Update: Evidently, this was not for an animated series; rather, it was meant to be a series of animated cutscenes for the game itself. The plan was for the animated scenes to serve as the seed material for a potential animated series down the line, but they were always meant for the game first and foremost. The co-publishing deal with Sony effectively killed that idea, however, as the publishing giant wanted to pursue a more 3-D route rather than the goofy animated style seen above. Thank goodness for that.
There is a Crash Bandicoot animated series. Or at least the exhumed corpse of one. I repeat, this is not a drill.
Recently, test footage for a cartoon series inspired by Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot video game franchise hit the internet, along with plans for other possible transmedia tie-in content for the once-great video game mascot. The video, which you can watch above, was released by David Siller, a lead designer and senior producer at Universal Interactive Studio, who worked on Crash Bandicoot.
According to Siller, the series was influenced by “Animaniacs and even a few others popular at that time,” a fact that should be evident by the goofy-ass theme song playing throughout the video. “It was based on ideas for where we were going with this IP at that time,” Siller said. “It was probably too ambitious in nature and was also trying to be humorous. It was never used or even embedded in the game as a hidden ‘easter egg’ treat.”
Given the existence of animated series for The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., and Sonic the Hedgehog, it made total sense that Crash Bandicoot was being considered for his own show. However, TV wasn’t the only other arena for which Crash was being adapted. Given Universal Interactive Studios’ close proximity to the Universal Studios theme park, a themed “attraction was also discussed,” according to Siller.
These plans were scuttled on the rocky shores of reality when Naughty Dog reached a co-publishing deal with Sony that brought the anthropomorphic animal to the original PlayStation console instead. Alas and alack, the world will never know the thrills of a Crash Team Racing-style go-kart race.
The 1990s were a wild and wooly place, especially for video games. Platformers reigned supreme and every company was scrambling to create a cute, cuddly, anthropomorphic animal mascot with juuuust the right amount of attitude to appeal to the youth demographic. Spyro the Dragon, Gex, Croc, Bubsy—the list goes on and on, but few achieved the name recognition and popularity of Crash Bandicoot.
Created by Naughty Dog’s Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin for Sony Computer Entertainment, Crash Bandicoot put players in the red sneakers of its eponymous hero Crash, a resident of the Wumpa Islands who was forced to foil the nefarious Doctor Neo Cortex’s plans or die trying. (Some of those levels were pretty hard when I was younger, so there was plenty of “die trying.”)
With eighteen games associated with the franchise and more than 50 million units shipped worldwide, Crash Bandicoot is arguably one of the most successful video game franchises in history. Honestly, Crash’s disappearance is baffling given the characters’ seeming omnipresence from 1996 through the early 2000s. Yet like Smash Mouth and frosted tips before it, Crash Bandicoot, too, fell victim to the inexorable march of time. We’ll always have the PSN store and speedruns on Twitch, Crash. And this seriously godawful animated test footage. On second thought, let’s just stick with the PSN store and speedruns.
What do you think of the Crash Bandicoot test footage? What other video game do you think deserves an animated series? Let us know in the comments below.
Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and author of 100 Things Avengers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. You can find him on Twitter (@Osteoferocious).