Bastidores - Interviews - Kirsten Forbes (Crash of the Titans)

Interview by: JumpButton

Kirsten ForbesThis exclusive interview brings you the freshest details about Crash Bandicoot's latest outing. Read it here first as Kirsten Forbes, producer for Crash of the Titans, reveals everything you might have wanted to know about the game.

Q: Thanks for allowing this interview to take place. I'd like to start with some of the more frequent questions, and then move up and into the ones fans seem to want to know about the most.

When did development on Titans begin?
A: The Radical team working on Crash of the Titans is the Crash Tag Team Racing team, formerly Simpson's Hit and Run. We started developing Titans immediately following Crash Tag Team Racing.

Q: Something a lot of us have been wondering -- Is the tiger character with Neo, Nina and N. Gin actually Tiny Tiger, or is this character all new?
A: That's Tiny! Welcome back Tiny. Tiny was pretty sad at not being invited to the last game so we rectified that.

Q: When designing the characters' new looks, were you going for a more modern approach, or was it a decision made because Crash is moving to the next generation?
A: We wanted a unified style with the cast of main characters. Crash and his team had gone through so many iterations over the years, our challenge was to realign them to look like they all exist in the same universe. After that, we made them more modern. For example, we added a flair of punk to Nina along with the school girl look. Same with Crash - we gave a punk edge to him. Now they look distinct from other cartoon characters.

With the monsters we went with a stylized look of big shoulders, big forearms, a mix of curves and angles. We found a way to but bring some comic book cool to the cartoony designs.

Q: Does the team at Radical consider itself the "house of Crash", so to speak? Or do you think Sierra will switch development teams in the future?
A: Crash is at home at Radical. Period.

Q: Any other characters to be in the game? Is the roster displayed in the character render sheet on IGN the complete roster of returning characters? Dingodile making a comeback?
A: We put alot of effort into putting personality into even the smallest enemies in the game who we call the fodders - Kooala, the Doom Monkey's, Nina's Brat Girls, etc. Dingodile is a funny character so it's pretty likely you'll see him in a Radical developed Crash game one day.

Q: Does the game continue off of Twinsanity? Refining that question, would you consider it part of the main canonical storyline set forth by Naughty Dog and Traveller's Tales?
A: Yes, the Twinsanity concept and character development is part of our storyline. We like each character's characterization, so we saw no need to change that. We are hugely immersed in the Crash universe and stay true to that. The characters were already funny so we gave them the chance to display that.

Q: A burning question -- Is the game Nintendo exclusive, or are the PS2 and Xbox360 versions that we've heard of actually in development?
A: Crash of the Titans will be released this October on the Wii, PS2, 360, PSP, DS and GBA.

Q: Is there an available logo for the game? It was apparent in a screen shot in a Nintendo magazine, but due to the placement of a TV, it was not actually readable, or for that matter visible other than the word Crash.
A: Sierra PR will supply you with our logo.

Q: Will the game feature any boss fights, or will it be like CTTR, where the fights were played out in cutscenes?
A: There are fightable boss fights.. The bosses are even jackable!

Q: Are you guys at Radical confident that Titans will succeed? Hype for a Crash game has not been this high since Twinsanity!
A: You will make it so. We believe this is the best game this team has ever made. The best Crash game will be determined by Crash fans like yourselves. Let us know.

Q: According to various sources, the game will be more action based. Would you say the game is about a 50/50 split of battles and platforming? Or does it tip more to one side?
A: Crash of the Titans nets out at about 30% platforming and 70% combat. The game is nicely paced in that regard - the vertical exploration is challenging and fun and takes you to the destination fights which are exciting and deep.

Q: We're aware that Crash has a punch and kick move now. Can these be chained into combos, and is his signature spin attack still present?
A: Like Hulk Ultimate Destruction, we have combos and are careful to avoid repetition in them. Of course we would never leave out Crash's signature spin attack. We've even given it new capabilitites such as the ability to counter projectiles back at the shooter.

Q: Will any past enemies/characters appear in this game? In their mutated form, perhaps? (This refers to minor characters, such as the giant polar bears becoming titans.)
A: Uka Uka does mutate himself into one of the bosses. But that's a great idea for our next game. Thank you!

Q: Are there any videos of Titans floating around? I'm sure a lot of us would like to see it in action.
A: There will be. We will let you know.

Q: A big one with fans, will the fan-favorites Spiralmouth return to do the music for Titans?
A: Our in house composer definitely usesSpiralMouth for inspiration and reference. We're really proud of some of the funny and surprising music like NGin's polka playing.

Q: Judging by the art design, it appears this game will have a darker tone. Will you be keeping the newly found Crash humor, or is this more of a serious edition in the Crash series?
A: It's a seriously funny game. We are not about a dark Crash game, it's too cliche. We're going for unified, coherent environments that reflect the storyline, not dark worlds.

Q: Will we be able to explore previously unavailable sections of the island? Or better yet, previously visited areas with a whole new look? How about the second and third islands from Crash Bandicoot 1?
A: You'll be able to see alot of the Tiki temples where Aku Aku and Uka Uka originated from. Let us know if you find the hint about Uka Uka's incarceration.

Q: Co-op multiplayer is a big announcement. In a scan we have obtained, a translation of the text mentions that a 2nd player can jump in at any time. If this is true, does this tie in with the story, or is it a separate mode?
A: It's drop-in, drop-out co-op so you can play the entire story together. The two Crash's can even jack each other which is super cool in the platforming sections. It's very innovative, to leap frog with your buddy through the platform puzzles. And very co-operative - you have to work in synch to be successful.

Q: How many titans will be in the final game?
A: 2 more than a bakers dozen.

Q: What's with Crash's marks on his arm? In some screens where Crash commands a titan, his arm's mark appears to glow bright blue. Is this related to the storyline?
A: In the Mojo Temple where the masks live, there are magical markings and patterns on the walls. When Crash jacks an enemy so that they are under Aku Aku's magic, they get those tatoo markings to represent the magical powers of jacking, kind of like war paint. We wanted to unify Crash with the Titans using this symbolism.

Q: Are Coco and Crunch playable at any points? A lot of fans have been itching to know this ever since we first heard of Titans.
A: Not this time but we are fully aware of fans desires to play as these characters and we're looking for a way to make it happen in future Crash games.

Q: Something I'm sure many people want to know -- Will there be any unlockable extras in the game such as concept art and animations? If so, how will they be unlocked?
A: A big yes. Lots of unlockable extras to give you reasons to play the levels again. For instance, Crash's fighting combos are unlocked in the game by collecting Mojo. So Crash himself becomes stronger as you play the game. Plus there are lots of other cool ways to replay.

Q: Will Neo and Nina be the lead villains this time around, or are they still dominated by Uka Uka? The way it looks in the character render sheet, is that they're still being controlled.
A: Yes, and there is a big twist. "M. Night Shyamalan" big.

Q: How will gameplay differ on the Wii version from any other possible home console versions? Any Wii-specific gameplay elements?
A: All our enemies use second-generation Wii gestures for their special attacks. Scorporilla's special attack is that she pounds on her chest, then smashes the ground for an earth-shaker. The second-generation gesture for this is that the player pounds on their chest with the controller, then snaps down to make the move. We also have light gun shooting for projectile enemies using the Wii-mote to target and shoot. More, we have gestures that augment Crash's moves, like shake the wii-mote and press A for spin attack.

To collect Mojo in the Wii game, you point at it with the Wii-mote and hoover it up. We call it the Mojo Vac. Very satisfying.

Of course we've got awesome special effects and high res graphics. And a secret Crash move. Let us know if you find it. It has to do with bodily functions : )

Q: One final question -- How large are the planned worlds? Are they larger in scale than in Tag Team? Are they more in numbers? Would you consider the game's stages to be completely free roaming?
A: Waaay larger than Tag Team. There are 20 episodes in the game each of which is bigger than any tag team level. We are moving towards free roaming certainly.

Q: Again, thanks for the interview. There's actually one more thing i'm wondering. There are weird rumors floating around about the title... Is the title "Crash of the Titans," as the major sites report, or is it "Crash Bandicoot: Landing of the Titans" as scan translations would suggest?
A: The title is Crash of the Titans -but you have to say it in a really deep voice with reverb.

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