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‘CRASH BANDICOOT 4’ CREATIVE PRODUCER DETAILS “TIGHTER” NEXT-GEN GAMEPLAY

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time has spun its way onto the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S|X and Nintendo Switch.

Developed by Toys for Bob and published by Activision, the fourth installment in the Crash Bandicoot franchise initially launched on Oct. 2 on PC and last-generation consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The next-gen version of the platformer, meanwhile, has been completely rebuilt for the specs offered by the new consoles.

“The team got into the code and made sure that we brought the best possible work to the next-gen,” Toys for Bob creative producer Lou Studdert tells VENN’s Deep Dev series, hosted by editorial director Patrick Shanley and news editor Brittany Spurlin. “This game is now running a native 4k resolution and 60 frames per second. It’s unbelievably crisp onscreen.”

Early in Crash 4’s development, more information was coming out about the next-generation consoles’ tech and the Toys for Bob team had to decide if they would push the game to be next-gen ready at launch or wait. Ultimately, they decided on the latter.

Crash Bandicoot 4 Image

“We wanted to make our way through the launch of the game to get it out of the door for the original systems,” says Studdert. “But with the new launches coming and the information we were getting about different things like adaptive controllers or activity cards, it lended to us releasing at a different time.”

Throughout the process, creating the next-gen version of the game was always in the back of the team’s mind. Figuring out how to go from one console to another, presented a difficult challenge for the development team, but they were committed to making sure the game was well represented wherever it was played.

“We worked on the art side to find an art and a presentation where we utilized techniques that made the game look beautiful, vibrant and animated; that it was foundationally sound regardless of where you went,” Studdert says. “It allowed us to build on top of it without making anything else look bad. It looks great here, and it also looks great in places where we can add additional features.”

Crash Bandicoot 4 Image

When adapting to the PS5’s upgraded systems, the team stayed true to the cartoonish animation styles Crash fans have come to love while making the gameplay experience more immersive. Nowhere is this more evident than the PS5’s Dual Sense controllers.

“You have to go into it with an open mind and figure out where you’re using these buttons. Like [character Dingodile’s] vacuum — you think it’s sucking, but what you actually have to figure out is the resistance of how much push the controller is pushing away from you being able to pull it in,” says Studdert. “My favorite is when Katana throws this grappling hook and you feel the tension as she’s about to throw it and in the adaptive trigger you feel the rope extend from the character.”

Fun of adaptive controllers aside, the Crash Bandicoot franchise has always been known for its difficulty and Crash 4 delivers its own challenge to players. After 25 years, Studdert and the Toys for Bob team had to work to keep old fans engaged without scaring away a new audience.

“Finding the difficulty of this game was a journey, and a fine line to walk. We wanted to build the game with different activities for different types of players. For us, that balance meant developing a modern mode, which removes the notions of lives,” Studdert says. “What we found is the more you play, the better you get…and when you die it breaks your muscle memory and sets you back. We [also] wanted to get something into the hands of players who’ve been playing this game for 25 years and still make them break a sweat.”

Crash Bandicoot 4 Image

The team wanted to train players, introducing skill A in one level, skill B in the next, and combining A and B in the third. It’s also important for players to remember several of the gameplay mechanics play off of their cartoon inspirations. “When you step off a ledge, there’s actually a bit of hang time for you to react before you fall,” says Studdert.

Speaking of cartoonish inspirations, when asked where Crash Bandicoot’s neckline lands when the character wears a T-shirt, Studdert posits a guess. “We have had so many conversations about whether or not he has a neck. I personally don’t think he has a neck. He’s a triangle with a face. He’s a Dorito with pants,” Studdert says.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is available now on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch for $59.99.

The entire conversation with Studdert can be heard here:

The team wanted to train players, introducing skill A in one level, skill B in the next, and combining A and B in the third. It’s also important for players to remember several of the gameplay mechanics play off of their cartoon inspirations. “When you step off a ledge, there’s actually a bit of hang time for you to react before you fall,” says Studdert.

Speaking of cartoonish inspirations, when asked where Crash Bandicoot’s neckline lands when the character wears a T-shirt, Studdert posits a guess. “We have had so many conversations about whether or not he has a neck. I personally don’t think he has a neck. He’s a triangle with a face. He’s a Dorito with pants,” Studdert says.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is available now on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch for $59.99.

The entire conversation with Studdert can be heard here:

Photo courtesy of Activision

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