The Creators of Crash - Joe Pearson

Joe PearsonJoe Pearson and Charles Zembillas were two of the artists involved in the creation of the first game. Naughty Dog needed all the help they could get to create a setting that everyone could remember for years. Without Joe and Charles's involvement, the characters would have been vastly different, as they designed the original universe and cast as we know them.

After the release of Crash Bandicoot, Naughty Dog trivialized the two artists' involvement in the original game. The full extent of their involvement was kept under wraps any time Naughty Dog spoke to the press about the project's development, and this didn't sit well with Joe. He refused to work with the team again, explaining:

We were paid to work on the game on a standard "work for hire" contract. Perhaps our contributions were arguably worth three or four times what we were paid for, but it was our choice to accept the terms of the contract and the money offered. So, I never had an issue with that…

I did have an issue with the way Naughty Dog initially excluded Charles and I from any real credit for what we did (aside from being “a couple of outside artists that were brought in to ‘tweak’ the look of the game”). I broke off my relationship with ND after that.

To his credit, Jason called me… and left a long message, apologizing for that. To my regret, I never responded. I should have. Or perhaps not. Now that I understand how ND systematically went out of their way to cut David out of the credit loop for his HUGE role in the game, my walking away from ND was perhaps the best idea.

Following some general ideas thrown by Naughty Dog, Joe created the unique setting and characters for the game. It was him who thought of the Australian islands that became so heavily associated with the series, as well as how things worked in this universe and what the direction of the plot.

Indeed, Joe was so passionate about his work that he wrote an entire book with the lore to be used in the game, which is known as the Willy the Wombat Production Bible. For the longest time, the bible appeared to have been lost forever, but Joe finally recovered it in 2017 and shared its contents with the fans.

The Crash Bandicoot series means a lot to Joe, and it's undoubtedly part of the reason he worked with Charles again for the production of Crash Nitro Kart (a project both enjoyed working on). He would later create some of the character designs in Crash Tag Team Racing as well, and still follows the series closely to this day while drawing the occasional Crash piece or two.

» Next: Charles Zembillas

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