It’s been an eventful few years for the Crash Bandicoot franchise. Starting with the massively successful N. Sane Trilogy and then a remaster of Crash Team Racing, it feels like one of gaming’s most iconic characters is back in full swing. And now, the first original console game in the franchise for over a decade has been announced: Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.
Leaks had started to spread about the existence of the game in the run-up to Activision’s official announcement. Additionally, a few screenshots and a description of the plot came courtesy of the Taiwan Digital Game Rating Committee. Based on the announcement trailer, it’s clear that this information was indeed accurate.
Gameplay footage from the trailer shows that Crash is not the only playable character this time around; he’ll be joined by Coco like in the N. Sane Trilogy, but Cortex will also be playable. Level design looks just like what you’d expect from a Crash game, perhaps a bit more open in some areas. There’s also some cinematic elements that have been added, like a ship blowing up in an icy area. For now, no vehicle segments have been shown, though it’s safe to assume they’ll probably return in some way.
The Aku Aku mask has been a mainstay of the series, but this entry brings alternatives along with it. These new masks affect the gameplay directly, with gravity switching and slowing time being some of the powers they bestow upon Crash when he encounters them. Weirdly enough, this was also a design element of Wrath of Cortex, the original ‘Crash 4’ prior to this new game – It’s About Time will retcon all events following the original PS1 trilogy.
Where the new game diverges from its fellow ‘Crash 4’ is the introduction of dimensional rifts, which coincidentally is a premise shared with a fellow mascot platformer – Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. It was also featured in Crash Twinsanity, so perhaps It’s About Time will pay homage to some of the other games in the franchise too. We’ve already got snippets of this, with some of the trailer’s dialogue referencing the bandicoot’s many past adventures.
Returning characters seem to have been given slight redesigns for this new entry. While they’re thankfully not as drastic as in Crash of the Titans, they are noticeably different to the N. Sane Trilogy, with Cortex’s rounder head being the most prominent change. Coco looks a bit strange, but Crash’s design doesn’t seem as controversial.
According to the pre-order page on the PlayStation store, offline multiplayer will be in the game too. It’ll be interesting to see how this is incorporated into a main Crash game, as it hasn’t been done before. Another first for the series comes in the form of ‘modern’ mode, which does away with lives to make the game more accessible to less-experienced players. Of course, the classic mode is still there for those of us who want more of a challenge.
As the tagline says, it’s about time we got an original Crash game in the style of the PS1 trilogy. Crash’s latest adventure is scheduled for release on 9 October on PS4 and Xbox One. More details, including the remaining masks, are sure to be unveiled (or perhaps leaked) in the run-up to release.
Last modified: 23rd June 2020