Crash Bandicoot has come back stronger than ever with a successful revival over the last three years, thanks to excellent remakes in N.Sane Trilogy and Crash Team Racing. But now the time for remakes is past, and the time for brand new instalments is here. Activision and developers Toys for Bob recently lifted the lid on Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, and while doing so, dropped plenty of interesting details on the upcoming platformer. Here, we’re going to go over ten of the biggest talking points from the game’s reveal.
WHY IS IT CALLED THAT?
It’s About Time’s name is certainly curious, for more reasons than one. For starters, why is it called Crash Bandicoot 4, even though this will technically be the 8th game in the series? Well, it seems Toys for Bob are retconning the events of everything that happened after the Naughty Dog trilogy, with Crash 4’s events taking place right after Crash Bandicoot: Warped. Meanwhile, as far as it’s subtitle is concerned, it’s a play on words, with Toys for Bob co-studio head and CCO Paul Yan explaining that not only does the name refer to this being the first new mainline Crash entry in over a decade, but also that the game and its story are literally “about time.”
As we explained, Crash 4 will take place after the events of Warped. So how’s that going to work? Neo Cortex, Uka Uka, and N. Tropy were caught in a space-time prison at the end of Warped, and Crash 4 will see them managing to break out after many, many attempts. In doing so, they rip a hole in the fabric of space-time, creative a multiverse. To undo the affects of their actions avert the oncoming crisis, Crash and Coco have to travel the multiverse and unite and work with four Quantum Masks.
Masks have always had a pretty major role to play in Crash games, and that’s going to be true in Crash 4 as well. We’ve mentioned the four Quantum Masks, and of these, two so far have been revealed. There’s the Time Mask, called Kupuna-Wa. Using her, Crash and Coco can slow down time to a crawl in order to move past fast moving obstacles or enemies, or even avoid the explosions of Nitro crates. Then there’s Ika-Ika, the Gravity Mask, which will allow Crash and Coco to flip the direction of gravity for themselves. As you can imagine, all four Quantum Masks will be used for gameplay and platforming quite extensively.
Toys for Bob’s Paul Yan briefly mentioned boss fights- what exactly can fans expect from them? The Quantum Masks, for starters, will be gained by tracking down and defeating bosses, while it’s also been confirmed that the game will feature a mix of new and old boss characters. N. Gin, for instance, has been confirmed to be making a return, unsurprisingly. Meanwhile, you should also expect boss fights to be much more challenging than the original trilogy. Some boss encounters, in fact, will even multiple phases, so that’s something to look forward to. Hopefully the game strikes the right balance between difficulty and fairness though, which was definitely an area the original Crash trilogy (and their remakes) sometimes struggled with.
Crash Bandicoot made a name for itself with a very particular kind of level design style- 3D, linear, hyper-focused platforming gauntlets that were dense with obstacles requiring timing, proper use of mechanics, and precision. N. Sane Trilogy proved to Activision that that style is still very much loved by fans, and Crash 4 is going to stick to that playbook. It’s About Time will be a linear collection of levels, each specifically and tightly designed as platforming courses. From what we’ve seen so far, every level looks like an interesting mix of side-scrolling, 3D platforming, and 2.5D platforming- exactly what Crash fans would want to see.
Who exactly are we going to be playing as in Crash Bandicoot 4? Well, we’ll be playing as Crash, of course, while fellow bandicoot Coco is also confirmed, which isn’t surprising. Another character who will be playable is Doctor Neo Cortex, which is certainly interesting, to say the least. You can also expect more playable characters, but they, of course, haven’t yet been revealed.
How exactly are the playable characters going to differ from each other? Crash and Coco will have the same moveset, and players will be able to choose which one they want to play as whenever they want. Expect the usual jumping, sliding, swinging gameplay of Crash Bandicoot to be in full form here, in addition to using the aforementioned Quantum Masks. Then there’s Neo Cortex, who’s going to be quite different from the bandicoots, and will have unique, individual levels designed specifically for him. How is he going to play? Let’s talk about that for a bit…
Neo Cortex’s levels will be less about platforming, and more about strategy, for Yan describing them as “cerebral”- which is fitting for his character. Cortex will be equipped with a ray gun, which he will be able to use to transmogrify enemies and obstacles in the environments into platforms- either regular ones or bouncy ones. Using those abilities to get through levels will certainly be interesting. We haven’t seen or heard an awful lot about Cortex’s levels so far, but for now, things sound promising.
With a new Crash game, there will obviously be plenty of new locations to traverse (especially with the concept of a multiverse playing such an integral role in the story), and the gameplay footage and trailer that we’ve seen so far have shown some interesting things already. So far we’ve seen overgrow jungles, rivers, sci-fi cities, lava-filled levels with a dinosaur chasing Crash, caves, frozen icy locales, and more. Environmental variety is always important in a platformer, for both aesthetics and level design, and so far, it definitely seems like Crash 4 is not going to disappoint in that area. Here’s hoping we learn about more of the game’s locations in the coming weeks.
So when can we get our hands on the game? Thankfully, it won’t be much of a wait. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time will be releasing for PS4 and Xbox One on October 2. Meanwhile, it’s also been confirming that buying the game digitally will net you with bonus skins for Crash and Coco, though the specific details here haven’t yet been released. Expect to hear more about that closer to launch.