Tag Archives: Naughty Dog

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 — 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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SBox Soapbox: The Last of Us Part 2 | Does Ellie Know Joel’s Lie? (Part 2)

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In a previous post, I decided to talk a little about one of my favorite game of all-time (The Last of Us) and my most anticipated game as of right now (The Last of Us Part 2). The Last of Us Part 2 is currently in early development, and the announcement is just a bit over one week old. As with all good things, fans are already taking to the web to share their theories and predictions surrounding this soon to be released continuation of a masterpiece. I, too, have theories and ideas of my own to share regarding The Last of Us Part 2, but for now I wanted to focus on one huge question that will play a vital role in the new game’s story. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: The Last of Us Part 2 | Does Ellie Know Joel’s Lie? (Part 2)

SBox Soapbox: The Last of Us Part 2 | Does Ellie Know Joel’s Lie? (Part 1)

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To me, The Last of Us is one of the closest examples of a game being a masterpiece. In fact, that’s exactly what it is. A masterpiece. By far one of the most fun and immediately immersive gaming sessions of my life. Its excellent mix of action-adventure, stealth, and survival-horror made for a challenging and binge-worthy experience worth having. There wasn’t a dull moment in the game, neither interactively, audibly, or visually. Not to mention that it has the best story in a video game bar-none. I can go on and on about its deep themes, compelling characters, and emotional weight which persists throughout the entire the entire game. And it just so happens now is the perfect time to do so.

Yes, I know I’m a week late to this party, but I couldn’t just not talk about The Last of Us Part 2. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: The Last of Us Part 2 | Does Ellie Know Joel’s Lie? (Part 1)

SBox Recommends: Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End (Game Review)

Note: SBR never spoils. You are safe. Enjoy!

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At long last, I get to do my first WordPress video game review. I couldn’t have thought of a more fitting first candidate than my most anticipated game of the year, part of one of my favorite video game series of all-time: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

I’ve been a fan of Naughty Dog games since I was a toddler playing Crash Bandicoot 2. That game created my love of platformers and is one of my favorite games to this day. So when I finally got a PS3 in 2012, I knew my first stop had to be Naughty Dog’s latest venture with the Uncharted games. I started with Uncharted 2, then 3 and eventually went back to 1. These games are everything I want in a video game: great story, larger than life action, platforming, third-person combat, optional yet fun collectathons and intriguing puzzles. If there was ever a game made just for me, this would probably be it.

When Uncharted 4 was announced back in November 2013 (yes it’s been that long), I couldn’t have been more excited to continue the story of Nathan Drake wherever he may be. In fact, I bought the PS4 the following year just to play this game. Little did I know it would be a pretty long wait until then, topped off by at least three delays, but it was worth the investment. I now get to stand before you guys today, having finally played Uncharted 4 and loving every second of it. Continue reading SBox Recommends: Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End (Game Review)

My Quick Thoughts on Uncharted 4 Gameplay Footage (PlayStation Experience)

There was a lot of news to come out this past weekend due to two big events: the PlayStation Experience and the Video Game Awards. No matter who you are or what games you play, these are all huge announcements. I think it is literately impossible for you to have come out of this weekend with nothing to look forward to. 2015 is going to be one of the best years for games.

I will be commenting on individual announcements from both events. Let’s start with the one I was waiting for most.

During the PlayStation Experience, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End made an appearance in the form of long-awaited gameplay footage. Fans have been waiting 5 months since the announcement of the game back at E3 to see Nathan Drake in action “one last time”. About 15 minutes of gameplay were shown highlighting an action scene in the deep jungle. If you haven’t seen the footage yet and wish to follow along, click here to see it for yourself.

I’m a huge fan of the Uncharted series. No doubt about it, this is my favorite PS3 franchise ever, and one of my favorite series of video games. I started with Uncharted 2 (one of my first PS3 games), then Uncharted 3 the next week, and I’m still playing through Uncharted 1. I will assert that Uncharted 2 is probably my favorite. I will also say that Uncharted 4 is my most anticipated game of 2015. I want it bad, and this here footage cemented that excitement for me.

First thing’s first. This game is beautiful. This is a shock to no one because Naughty Dog usually always excels in graphic design. Particularly, few development studios make forested areas as well as Naughty Dog does. (That’s probably because every game they ever made has a forest or jungle section in it). The jump to the PS4 bolsters that beauty by the increase of textures and detail. Nate himself looks near life-like as do many of the other characters in the game.

But of course, the gameplay is the star of the show. We were shown a very standard Uncharted trip: we go from a mountain overseeing an ocean, many hills, and natural plant-life, through a cave to reach a high wall which we climb, where we find enemy forces blocking and patrolling the platforms on our path, then escape them to reach a wall of rocks to climb. That’s pretty much the gist of it… and it was awesome!

It’s been a while since I’ve played Uncharted, so mind me if I mistake certain things as new.

One new feature I like is the use of sharp objects to assist you in climbing. I’m not sure if this was in the original trilogy or not, but I found it a clever expansion for platforming. It could even offer some freedom with the climbing sections, or at the very least some additional strategy. Not just moving the analog stick and see where he reaches and then jumping.

There’s also one other big feature I’m almost certain wasn’t in the other games. That hook-shot lasso thing is the best thing to happen to the Uncharted game in a while. This is next-level stuff, allowing you to traverse through areas much faster and reach areas much further. I can’t wait to use this thing. Now all Drake needs to officially be Indiana Jones is a brown hat.

Combat has also seen some more dynamic moves to add to the mix. As far as gunplay, that’s untouched. Same old, same old. But some of the new hand-to-hand sequences look brutal. The man with his back against the wall slammed the gunman’s face in the rocks before knocking him out. That’s hardcore!

Now the only thing left that was shown is the new face we see towards the end of the video. It appears to be Nathan Drake’s older brother, played by Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Infamous: Second Son, etc.). For one, I do love the fact that Troy Baker is in an Uncharted game. Now I can say that Joel has officially talked to Drake.

I can’t exactly comment too much on his character since we weren’t given much, but I’m going to bet that he turns to the dark side by the end of the game. Just a gut feeling I have. In terms of what Nate’s brother can bring to the story, I think this brings about a lot of interesting outcomes. Just the fact that these two most likely did not grow up together because of the foster system bring s a good bunch of conflict. As a character, perhaps he will be the less experienced but incredibly eager brother who ends up making half the bad stuff happen due to common mistakes. That’s probably not it at all, but I’m just guessing.

Really, this footage was so good to see. It’s been a year since development of this game was confirmed and now I feel my hype is justified. I’m still wrapping my head around the idea that I will be able to play this one day. I can’t wait to see more in the future.

What did you guys make of the gameplay trailer? Was it everything you were hoping for? Does this in anyway make you want to buy the game. Let me know in the comments, so we can discuss this together.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

SBox Soapbox: What I Want From a New Crash Bandicoot Game

The reason I play video games is because of Crash Bandicoot. More primarily, Crash Bandicoot 2 is the reason I play video games. It was the first game I have ever played back when I was just 2 years old. Because of that game, I would stand here today a 17 year old gamer, whose love of gaming would leak into his actual life, the friends he would end up making, the games he would end up playing, the skills he would end up wielding, and the passion he would end up expressing on a blog such as this. It doesn’t take long to find out I’m a gamer if you talk to me, and this is the game that started it all.

For those of you unaware, Crash Bandicoot is a series of 3D platformers. Not just any platformer, though. This was one of the first, and one of the first to get it right. Continue reading SBox Soapbox: What I Want From a New Crash Bandicoot Game