After SCEA’s president, Shawn Layden, walked out on the stage of PSX wearing a Crash Bandicoot t-shirt, we began wondering if it’s time the mascot made a comeback.
It’s easy to reflect upon some of our fondest gaming memories with a sense of admiration, but lately companies have been cashing in on these warm and fuzzy reflections with updated takes on long dormant franchises. Some of the biggest examples of this newfound nineties nostalgia are best represented in the forthcoming Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor, which has us wondering if old school mascots from games like Crash Bandicoot have a shot at making a comeback.
After SCEA president Shawn Layden pranced onto the stage of 2015’s PlayStation Experience conference wearing a shirt with the iconic, orange mascot on it, gamers have been wondering if it is indeed time to see the platforming mascot’s return to form. After thinking it over, I’ve come to the conclusion that if Sony and other IP holders want to bring Crash Bandicoot back, then they simply can’t afford to hold off any longer.
First and foremost, it should be said that nostalgia is a fickle beast. There are fond memories of playing a ton games from everyone’s past, and that holds true for titles that have failed to age well. While we often find ourselves wondering when long-forgotten mascots will return – if ever – Crash Bandicoot has been lurking in the shadows just waiting to be resurrected. Evidently, fans seem to agree.
Following the aforementioned Crash shirt’s appearance on-stage at PSX, fans immediately began to generate buzz about the piece of clothing. In the wake of rumors that Sony was hoping to purchase the dormant series, gamers have understandably been in awe of what could happen next for the beloved bandicoot. With Naughty Dog wrapping up work on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End next year, it’s entirely possible that the two-game studio may want to take a shot at the franchise that gave it its first big start in the industry.
Of course, this will all come down to whether or not Activision is willing to part with the rights to the character – or simply work with a team talented enough to breathe new life into the platforming icon. As a result of the well-marketted 20th anniversary of PlayStation, gamers have been looking back to the titles that they have fond memories tearing through in the earlier days of their hobby. It’s a smart move for companies to start selling to those that are still tickled pink by nostalgia, and even film studios have begun to do this – with the likes of Nickelodeon now banking on the resurrection of older content to appeal to its now grown audience.
If there’s one thing can be pulled from all of this, however, it’s that Sony/Activison need to make a move sooner rather than later. Demand will persist for Crash Bandicoot‘s return as the years roll on, this much is true, but failing to execute on these plans at all will simply result in the decimation of the property. When it does finally happen though – and it will because those at Activision won’t let such a beloved property fall by the wayside when it could be bringing in revenue – it needs to be done properly.
I’d imagine that the folks at Naughty Dog would be the ones to do it and do it well, but the studio could very well be focussed on a number of other things already. Ranging from Jak & Daxter to The Last of Us 2, there are several major properties that the teams could have their hands in at this moment in time. Keeping that in mind, it will only be worth seeing a return from Crash if it’s a high-quality romp. Otherwise, there will have been no reason in bringing him back to begin with – nor will gamers be likely to trust the brand going forward.
At the end of the day, Sony knew exactly what it was doing when Shawn Layden walked out in that t-shirt. It’s the same reason the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, did a similar thing with his Battletoads tee, and that was to simply generate excitement in the build up to Rare Replay as well as get gamers excited by the prospect of Rash joining the roster of Killer Instinct. It would be a rather crude move to wear a specifically branded tee just to generate momentary applause as well, but based on the reaction it had there’s no doubt that someone of importance was paying attention.