Connor
Jul 10, 2017
The recent release of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was incredibly exciting for many gamers around the globe, in the weeks before launch, the internet was flooded with nostalgia-filled videos, blogs and forum posts. What’s truly interesting however, is not just the fans response to this surprise summer success: believe it or not Crash Bandicoot may be the face of the gaming industry's newest trend.

According to sales numbers found on Gamesindustry.biz, “Crash Bandicoot outsold Horizon: Zero Dawn, the previous fastest-selling single-format release of this year”. This without a doubt makes Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy a prodigious success, blowing past all expectations set for this remaster of a 90's trilogy. The N.Sane Trilogy did so well in fact, that it greatly surpassed even Tekken 7’s western release. Try to let that sink in, a remaster of twenty-year-old games smashed a AAA, highly-anticipated, high-quality title Western gamers had been waiting eagerly for.



But why was the Crash Trilogy made now? It’s not like fans of the series haven’t been clamoring for a new Crash game for years, just look at the game’s announcement at E3 2016. I haven’t seen a crowd that jubilant since I announced to my friends I was leaving town to study at university. I think it comes down to the importance of exclusive titles. While I personally hate that certain games are kept from gamers because of the hardware they own, console exclusivity has become for many the key factor on which system they buy.

Console developers know they cannot meet the performance power of modern day PCs: even with the Xbox One X’s frankly impressive specifications, it’ll struggle to deliver close to the visual fidelity that a high-end PC can. So, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have doubled down on grabbing gamers’ attention with juicy new games like we’re fish in the giant lake that is the industry.



However, it’s not like exclusive games is a brand-new idea. Game exclusivity is a tale as old as video games themselves. Although Crash Bandicoot may have given the big wigs a scary thought, why create new IPs when we can dust off the old ones. Crash was in many ways Sony putting their chips on zero, and taking the whole roulette table to the bank.

With the aforementioned Xbox One X revealed, Sony is objectively behind in terms of future products and brand excitement. The Crash Trilogy was meant to be a love letter to the fans, A reminder that “We know what you want, you get things you want with PlayStation”. While the game may come to Xbox One in December if rumors and preorder websites are to be believed, it'll still be associated with Sony's console.



Sony knew that it was a cheaper game to create compared to a Horizon or Detroit: Become Human, they also knew there’d be a community of guaranteed sales from the myriad of videos, articles and forum posts. These benefits alongside Crash’s success means that we’re going to see lots more remasters in the coming years.

What Vicarious Visions have done through making this game is build a bridge from memory to reality for lots of old school video games. In Sony’s mind, if Crash can make money, why can’t Spyro? What about Jak and Daxter? “Would anyone buy a new Ape Escape game?” you may ask. No? Let’s not be silly.



And Sony’s not the only company who’ve had some amazing games on their consoles. I don’t think Microsoft could get the message that people want Conker more if Phil Spencer had it carved into his bedroom ceiling. If you want a game that appeals to the aging gamer demographic, I literally cannot think of a better game to remaster than that. And here’s the kicker, Microsoft can look at the Crash trilogy’s sales and safely assume it’ll sell well.

However, this new era of old-school remasters may not be entirely good news. While I do not personally agree, lots of fans and developers believe some things should be left alone. This train of thought comes from the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” ideology, and represents a large portion of gamers who fear that tampering with their childhood favorites may ruin the experience.



This take on updating old games is so prevalent for a reason, there are many examples of disappointing titles such as the Silent Hill HD Collection, which remains for many the pinnacle of remaster disasters. For fans whose childhood favorites are getting serious work on before a rerelease, there’s an equal part excitement and fear. From the developer side of things, it might also be a bad deal for the men and women making these games. While the awesome people down at Vicarious Visions said they were excited to work on the remaster, I can imagine many hard working developers desperate to make the next Destiny or the upcoming Anthem.

So, for those who’ve begged for a new entry in a retro series, I’d say now’s the time to get your hopes up. Now more than ever these fan-favourite games can be used to rekindle some brand loyalty, my money's on a new Spyro game getting announced by next E3. You can hold me to that. Remastering old games is a double-edged sword. On one hand you want to preserve history, but on the other you don't want to radically change gameplay. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy does an amazing job at this. Hopefully future titles will do the same and not go down the Silent Hill HD Collection route.
Our score: /10

Great - An excellent piece of kit that offers value for money and adheres to high quality standards.
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