N. Sane Trilogy - News Roundup (May)

I haven't been this excited about Crash Bandicoot in a long time. Even though the promise of these remakes has kept me pumped and ready to reacquaint myself with this childhood friend of mine, it's only now beginning to dawn on me that this isn't just Crash coming back — it's the return of his status as an icon.

It's easy to feel this way when you look at how much effort's being put behind this revival and how everyone is talking about it. Even the few, usual skeptics are being muffled by the excitement of longtime fans and a whole new generation. This never would have happened if Vicarious Visions, Activision, and all the talented people behind the game's marketing hadn't held such a strong belief in Crash's rebirth, and I, for one, am grateful for the opportunity to replay these timeless classics with a fresh new face, not to mention all the mouth-watering merchandise that's coming with them.

It hasn't been that long since the last news roundup, so what's been going on lately? Well, quite a lot more than you'd expect, actually! Let's start with one of my favorite things.

Brand New Box Art

I'm not going to beat around the bush: the box art they first revealed for the N. Sane Trilogy was lame. I've always found it to be very dull and overly simplistic, especially for a collection of three games. Besides the logo, there was nothing about it that told you this was a three-game purchase, and it didn't have much going for it aside from a cartoon animal who looked like he was about to sneeze. It didn't look bad, but it felt lazy and bereft of excitement.

I don't know if the original art was a placeholder, if the people behind the game came to this same conclusion, or if echoes of this opinion reached their ears (like much of the feedback surrounding the actual game), but whatever the case is, they decided to completely redo the box art, and it looks phenomenal. Crash's running pose and the way he's designed is infinitely better, like a logical evolution of the Naughty Dog renders of yore, and there's a lot more going on around him without the whole thing feeling cluttered.

The new art definitely conveys the feeling that you're getting three games in one package, thanks not only to Crash's hand sign but also the way the warp pad cleverly divides the picture in three, giving you one environment from each game in the background (well... I think the one on the right might just be Cortex's castle, but the thought remains). They also chose the most iconic characters of the trilogy and arguably the whole franchise, which is doubly smart as they're the only ones to appear in all three games. Even those who haven't played them in years are sure to recognize them.

It's an astounding improvement over the original art and one of my favorite boxes in the entire series. This reminds me, I really should bring back the box art commentary when I can... But I'm getting ahead of myself, as this is far from the only thing that's been revealed this month. Next up is some new footage.

Bears, Sewers, and Volleyball

The official social accounts have been posting some previously unseen footage of the N. Sane Trilogy version of Crash 2 (that's kind of a mouthful; let's just shorten that to N. Sane 2 from now on, shall we?) One such video shows another short comparison between the original and revamped forms, and this time it's something I'd been dying to see since the game's reveal:

Yes, it's time to give people jump scares again when they set foot in Unbearable, the famous chase scene where you expect to run away from more boulders, only to be greeted by GIANT FEROCIOUS POLAR BEARS. It's been my hope for a long time that Vicarious Visions would somehow make them even scarier in 4K, and hey, wish granted. Sweet dreams!

Next up is everyone's favorite airport-sized sewer. The level Sewer or Later is looking just as fun as always, but as you can imagine, the updated visuals breathe new life into the place:

What can I say about the video besides that the level looks great? Well, there's the fact that Nitro crates now bounce menacingly like in the original game (which was a strange omission in earlier builds), and now they've got a funky glow.

You might also notice a small crate icon appearing on the bottom-right corner of the screen every once in a while, which seems to indicate the game is auto-saving. This happens when Crash reaches a checkpoint or enters a bonus round (which, themselves, act as checkpoints now), so it's very likely that the new auto-save feature will let you load the game at the latest checkpoint. In other words, you might not need to finish a level to save your progress. A bit superfluous if true (none of the levels in these games are particularly long bar Sunset Vista), but neat all the same.

Finally, Vicarious Visions has not only chosen the winners for their idle animation contest from a while back, but they've also gone ahead and animated it. Congratulations to Simon Davidian and Kirsty Capes from the United Kingdom for their lovely idea involving Crash, Aku Aku, and some good old volleyball:

Speaking of lovely, who's up for some all-new merch?

So Much Merch

I think this was the final step needed to kick my excitement into fifth gear, since a bunch of new merchandise is not only all kinds of cool, but it also expresses how confident everyone is in Crash's return. After all, this is quite an investment, but that hasn't stopped all these companies from making stuff like a mug with Crash's mug, and with plenty more on the way:

All of these are being manufactured by Numskull, and the top row shows a couple of mugs, a box full of pins, and three keychains. The bottom row has a couple of t-shirts (the first one says "N. Sanity Beach" and the second one says "Cortex Laboratories"), and three crate-shaped mugs, which look really neat, if not a bit painful to actually drink from. Then on the far right we've got... candles?! I've said it before and I'll say it again: someday I'll find an object that hasn't been associated with the Crash brand. Hmm, the thought of lighting up the TNT candle makes me kind of uneasy...

It's not just Numskull that's providing us fans with goodies though. Macy's is selling a couple of t-shirts too: a gray one with Aku Aku, and a black one with him and Crash. I have no idea how they're hearing that as "oodibigah". It sounds a lot more like "boordagah" to me (or "boord'gah" in the N. Sane Trilogy). But hey, it's pretty neat regardless of the spelling. The other one I'm not so fond of, personally, especially considering Hot Topic has a nicer version.

Last, but certainly not least, First 4 Figures has revealed a work-in-progress version of their mold for the Crash statue they're making. It looks like they picked the ending pose from the Crash dance, but I think they mistakenly got Gene Simmons's tongue instead of Crash's, and those eyes are more than a little creepy. Well, I'm sure they'll get it right come release, if only because of their track record and the fact that this is a very early model. They just need to keep that tongue inside his mouth, make it rounder, and cross those eyes. Once again, I couldn't resist making a quick and dirty edit to get my point across (I guess it just bugs me that they got this expression wrong in the game too).

N. Sane Bonus Pack

As mentioned in the April roundup, there's a pack with a dynamic theme based on Sunset Vista and two avatars for those who pre-order the game from the PlayStation Store in the US. It turns out that fans all around the world will be able to enjoy it via physical pre-order along with two more packs, each with another theme and a couple of avatars. The second pack has already been revealed, and its theme is based on N. Sane 2's Bear It (on a sidenote, it looks like Aku Aku will be present in Polar's levels now). This comes with a Polar and Aku Aku avatars, being collectively titled the Friends Pack. Makes you wonder if the third theme will be based on the villains. I need a Cortex avatar...

But it doesn't end there. The Spanish branch of GAME has revealed that pre-ordering the game there (and one can hope other retailers as well) will come with all of these packs, as well as a coin-shaped keychain with Crash on one side and Aku Aku on the other. More interestingly, it also comes with three postcards, each featuring a recreation of the original games' box art. Considering you can't buy the games separately, that's pretty neat! We've already seen part of the N. Sane 1 box art before, but soon we'll be able to see what the others look like. Well, you can catch a tiny glimpse already. If you squint hard enough you can see Coco in there (and possibly break a blood vessel). These pre-order goodies come together in the form of the N. Sane Bonus Pack.

Whew! That was a lot to cover in such a short amount of time, but it's expected as we're nearing the game's release. We're less than 2 months away, and yet, June 30 can't come soon enough! Stay tuned for more.


Fuuma | June 12, 2017 - 12:25 PM
All that merchandise stuff looks great, I'm so happy that the Bandicoot has returned! I hope Vicarious Visions will make a Crash Team Racing remake after N. Sane Trilogy :-)

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