The “Crash Bandicoot” series is in the middle of a revival, following the release of the “N-Sane Trilogy” in summer 2017.
On June 21, 2019 “Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled” releases for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. A Nintendo Switch version has been announced without a release date. The game is being published by Activision and developed by Beenox.
The game is a from-the-ground-up remaster of Naughty Dog’s “Crash Team Racing,” developed in a similar vein akin to the first three Crash games in the “N-Sane Trilogy.”
In addition, the game is set to feature a cavalcade of content including every character, track and kart from “Crash: Nitro Kart,” the sequel to “Crash Team Racing” that was released in 2003.
As of this writing, the game boasts 31 race tracks and 12 battle arenas, as well as online multiplayer support and split-screen multiplayer.
To keep the game consistent, changes were made to the tracks from “Nitro Kart” to make them compatible with the earlier tracks. Zero gravity portions of “Nitro Kart” tracks have been removed for this reason.
“The biggest challenge was for [Crash Nitro Kart],” said Beenox creative director Thomas Wilson.
“We readapted the length of some of the tracks. A typical lap for [Crash Team Racing] could be 30-40 seconds, and some of the tracks on CNK were all the way to six minutes. We wanted to complement the original CTR material by readapting the CNK tracks a little bit more.”
While the original game’s tracks were basic and didn’t have the detail Naughty Dog wanted in them due to the hardware limitations of the original PlayStation, Beenox has been able to restore their vision and add small touches of their own.
Some examples of this are the starting gates being different and related to the theme of the track and characters performing activities in the background, such as a full-on rave, complete with a polar bear DJ and penguin dancers, on the track Polar Pass.
Wilson spoke about this process:
“We spent a great deal of time finding the story of every track. In every track, we add a lot of life. Everywhere we could inject personality, that’s one thing we did. Little details here and there to make every track unique.”
“Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled” was announced at The Game Awards on Dec. 6, 2018 after much fan speculation following the success of the “N-Sane Trilogy.”
The game has been lauded as one of the few direct competitors to the “Mario Kart” series that could hold its own with the famous mustachioed plumber.
Wilson knows how passionate the fans are about the remaster and isn’t taking the task of remastering the game lightly.
“…We have huge fans of the franchise on the development team,” Wilson said. “We know how dear the original Crash Team Racing is to so many people, so we’re spending a tremendous amount of time making sure it’s the same great racing experience that fans remember, with a level of polish that could only be achieved by today’s standards.”
He then went on to explain the design philosophy of the game:
“Our first design pillar in approaching this game was strikingly obvious: authenticity,” Wilson said. “Whatever improvements or bells and whistles we were going to add, we needed to be authentic to the inspiration of the original experience.”
The story of “Crash Team Racing” starts when Crash along his friends and enemies are preparing to enter a kart racing tournament. Before it starts, Nitros Oxide, an alien who claims to be the fastest racer in the entire galaxy approaches Earth with a challenge:
He wants to race to best karter on Earth; if Oxide wins, the entire globe gets turned into a concrete parking lot and Earth’s inhabitants become his slaves forever. If Earth’s champion wins, the planet is saved.
“Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled” will offer players a plethora of customization options compared to the original game. Characters will have a variety of skins, karts and stickers available to personalize. Details are sparse on whether or not these cosmetics will be part of a microtransaction system.
Crash fans that buy the game on PlayStation 4 will get an exclusive pack of retro skins for Crash, Coco and Cortex, as well as a retro kart and track.
The game will likely be a success if it follows in the footsteps of its predecessors. “Crash Team Racing” sold over 2 million copies worldwide and as of February 2019 the “N-Sane Trilogy” has sold over 10 million copies.
Following the release of “Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled,” fans will be wondering what is next for the franchise. Will other lesser known titles be given the remaster treatment, or will a developer get a chance to create a brand new Crash game?