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Crash Bandicoot Homage in Uncharted 4

PLEASE NOTE: This article contains light spoilers about an early cutscene in Uncharted 4.

As you probably know, we've been getting quite a lot of hints in recent times that Crash Bandicoot is being brought back by none other than Sony. Since you've already read the title, let's just get to the point.

Crash Bandicoot with Nathan Drake's head runs away from a rolling boulder.

Indeed, you can play a level from the original Crash Bandicoot in Naughty Dog's upcoming Uncharted 4. This was supposed to be kept a surprise before the game's release, but due to an unfortunate theft, copies of the game have begun circulating, and with that, some spoilers have been posted online.

One such spoiler is part of an interactive cutscene in the beginning of the game, where you can play Crash on a PlayStation 1. I'll leave most of the screenshots and the description of the cutscene in this link right here, just in case you don't want any further spoilers. (Update: The linked page has been taken down.)

There are so many things to talk about with this amazing homage to Naughty Dog's first big hit. For starters, you'll notice that the Uncharted version of Crash has extra numbers centered at the top, which are most likely a timer you have to beat (think of it as a Time Trial). This doesn't seem like something overly complicated to add to an emulator, but WAAAAIT A SECOND!

See how the camera is pulled back more than in the actual game we grew up with? Do you notice something a bit different with the way Crash smiles while jumping? Yep, you've guessed it — This isn't just an emulated version of the game like you'd see on the PlayStation Store. It's apparently been rebuilt from the ground up by Naughty Dog wizards.

So why does this matter, exactly? Well, it would be one thing to simply include an emulator in the game. Sony would need to pay Activision a fee, similar to how Activision gets a cut of the profit for every digital copy of Crash Bandicoot sold on the PlayStation Store. On the other hand, this is technically new content, and that's a lot more complicated and expensive to produce, as it would require different rights.

Why pay so much money and go through all the trouble for something like this, then? Well, let's take a moment to think outside the crate (it feels good to use that sentence again). What if Sony didn't just pay to have this homage in Uncharted 4, but rather, they acquired the rights to work with the franchise, and this is just one of the many things they can do now? If this sounds too far-fetched to you, allow me to show you a quote from A.V. Club's interview last year with Naughty Dog's Bruce Straley:

...we wanted to put a Crash Bandicoot game inside. Not gonna happen, though (...) It’s not our title. Sony doesn’t own it, so we don’t have control.

Logically, since this has changed, so has something else. Indeed, in the most positive scenario, Sony might have actually bought the rights to the franchise, or at the very least, signed a contract with Activision to produce new content.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But when you really think about this and all of the hints we've been getting, the most evident conclusion is that the franchise is, indeed, being renovated. In fact, and at the risk of being thoroughly disappointed, I'm going to bet a new game will be announced very, very soon. Like, E3 soon.

The pieces are in place. Let's see how this plays out.



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