Come the end of next week you’ll finally be able to dive right into a nostalgia trip that’ll take you on a journey back to your PS1 days. Years ago Naughty Dog started their reign on the PlayStation platform with their iconic and classic Crash Bandicoot franchise and ever since fans have been begging for a return to those first three games. There was just something about it that made it very special. The team who have been hard at work with the remake of the classics have had a much tougher time than most would have imagined.
When Shawn Layden walked onto the stage at E3 in 2016, with Crash Bandicoot not far behind, it had people standing up out of their chairs and cheering on. The return of Crash Bandicoot was real, but for the developers behind the scenes it was more real than ever as they had to build the game up without the original source code. When you’re working on an iconic series you normally have access to all the original source code to ensure it matches everything that made it unique (like the Resident Evil remake for example that the Capcom teams worked on).
According to Vicarious designer, Dan Tanguay, “Almost everything was missing” when it comes to the source code. As explained to Ars Technica:
“The original engine was specifically built for PlayStation 1. Naughty Dog pushed [the PS1] to the limits. They made a fantastic engine for doing that. That engine didn’t see the light of day beyond PlayStation 1, as far as I know, and it certainly wasn’t usable by us. Any code, anything like that, we didn’t have access to.”
All they got were 3D meshes:
“They were compressed in some wacky format that we had to decode.”
All that helped with was for them to get an understanding of the architecture and scale of the worlds, but everything else came down to video comparisons. So, when you play your game of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy you should take the time to appreciate all the work that’s gone into it.