Since its release late last month, Crash Bandicoot fans have noticed that the N. Sane Trilogy–which packages together remastered versions of the first three Crash games–handles differently than the originals, sometimes even making them more difficult. Indeed, this isn’t merely the case of foggy memories after two decades, as the changes stem from design decisions on the part of the collection’s developer.
Unlike the original games, which were developed by Naughty Dog, N. Sane Trilogy was handled by Vicarious Visions. The studio has now responded to feedback concerning some of the perceived changes, particularly the way Crash jumps. It states upfront that it deliberately made some alterations, explaining, "Our goal for the Trilogy was to reduce any points of frustration while preserving the challenge of the originals, and we feel we’ve done that."
Vicarious says it intended to provide a "cohesive experience across all three games," which resulted in the adjustments. "The reason for that is because we want the best experience for all players, and Crash’s handling falls into this category," it explains. "We spent a lot of time studying the three titles and chose the handling from Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped as our Trilogy’s starting point; it represented the most improved and modern approach as it gives players the most control.
"We went through rounds of internal testing, user testing, and iterations to get each game’s handling to just the right place. In the end, we ended up tuning jump differently for each game, so that the jump metrics are the same as the originals. However, there are a few subtle differences in Crash Bandicoot, chief among these being the fact that you fall more quickly upon release of the X button than you did in the original first game."
Another change involves Crash’s interaction with platforms and enemies, which is due to the use of a new collision system. "[C]ombined with the addition of physics, certain jumps require more precision than the originals," Vicarious explains. "Much like the handling, we iterated on collision and physics throughout development to make it fair to all players and as faithful to the original games as possible."
Vicarious also discusses the changes to saves and checkpoints in the first game. This includes the addition of the dynamic difficulty system that wasn’t originally incorporated until the second game, which helps players out after repeatedly failing to complete a level. Despite this, it acknowledges that the first game is challenging–so much so that it suggests that players consider starting with the later games first.
"An increased precision is now required in the first game, which makes the gameplay experience different," it says. "Particularly if you are a new player, you may want to start with the second and third games first, and then come back to try Crash Bandicoot after you’ve had more practice. For those of you who played the originals and acquired a fair amount of muscle memory, re-learning the handling in our game may present an additional challenge you weren’t expecting. But we’re sure you up to the task."
N. Sane Trilogy was released as a PS4 exclusive in late June, although it may be headed to other platforms eventually. Early sales have appeared to be strong in both the US and Europe, and publisher Activision has said a strong performance "could lead to other things," perhaps suggesting a new, original Crash game. For more, check out our full Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy review.