STACK caught up with Thomas Wilson, creative director and co-studio head at Beenox, about bringing a classic back to the table in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.
Are you a Crash fan? Did you grow up playing the games?
A huge Crash fan. The original Crash Team Racing was my favourite game when it came out 20 years ago – right around the time that I was starting out in video games – so for me, personally, it comes with lots of memories.
There’s a heavy weight of expectation from Crash fanatics for this game. Has the prospect of living up to the 1999 Naughty Dog classic caused much extra pressure during development?
The team at Beenox are huge Crash fans and we set out to ensure fans have that authentic experience they crave, but with some fun, unexpected twists. Every remaster has its challenges and the community has been vocal in its desire to see a Crash Team Racing remaster, so there’s a lot to live up to. We’re confident, though, that we’re going to keep new and old fans happy!
How do you go about nailing the all-important “feel” of the original’s kart control? Is the old PlayStation source code referred to in any way, or do you just keep honing new code until the new game feels right?
We just keep honing new code until the new game feels right, like you said. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled was developed using a different engine than the original Crash Team Racing. This meant spending a considerable amount of time analysing the controls and recreating them as faithfully as possible.
Are we still facing off against big, bad Nitros Oxide to save Earth from becoming a car park? Or has the story been rejigged?
Yes, it’s the ultimate battle! Like the original, there are a variety of modes to play, including an Adventure Mode (single player campaign), Single Race Mode, Cup Race Mode and Battle Arena Mode, and classic Crash Characters to race with, including Crash, Coco, Dr. Neo Cortex and others. In the Adventure Mode, the stakes are high and the competition
is fierce as players race against the egomaniacal Nitros Oxide to save our planet from destruction.
“We’re bringing back all the playable characters from Crash Team Racing and Crash Nitro Kart“
The original PlayStation game had 15 playable characters. Do we get any more to race with this time around?
We’re bringing back all the playable characters from Crash Team Racing and Crash Nitro Kart. Players who purchase the Nitros Oxide Edition will get Crunch, Zem and Zam characters at launch and Nitros Oxide, the self-proclaimed fastest racer in the galaxy, will also be a playable character from day one in all game modes!
Will any features be included from 2003’s Crash Nitro Kart?
Yes! We have remastered the karts, battle arenas and battle modes in Crash Nitro Kart for Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, and have also adapted all Crash Nitro Kart tracks to match the original Crash Team Racing experience. With the Crash Nitro Kart tracks and arenas, we took more creative liberties and reimagined the narrative for each of the environments. We want to surprise and delight fans with a new vision of Crash Nitro Kart.
What about multiplayer? How many can play locally, and should we expect online support?
Up to eight online players can participate in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled multiplayer. You’ll be able to play all the original game modes from Crash Team Racing with friends around the world via online multiplayer and see where you rank with online leader boards. Local play is also supported with two or four players.
Have you managed to squeeze in any Easter eggs? Perhaps for series that you’ve previously worked on at Beenox, such as Guitar Hero or Skylanders?
Be sure to pay attention when you’re racing… Every track in the game has a hidden Easter egg, if you’re able to find them.
The original game really plumbed the length and breadth of Aussie fauna. Can we expect any new-to-the-series characters to pop up at all? If so, has the previously much-overlooked quokka received a guernsey this time around?
Let’s just say while staying true to the original game, we injected as much personality as we could into each character and the worlds they are racing in. You will soon discover there’s a little bit of narrative and quirky animations to be found in every track.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled releases June 21 for PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
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