SBox Soapbox: Should Crash Team Racing Be Remastered or Remade?

The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has finally been released, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been a Crash Bandicoot fan ever since first playing Crash Bandicoot 2 when I was just 2 or 3 years old. It was the first game I ever played and the reason I fell in love with video games in the first place. So, you know I was drawn to this remastering of the first 3 games like a moth to a flame.

I’ve been playing the crap out of The N. Sane Trilogy ever since I got it during its launch weekend and have not been disappointed with what I got. The graphics are superb, the gameplay was tweaked just enough to feel modern yet familiar, the soundtrack is life itself, and the new additions, while admittedly minor, are just enough to make the purchase worth it. Sure, the loading screens are a bit annoying, but the game itself is just what I wanted it to be. I highly encourage fans of the original games such as me to pick this game up when you get a chance. It’s a new take on 3 classics that I just know you’ll enjoy.

That being said, this trip down nostalgia lane got me thinking about the other big Crash Bandicoot game on PS1. What of the 4th and final Crash game to be developed by Naughty Dog, Crash Team Racing?

Released in 1999, Crash Team Racing was the first spin-off of the series and a staple of the 5th generation racing game scene alongside Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and Daytona USA among others. The game was beloved by critics and fans at the time, selling close to 5 million copies during its initial run. It’s still regarded as one of the most beloved PS1 games of all-time as well as one of the most beloved racing games ever made.

The game definitely had an impact, which is why I’m sure some fans may have been disappointed to see it not included in the N. Sane Trilogy. Granted, I’m of the opinion that it didn’t belong in this collection. It’s not a platformer like the other 3 games, it would require a whole new engine to get right, and how can you re-release CTR without online multiplayer? It would be a huge undertaking for Vicarious Visions to take on that game on top of the other 3 games. Plus, then you’d have people asking “Well, where’s Crash Bash then” (which is an entirely different conversation).

That’s not to say that I don’t think CTR should be reworked. It absolutely should. CTR is a fantastic game that aged well, plays well, and would be well-received by every human on the planet no doubt. This is especially true after seeing how great a job Vicarious Visions did with the N. Sane Trilogy. However, this does come with the question of how it can be done.

One idea is to remaster the game in the same way they remastered Crash 1 through Warped. It could be an add-on to the N. Sane Trilogy via DLC or its own separate title independent from NST. I can see the benefits of both plans. Clearly such content wouldn’t be free DLC, considering the amount of work necessary for making the game again. Giving the game the necessary gameplay tweaks, artistic recreations and new content wouldn’t come cheap. In fact, it may be so big an undertaking that it would probably be more worth it to release it as a downloadable PSN /physical title. It could be called “Crash Team Racing: The N. Sane Edition”. Sell it at $20, add online multiplayer, and you’re golden.

However, this comes with a couple possible roadblocks. Would it be worth it to Activision or fans to remaster one game for such a small price. From a fan’s perspective, sure, I’d pay $20 or so for a CTR remaster. (I’ve done it for DuckTales and I’d do it for CTR). However, I can imagine some gamer’s finding just 1 new take on an old game to be a bit less worth it. One of the major appeals of remasters is that you get several older games on superior hardware for the price of a full, new game; which would place a standalone CTR remaster at a disadvantage. If it came bundled with Crash Bash, that’s another story. Then again, that would make the package cost more, and I’m not sure enough people are fond enough of Crash Bash to justify that purchase. I would, but maybe others may not.

Then from the developer’s perspective, a remaster may be relatively easy to make considering they’re going off the original code, but it may cost a bit too much and take too much time to rework faithfully. Plus, is there really enough content in the game to guarantee a CTR remaster would sell. Sure the game has 5 modes and 15 characters, but modern racing games are still relatively packed with content. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing has at least 24 characters in it (depending on platform), and Mario Kart 8 has a good 26 characters (before DLC and not accounting for the Deluxe version). For modern standards, the game may be a bit too small for modern audiences.

That’s why some may favor a second option a bit better: a full CTR remake. Not a remaster, but a from the ground up, standalone, new features included, remake.

Fun Fact: Back in 2010, Activision was looking to develop a CTR remake developed by High Impact Games before cancelling it for unknown reasons. It was honestly a pretty good idea. Considering the enriched Crash Bandicoot history that exists now, you could expand your roster to include characters like Crunch, Nina, and Tawna. You could also bring in one-off characters like Pasadena Opossum from Tag Team Racing, The Evil Twins from Twinsanity, and Emperor Velo from Nitro Kart. Hell, throw Spyro in while you’re at it. Beyond that, a full remake would be considered a brand new game at $60. This justifies the cost for online server maintenance, and allows Vicarious Visions to add new tracks to beef up the game even more.

This would still come with one drawback β€” you know, besides the price being higher. Such a plan would also give Vicarious Visions the ability to go off-script (or more appropriately off-code) from the original game. This opens the game up to potentially play radically different from the original, and you know what they say about fixing something that ain’t broke. Basically, a remake could serve to tarnish the original game. Then again, it also could be a good thing for the game. After all, the NST tweaked the control of the original 3 games and I still enjoy it. Maybe they’ll take care to improve the gameplay while also maintaining the feel of the original CTR. As a result you have a whole new take on a classic game.

Additionally, when you discuss a remake of the game, you have to ask yourself if now is the time to make it happen. Should such an idea wait for after the series has a new, original platformer under its belt before going straight to a racing game? Would it allow for new characters to be introduced and new ideas to be formed? Alternatively, would the hype around NST still be there in a few year’s time, and what if a new Crash game fails? A remake definitely comes with a lot of ifs and buts to the point where Activision may not be willing to take the risk just yet.

It’s interesting to think about CTR being remastered or remade. It’s an idea I most certainly love and would support either way if and when it comes up. Though, of the two options I personally lean more towards the remake idea. It may take more time to happen and sure they could potentially make the game worse, but the NST impressed me so much that I trust Vicarious Visions to make it work. Plus, imagine a CTR remake coming out on the game’s 20th anniversary in 2019. That would be awesome! Though if they decide to instead remaster the original game with online multiplayer, I’m totally fine with that, too.

Should there be a Crash Team Racing remake or remaster? Which option appeals to you most? Would you support either option, or would you rather they leave the game alone? Leave your thoughts in the comments below so we can discuss it together!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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