavin says:

      I certainly hope I’m the real Andy Gavin. I’ll have to ask fake Crash what he thinks!

      You’re welcome. 🙂

      • snuffol says:

        Haha, thanks for replying. I was just wondering how the aku aku mask was thought up and also what your thoughts are on what ND is doing now with the Uncharted series? Uncharted and Crash Bandicoot are 2 of my favorite series.

      • agavin says:

        Aku needed to have few polys because he could be on screen at any time (if you picked him up).

        I love uncharted, particularly UC2, I’m very much looking forward to 3.

  128. snuffol says:

    Are you going to make a “The making of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back”? If so, when do you think you’ll do it. It’s my favorite game! 🙂

  129. naughtydogfan says:

    Are you sure first 4 four crash games sold 35-40 million copies?
    WIkipedia says the whole series sold 40 million copies.

    • AMBOO says:

      Wilkipedia is not always reliable

    • agavin says:

      When I last had real numbers (2004) the 3 games were at like 33-34 million. They were still selling. So that is why I always say 35-40. I’d have to get someone at Sony to tell me the exact current numbers to be sure, but it’s reasonably accurate. Certainly they sold A LOT 🙂 I don’t even know how one should could the new emulated versions for the PS3/PSP either.

  130. […] 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 programming 10. Tools for the game 11. […]

  131. krentz says:

    I have no idea how I managed to stumble upon this blog but I felt compelled to post given that it relates to Crash Bandicoot, quite possibly my favourite platforming series of all time (next to the Megadrive/Genesis Sonic titles).

    I’d like to thank you for divulging all the details you have on how the concept of Crash came to fruition. I would have been all of, what, 7 or 8 years old when I first played the demo? I remember highly anticipating the release and it made for one hell of a Christmas present! Referring to a previous comment, though, I have to disagree that the difficulty was too high. It was refreshing, and on certain levels like “The High Road” getting that elusive Gem was such a rewarding feeling! My younger self had no qualms, at any rate, and finished it just fine. On Crash 2 or 3, I spent most of the game with upwards of 40 lives! I also remember discovering, somehow, that following the release of Crash 3, that was going to be the final title. I got my dad to help me write an email in protest, given that I adored the games so.

    It’s quite interesting to discover what went on behind the scenes to make the magic, if you will. I’m glad you managed to stand your ground against what to me appears like horrible treatment by Universal Studios Interactive. It seems that a good amount of blood, sweat, tears, inspiration, and new technology went into making everything a success. The level design and art direction was excellent I feel as the immersion in different and varied environments was one of the things that stood out to me as a child. I particularly liked the upstream levels. Even today, though I rarely play the games, it doesn’t mean I enjoy them any less.

    Another reason I like Crash is because it’s exactly the kind of game that wouldn’t go down so well in today’s market if it didn’t already have an established following. Due to the financial aspect, it seems as though studios are afraid of taking chances and while I certainly understand that, it does limit some of the creativity that you see in titles, with certain notable exceptions (eg. Heavy Rain, Catherine).

    Anyway, I’d just like to wrap this up by apologising for my drawn out ramblings and thanking you for producing such excellent games and contributing to the fond memories of gamers across the globe.

  132. Diego says:

    O Brasil e o mundo pede: Crash Bandicoot volta para Naughty Dog!

    • Emmannuel says:

      Com certeza! Os Crashs da Naughty Dog foram e ainda são os melhores!

      Surely! Naughty Dog Crash games were and still are the best!

  133. Brendan says:

    Hey guys thanks for all of the great memories. I have always wondered what went into making these games. I always hated the lab assistants especially the ones that hid in the tar on the Crash 3 dinosaur levels. Just wondering how you came up with them as they appear in all the games. Another thing i want to mention is that I am very fond of finding hidden objects and programs in games. To see hidden levels that were not meant to be found makes me wonder why they were taken out. I have also videos that showed a Major Corruption glitch that deletes or distorts textures. They look like what you worked with while making the game. Anyway your games have provided hours of fun for me and my sister and if Crash continues to fall i may have to purchase him and make games that are just like the old ones. I dont know if i am too late to recieve a response but please respond back and comment on your thoughts about what I mentioned above. It would be most appreciated. Thanks again for giving me a great childhood.

    • agavin says:

      Simple enough. Cortex is the kind of guy who has lab assistants. They’re his generic henchmen and he has them all over the place. Even in time!

      • Brendan says:

        Haha understood. That one always freaked me out though. Anyway im playing the i just played the first Crash again. Still a great game even compared to todays games. Thanks for your response but I understand that glitches are not a topic you feel most comfortable explaining. Still cool though to see all that went into the game and what came out.

  134. Did Miyamoto share his thoughts on Crash after playing it at E3?

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