It's the first new original Crash Bandicoot game in more than a decade.

By Nick Romano
June 22, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT
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It's been more than a decade since we've had a new original Crash Bandicoot adventure that didn't involve racing, but the time has officially come for the reveal of Crash Bandicoot 4, appropriately subtitled It's About Time!

The game, a sequel to the original trilogy that once capped with 1998's Crash Bandicoot: Warped, won't come as a surprise to anyone who's seen the product images that leaked online over the weekend. A puzzle featuring a new Quantum Mask from the game was also sent out to select press ahead of Monday's formal announcement by Activision. Today now brings the debut of the first trailer, details, and Oct. 2 release date on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One, and Xbox One X.

"It's been a long while for us," Lou Studdert, Design Producer for game developer Toys for Bob, tells EW over the phone. "I joined the team early last year when the game was in production. For us, it's something that we had a lot of passion to start and build from the ground up. At this point, we're putting a bow on it and getting it into people's hands."

"The subtitle says it, we think it's about time," he adds. "Right now is the time. We want something that is this breath of excitement and fun."

Activision

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time! turns back the clock to the end of Warped, after villains Neo Cortex, Dr. N. Tropy, and Uka Uka were stranded on a distant planet. They finally make their escape and end up ripping a hole in the fabric of space and time.

Studdert says the N. Sane Trilogy, which remastered the original games with higher graphics and new technology for 2017, helped get the gears churning about what these games could become. So, there are a lot of new mechanics this time around. Players will encounter new Quantum Masks that allow them to defy the laws of reality. Those include the Time Mask, which slows everything down, and the Gravity Mask, which lets you run along walls and ceilings.

Gamers will have the option of playing the entire game through as either Crash or Coco, who are together in most of the cinematics and act as more of a pair. Other characters will become playable as the game progresses, including Neo Cortex.

Activision

"We're building this new sequel from the ground up on a new engine, and we've got new visual art style that really pushes in two fronts for me. One of the fronts is our characters," Studdert explains. "Our animation team spent a lot of time looking at old animation; figuring out how to bring those styles in; how to make our characters squash, stretch, and bend like the animation that really inspired the game to begin with it. And then our environments, our level design. While we're carrying over this authentic old-school gameplay, what we've actually done is open up the vistas, the dimensions, the times, and worlds to be able to bring you really cool locations that have never been done before."

Activision

That extends to boss battles. Studdert wanted to "amp up the scale, the theatricality, and the excitement" for these showdowns. "In the original games, they were really kinda small," he notes. "For us, it's trying to see a way to utilize the more modern techniques, the more modern visuals."

In the trailer, we see Crash battling a giant robot who's banging on drums, causing waves of energy to fire at Crash from the speakers. That bot is piloted by Dr. N Gin, who first appeared in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. "In our game, instead of just being the character, he's actually piloting a giant mech who is drumming and starting his own giant music show," Studdert says. "So, you have to contend with this giant robot as you're scaling through the level."

Activision

When Crash Bandicoot 4 launches in October, players will have the option of switching between a Modern Mode and a Retro Mode. As Studdert explains, "With the Modern Mode, if you die in the game, you're gonna restart at the checkpoint. In the Retro Mode, you're gonna have the old-school setup. You're gonna have a limited number of lives, collecting Wumpa Fruit will give you more lives. If you lose all those lives, we're gonna give you a 'Game Over' screen and you have to start the level over from the beginning."

Pre-orders are currently available. The game retails for $59.99.

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