Crash Bandicoot generally doesn’t get the same kind of love as classic gaming mascots like Mario and Sonic in the nostalgia-obsessed zeitgeist of gaming. So the success of the recent Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy The reissue surprises even publisher Activision, and it makes the company think about reviving other classic properties.
N.Sane Trilogy was the best-selling game worldwide for the month of June, Activision said on a recent conference call, despite being available on one console only two days out of the month. The game was also the most downloaded title on PSN in July, according to Sony, results that “outperform”[ed] even our most optimistic expectations,” as Activision put it. In fact, that success leads to what is probably the very first example of a popular Crash Bandicootthemed memes.
“We knew there was a passionate audience for Crash — full disclosure, myself included — but we had no idea…” Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said in an earnings call yesterday. “It’s hard to tell if that’s a vocal minority or if it’s a real mass audience, until you bring something to market. Crash exceeded all our expectations by a fairly wide margin.”
Hirshberg went on to point out that the reissue strategy isn’t exactly new, citing other recent and upcoming reissues such as Modern Warfare Remastered and Starcraft Remastered. “So this is a strategy that clearly has our attention, and while there are no new announcements today, I think you can be confident that there will be more of this type of activity in the future with more great IP,” he said.
“We’ve lined up additional releases of that kind of much-loved fan-favorite content in the future,” another Activision executive added to the call. “There’s a much-loved IP that our community would love to get involved in.”
Looking through Activision’s existing franchise lineup, the original Spyro series seems the most obvious candidate for a Crash follow-up, especially given the more recent relevance of the property by the Skylanders spin-off series. Activision also has some beloved retro Spider Man games that would probably fit well next to their upcoming movie-based title. We wouldn’t mind seeing either Tony Hawk make a comeback in a more polished way than the underwhelming Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD.
The unexpected success for the N. Sane Trilogy comes hot on the heels of Nintendo’s unexpected (and somewhat unfulfilled) success with the NES Classic Edition hardware, leading to a recently announced Super NES Classic successor for later this year. While nostalgia has always been a strong force in the video game world, these latest blockbusters show that there’s plenty of room for publishers to exploit their past catalogs for current profits. Then we turn our eyes to the coming and long-awaited Sonic Mania see if the trend can continue.