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A Hasty Makeover

After almost half a year since its release, Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled continues to be the talk of the town amongst enthusiasts of the age-old sport, mutant marsupial go-karting. Not only are we still getting new tracks and characters every month, but we also have official confirmation that more Grand Prix events will be coming next year.

With an impressive (and growing) playable roster comprising almost 50 characters, we've come to an interesting phase where Beenox is left with mostly obscure choices, giving characters like Rilla Roo and Yaya Panda their first chance to truly shine. Not only that, but we've also gotten our first new characters in almost a decade, one of whom was officially unveiled today. And boy, is there a lot to say about him.

A moose named Hasty may seem as random a concept as a chicken with a crown on its head, but unless you're well-versed in ye olde CTR mythology, you might have never heard of this fella's 20-year-old history. There's a lot to talk about, but don't worry. The story behind Hasty is actually pretty simple!

HAH, just kidding. It's amusingly complicated.

The History of Trippo

The name Bob Rafei might ring a few bells. Though he is the CEO and co-founder of the video-game studio named Big Red Button Entertainment, his professional career in the industry started at Naughty Dog, where he worked for a long time creating art and character designs for all their games, encompassing the original Crash Bandicoot all the way up to Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

Bob came up with the design for the popular Crash villain, Nitros Oxide. Despite his iconic design, Oxide went through a considerably large number of revisions, all varying wildly in appearance. As of the time of this writing, Bob's personal web site still features a gallery showing off all of these designs, as well as a blue hippo clad in an aviator uniform that you might have seen floating around at some point.

This character, which Bob named Trippo (better known as "Fasty" among fans), eventually started circulating the Internet, with everyone assuming he was an unused character for Crash Team Racing. After all, it was found within the same CTR gallery as Nitros Oxide, so this made perfect sense.

What no one knew for the longest time is that the Trippo hippo was never actually meant to be a part of CTR. I covered this subject in my article about The Common Misconceptions of Crash, but let's go over it again for convenience's sake. Here's what Bob had to say about it in response to a fan named Wickon:

If I recall correctly Trippo was character design I did for a friend who was developing airfare search engine and was looking for a mascot of sorts, and not part of CTR designs. I should have placed it in another category, but honestly, I've been too busy with BRB projects and family to keep up the site!
— Bob Rafei, 2017

Although I was sent this quote back in 2017, I never got around to writing about it until recently. The quote has since become widespread, and it caught everyone by surprise — including Beenox. And this is where things get groovy.

Not So Fasty

Despite Trippo's status as a non-Crash character, his legacy had more of a lasting impact in the series than you'd expect. This is entirely because he was popular enough among fans for Beenox to take notice, and in their continued efforts to provide the fullest CTR experience, they initially intended to include the character in Nitro-Fueled as part of a Grand Prix. But in order to understand this, we need to talk about "Fasty".

As I mentioned earlier, most Crash fans know Trippo as Fasty. This unimaginative moniker was never official, and it seems to have stemmed from the mind of someone who never looked at the picture in its original habitat under the proper label. Alas, the Fasty name spread like wildfire, acting as a reminder of how important it is to check your sources. Doubly so when it can mislead the developers themselves, which is exactly what happened here.

Hackers found out that the unpatched code for Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled contains references to a playable character named Fasty, indicating that Beenox was well-aware of the character's existence and wanted to make him playable, but didn't know his real name or the fact that he didn't belong in the series. Any and all references to him were promptly removed in version 1.02 of the game, released shortly after the game hit the shelves. What I'm about to say is solely for the sake of giving you the full picture, as I've never been one to toot my own horn: given how practically nobody knew the truth about Trippo/Fasty until I wrote that misconceptions article (coupled with the uncanny timing), it's quite evident that it was the catalyst for Beenox's sudden change of plans. The fact that it was sudden is what's important here, as we're going to find out next.

From Hippo to Moose

Fasty never saw the light of day as a playable character, which did, ironically, turn him into a removed CTR character (for real this time). On the other hand, work had already begun on making him a playable character, and the folks at Beenox were more clever than simply throwing that work away. So they did exactly what you're thinking: they turned Fasty into Hasty.

I can't stress how brilliant this solution was. Just stick some antlers on his head, change the first letter in his name, and presto, you now have a new character that's part of the Crash Bandicoot franchise, and you don't have to discard anything in the process. More importantly, this does away with any potential legal issues, making the Hasty makeover a win-win. Heck, even his name sounds much better now, if you ask me. Well played, Beenox.

If this all sounds absolutely ludicrous, well, it is! But a quick look at how much Hasty resembles Trippo should make the situation quite apparent. And just in case there was any doubt, here's what Activision had to say about the character in their blog:

Welcome Hasty to the CTR Nitro-Fueled family! Those in tune with Crash history may see a nod to some deep CTR lore with this mammalian aviator.
— Activision (source)

That's about as much on the nose as you can be without getting into trouble. Whoever wrote that should get a raise or a nice bonus, honestly.

And there you have it — the story of the CTR character that never was, that almost was but then wasn't, and now is but kind of isn't. If nothing else, this proves just how connected developers and fans have become, and frankly? As long as we can keep the relationship healthy and respectful, I think that's a good thing!




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