After literally years of waiting, and years of bad / awful Spyro games being released, we finally, finally have a complete remake of the original Spyro trilogy. We truly live in a world where dreams come true.
Some of my favourite games ever made, my childhood favourites, have not only been remade to look gorgeous, sound reinvigorated, and feel fantastic, but they’ve also been released on an Xbox platform.
We live in a world where our gaming industry releases twenty-year-old games remade for platforms which we were sure would never, ever see PlayStation franchise classics like Crash and Spryo.
I often find myself wandering into a daze daily thinking: “It can’t be possible that the original Crash and Spyro trilogies are remade and available on the Xbox platform right now.”
Even though I was well aware of the chances of the Spyro remake happening after the huge success of the Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy, I still had my doubts. I couldn’t have my hopes dashed right before my eyes if something did go terribly wrong. Lo and behold, I have just finished the Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, and I can safely say that the only thing I want to express regarding the game, is to say thank you.
Thank you to Activision and Toys for Bob for remaking some of my all-time favourite games. You may never know how much this means, though I’m sure you get some sort of idea since you now have my money. But seriously, it does truly blow me away that we live within this reality. This trilogy being created in my mind goes against many of the stereotypes of the industry, especially regarding Activision.
Activision is renowned for drawing out franchises (Tony Hawk Pro-Skater, Spider-Man, Transformers, Spyro and Crash included) long after their peak, though according to the market, they simply release one of, if not the, best-selling game of the year, every year, even if the vocal minority vote financially against this franchise. That franchise being Call of Duty.
I do not think that Activision will ingrain the positive messages that can be found through the surface exploration of the success of the Crash and Spyro remakes, though I will detail the message nonetheless, if not to provide a poor yet satisfactory excuse for Activision to become a publisher which puts gamers first.
A publisher which follows in the footsteps of its Bethesda and Ubisoft competitors. A publisher which allows time and care to foster within their creative projects. Let us, as I do more often than not, ponder for a moment on what Activison could do with a more sensitive release and development process moving ahead, with an emphasis of quality over quantity. Or at the very least, removing the aim to make money over making a great game.
All that being said, I am aware that the current Call of Duty development cycle of three years, and I am aware that most of its releases are marketed well and usually don’t land flat. They don’t exactly mark the future of the industry developments trends either.
Let’s begin with the potential Activision has with Crash Bandicoot. Activision could very easily create another Crash remake collection including Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Crash Bandicoot: Twinsanity, and of course, Crash Team Racing. That being said, they could instead just remake Crash Team Racing and sell it at a lower price point, especially considering the former two aren’t known as the best entries in the series, though they are better than most. A CTR remake is something that the fans want, and something that I deeply desire considering CTR is the best kart-racer ever made.
The main point I wish to emphasise here is the focus on quality when it comes to this potential remake. The small details will make all the difference for this remake; character models, locations and graphic style should match the that of the N-Sane trilogy to preserve the idea of a coherent Crash universe, making it easier for gamers to relate to these new games alongside the classics.
They should be able to remake the game fairly quickly considering it is only one game, compared to the three they remade for the N-Sane trilogy, and considering it was made for the PS1 which means the game is only around 20-30 hours long, if that.
With the right level of detail, revising the soundtrack like in Spyro but allowing the original to be played through the option menu, updating visuals and slight alterations to gameplay, a remade CTR could be huge. I hope they could give it the Halo treatment of allowing you to switch between original and remake at the click of a button, though that seems extremely hopeful at this point considering that the feature hasn’t been made available on any other of these remakes – for a variety of supportive reasons no doubt.
Moving forward, a brand-new Crash Bandicoot game styled in the 3D platforming we’ve come to know and love could be the best way to finally continue the franchise in a way which honours what came before, but also allow Vicarious Visions to create something of their own. One of the most exciting prospects about a brand-new Crash game is how Vicarious Visions could continue the story and gameplay of the first three Crash Bandicoot games, essentially re-writing the good, but mainly bad, Crash games that followed.
Where will it be set? What variety of levels will we explore? Who will be the bosses and what will the boss fights be like? All exciting prospects to ponder, but alas, let’s move on.
Following the success of the Reignited Trilogy, it is difficult for me to speculate what Activision’s next move should be with the franchise since I am so delightfully bewildered by the trilogy existing in the first place. I can see Toys for Bob creating, the same as Crash, a fourth game in the franchise which would re-write the games which originally followed the first trilogy, though I’m not sure how successful a new Spyro would be.
I’m not sure, when removing the nostalgia factor, there is much creative potential in another game because the creative assets and concepts will be very different than before, mainly because of the different developers behind the creative vision, the technology now available, and the vision driving the franchise forward.
All of these concerns could be said for Crash also, but I am more confident with the continuation of that series because of the limiting yet surprisingly fresh 2D/3D platform style. With the open collectathon world-exploration that Spyro supplies, I’m not sure that style will transfer as well into a brand new Spyro game.
I would love Toys for Bob to prove me wrong however, and to show me what could very well be the biggest, most creative Spyro game yet. An unthinkable achievement, which makes the challenge ever-more enticing.
Call of Duty
It is easy to criticise the Call of Duty franchise in its current state. No story campaign, repetitive time periods and gameplay trends followed rather than created. It is also easy to forget that Call of Duty is still the biggest franchise and video game released every year, by a large margin.
This year for instance, Black Ops 4 is currently outselling Red Dead Redemption II. Considering Red Dead II sold 17 million units in its first three days on the market, that’s clearly no small feat. Do not underestimated the market power of Call of Duty.
Now, while there’s an argument as to why Call of Duty will and should release every year for the foreseeable future without drastically experimenting within the FPS genre, as a video game fan, and more importantly, an FPS fan, I would love to see the same innovation within the genre that made Call of Duty what it is today.
Characters and story which is delivered through in-game cutscenes and mission objectives similar to those of Modern Warfare 1 and 2. Memorable and vicious villains with unexpected plot twists and missions which are unique to the genre, and including of course, impeccable multiplayer, it is difficult to identify what exactly Call of Duty would need to do in order reach a peak we’ve never seen it reach before.
What I do believe is that Activision and the in-house developers, Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and Sledgehammer Games, have the resources and creativity for Call of Duty to return to be the entertainment juggernaut. Though again, it is hard to argue that it hasn’t maintained this behemoth status already.
I’m not sure that Activision has any right to change its current business and creative methods, though I would like to see better video games created and published under their guidance. The Crash and Spyro remakes could arguably be the best games the publisher has released in some considerable time. And that is saying something.
It’s not only arguing the legitimacy of the original creativity needed to produce these remakes, but also showcasing that perhaps it is time for Activision to change its foundational philosophies in order to achieve Rockstar-level financial success. I can’t see a yearly Call of Duty outselling GTA V anytime soon.
N.B. Activision merged with Blizzard in 2008, so when I discuss Activision, I am inevitably also discussing Blizzard and their potential also, but for the purpose of this article I focus on Activision, its history and culture, with regards to franchise support and long-term planning. Mainly because I wanted to focus on that over focusing on Blizzard’s.