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N. Sane Trilogy Coming to PC and Switch

Last year firmly established that there is still a colossal market for Crash Bandicoot games and merchandise. Thanks to the N. Sane Trilogy, the franchise has not only risen from its untimely grave, but it's at its most popular since the PS1 era. It's only natural to expect a new game to follow in the near future, but whether you saw it coming or had your doubts, you'll be delighted to know that it seems to be confirmed. In fact, there seem to be plans for the next five years already.

There's a good chance you've already heard the news as it's been all over the "bandicootian" press for a few days, but if you're not up to date, here's an interesting quote by GB Eye, a company that supplies licensed merchandise including Crash Bandicoot:

The new game was a huge success at retail with no marketing spend. Next year it will be going broader (Switch and PC) and there will be a new game in 2019. Activision have a five-year plan for this and GB eye is delighted to be fully on board for all products. (Source: Licensing Source Book Europe - Spring 2018)

As usual, this information has been removed from the original article. You could make the case that they just made a very oddly specific mistake and nothing's been officially confirmed, but uh, I think we all know how the merchandise folk's prophetic whoopsies work at this point (this was how we learned about Crash's recent resurrection months before its official announcement). Either way, we do have more evidence that the N. Sane Trilogy is merely a timed exclusive, which I will link to at the bottom of this post. First, let's focus on the topic at hand.

There's a lot to take from this quote. The former strategy for Crash consisted of yearly releases that lasted until the infamous hiatus, and it was in many ways responsible for its decline in both quality and popularity (not to mention all the executive meddling and studio swapping in-between). For Crash to remain exciting and relevant, there needs to be a reason for new games to exist beyond the publisher's financial interest. It's hard to say what Activision's approach will be like from here on out, since the lack of a new game in 2018 can simply be attributed to the upcoming N. Sane Trilogy ports. Still, and regardless of what happens next, hearing they have long-term plans for Crash is at the very least reassuring, and 2019 seems like the perfect time for a new game that can wow everyone again.

The N. Sane Trilogy's PS4 exclusivity had long been a hot topic among fans. Between the occasional slip of the tongue, the vague non-answers from both Sony and Activision, some leaked screenshots showing Xbox One inputs (seen above, possibly hinting at the PC version given how the platform was omitted from the remark), and a couple of promotional trailers showing a higher framerate than usual, it isn't hard to see why so many people theorized that this was only a timed exclusive. I, myself, have consistently believed that the game would at least get a PC version further down the road, though I'd be lying if I said I saw a Switch port coming.

This is great news, of course. Not only will more people get to play the trilogy, but a lot of doors are suddenly open thanks to the prospect of modding the PC version. I've met a lot of different Crash fans over the years, and I can tell you there is no shortage of talented hackers out there, some of whom have even uncovered a great deal of unused content in the games (heck, the level Stormy Ascent might not have made it to the N. Sane Trilogy if "Hacc" hadn't posted his findings on Crash Mania over a decade ago).

Even though it's impossible to say just how much fans will be able to change, I'm sure someone will eventually try to make the games play closer to the originals in the few areas they didn't succeed. Even assuming the new versions don't fix a thing, the modding scene is more active than ever, and that alone makes the PC version all the more inviting. Not only that, but missed opportunities like letting you slide in Crash 1 should be relatively simple to implement. I reckon I'm getting ahead of myself, but hey, there's an idea for anyone willing to try their luck.

Modding shenanigans aside, it's a no-brainer that the PC version will be the best-looking one. If the old trailers are of any indication, 60 frames per second are practically a given if you have the hardware for it, and assuming there's an option to disable the game's motion blur (or someone makes a mod to that effect), Crash Mania may finally have all the missing models and screenshots for the trilogy, provided someone's kind enough to get the pictures (I doubt I could get the game to run on this old fossil with keys, even on the lowest of settings).

Speaking of low settings, let's speculate about the Switch version for a bit. There's no chance you'll get the same graphical fidelity on Nintendo's hybrid console, but it's a reasonable price to pay for being able to enjoy the remade trilogy on the go. How reasonable exactly will depend on the actual result, but not having to go all out with the visuals is a good excuse to focus on performance and target 60 frames per second. This isn't extremely likely though, and we still don't even know the nature of this port or which studio's behind it. Assuming some of the bugs and quirks get ironed out, it would be nice for PS4 players to receive a patch alongside the new versions' release (probably best not hold your breath, though).

But what about the 2019 game? I've entertained the idea of another remake in my previous post, what with so many people yearning for another visit to CTR or Twinsanity, but the timing seems to suggest that we're getting a new game next. I think it's too early for a Twinsanity remake, and if CTR was in the works, we'd probably get it sooner rather than later. After all, Vicarious Visions already has a lot of assets from both the N. Sane Trilogy and the Skylanders games that they can reuse for a CTR remake, not to mention experience. Well, I'm sure someone will leak more info about the new game when we least expect.

Oh, and as for the remaining evidence I mentioned? Apparently there's a Spyro the Dragon trilogy remaster coming soon, and according to Kotaku, both that and the N. Sane Trilogy are under the same exclusivity deal:

Apparently, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is tied to similar one year exclusivity window, so expect to see multiple ports of that in 2018. (Source: Kotaku)

For many people, being a Crash fan is synonymous with being a Spyro fan, so I'm sure many of you are delighted to know this. I know I am!

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