In a time when Sony was desperately looking for a mascot, Crash Bandicoot was there to lend a wacky hand. For a while it was a major pillar for Sony's successful entry into the gaming industry, but it has since spiraled into insignificance. Can it be saved? Naughty Dog thinks so.
Naughty Dog's Co-Founder Andrew Gaving has ideas for how to make Crash Bandicoot the blockbuster success it was in the 90s. He said to OPM.UK:
Crash needs a total reboot. There’s an opportunity to reset the history, and go back to his creation story and the original conflict with Cortex. In that context, you could reprise classic Crash 1 and 2’s settings and villains. It would make sense to use a more modern, free-roaming style. I would concentrate on Looney Tunes-esque animation and really addictive action. That’s what we did with the original Crash, and there’s no reason it couldn’t be done today. Given the current Crash games, people forget that he was once cool. Our Crash had a certain whimsical edge to him. Sure, it was goofy – but it wasn’t dumb.
A reboot really is in order. It worked for Tomb Raider, a series that struggled with the same issue until its revival this year. Modernizing an aged series takes a lot of creativity and hard work, but it's worth it. The identity is still there, albeit damaged by years of neglect. The fun characters and elements—who doesn't love being blown up by nitroglycerin crates?—that made Crash Bandicoot different from Mario and other platformers of the time are still relevant more than a decade later.
What it'll take more than anything is a development studio that is talented and wants to see Crash Bandicoot back on the map. Whether or not that'll happen is anyone's guess, but it'd be a missed opportunity if nobody steps up to the plate.