The Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy has received a lot of attention and discussion following the announcement of the remasters at E3 2016. With the release date finally revealed to be June 30th, 2017, here is a rundown of what many people are speculating could also be included in order to further enhance these remasters.
10. STORMY ASCENT
Ah… Stormy Ascent. That unused level from the original Crash Bandicoot. Supposedly removed for being too difficult, the only way to access and play this level was with a GameShark code. This means that many gamers did not get a chance to play this monster of a level. It would be nice if, perhaps even just as a little easter egg or 100% completion bonus, Stormy Ascent was incorporated into the remasters as a playable level.
9. UNLOCKABLE SKINS FOR CRASH
Wouldn't that be great? Maybe as a reward for reaching a certain completion percentage, or even obtaining specific achievements, you could unlock some more skins for that loveable bandicoot. Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends are two examples of old platform remasters handling skins right. Purely aesthetic, of course, it would be nice to run around as a polygonal PS1 Crash or even Fake Crash.
8. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
The characters of the Crash Bandicoot universe never really got the development they were due. Many were just throwaway characters that spoke one or two lines of dialogue and then vanished off the face of the Earth for no good reason (I'm looking at you, Komodo Moe). Sure, they have backstories – they're Cortex's evil minions who were once regular animals, but we want to know more about each of them individually. Cutscenes at the beginning and end of each boss fight would most definitely be a welcome addition. Oh, and while we're at it, could we please have a canon explanation as to what happened to Tawna? I don't think anyone wants to believe she cheated on Crash with Pinstripe, as stated in Japan's manual for Crash 2.
7. HARDER BOSS FIGHTS
6. STORY MODE
5. CLASSIC/HARD MODE
Crash Bandicoot 1 was a hard game. Make no mistake about that. The controls were not as tight as the next two instalments, and the box collection system was… sub-par, to put it nicely. Thankfully, in an interview with Game Informer, the kind folks over at Vicarious Visions have said they're going to unify the box collection system across all three games. This means when you break a checkpoint in Crash 1, all of the boxes broken before it will be stored and saved in your box tally counter. Hoorah!
…But what about those after a challenge? The introduction of a toggleable hard mode featuring the old box collection system, as well as a few other things like hiding the box count from the UI in the third game, changing all Aku-Aku Crates into Basic Crates, fewer checkpoints etc. There really are a wide variety of different things they could do to make the games harder, aside from the aforementioned boss fights. This would, of course, be an option the player would enable, as I'm sure not everyone would appreciate an increased difficulty.
4. NEW LEVELS
Yes, I know it's just a remaster, so we shouldn't expect too much (if any) new content, but just think about how great it would be to have some brand-new levels to explore. They wouldn't necessarily have to be part of the main game, but more like extra levels at the end of the game, or easter eggs found by different methods – something which the latter two games loved to do. I'd personally love to see level designers get creative and see what they can create with the old Crash formula – I've missed platforming like these games and it'd perhaps be a nice teaser for possible future instalments in the series.
3. AN OFFICIAL SOUNDTRACK
Original composer for the series, Josh Mancell, did a great job with the soundtrack on these games, as well as Crash Team Racing. Seriously, these tracks (specifically in the second and third games) are some of my favourites in any video games ever. Every track, without fail, fits the theme and the mood of the level absolutely perfectly. Rock It is a personal favourite and remains hard-to-beat.
So why haven't they been released? While technically not part of the remasters, an official soundtrack available for streaming/download would be so very welcomed. I can't tell you how often I just wish I could easily pull up the Rock It, Crash Dash or Crash 3 Cortex theme for my own listening pleasure. But no, every time I'm forced to traverse to YouTube and listen to some shoddy MP3 rip. With the remasters bringing new life into the music (the three tracks we've already heard sounding absolutely flawless), it's time these songs were released to the public.
2. STAYING FAITHFUL
Unquestionably, one of the things we're all most excited about for these games is seeing the gameplay and characters we grew up with returning in glorious HD. While many people are fans of some of the later Crash games, namely Twinsanity, it's generally accepted they just don't completely feel like Crash. Whether it be through poor controls, atrocious voice acting or gameplay that doesn't even resemble the original Crash in any way, shape or form, we're hoping to see minimal traces of these games leaking through into the remasters, and from what we've seen – Vicarious Visions are well on their way.
With the recently-announced list of voice actors, it can seem quite worrying that none of the original cast will be returning to reprise their roles, with Vicki Winters (original voice for Coco in Crash 2) expressing anger that she wasn't even asked about the role. Many, however, are optimistic, with few major complaints about the new cast (all of which have worked on Crash games previously). As long as they don't make Tiny sound like he did post-Crash of the Titans, I think we'll be okay.
1. FUTURE CRASH GAMES
With these remasters, though, emerges an elephant in the room. What does this mean for the future of Crash Bandicoot? If the N. Sane Trilogy sells well, this could certainly tell Activision that there is a market for old-school 3D platformers. Combined with the release of crowdfunded Yooka-Laylee, it will be hard to ignore the fact that people still genuinely love these types of games. If they were to continue making more Crash games after the N. Sane Trilogy, should they stick with the same formula, or perhaps try something different like open-world gameplay? Time will tell. For now, though, we can all just remain hopeful and optimistic that Vicarious Visions deliver what most fans have been waiting for for so long – a good, old-fashioned Crash Bandicoot game.
And, uh… where's that Crash Team Racing Remastered announcement? That's coming soon, right, Activision? Right…?