Crash and Spyro: what will happen to the series after the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Xbox?

Crash and Spyro: what will happen to the series after the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Xbox?

Crash and Spyro

Although the future process is quite long, the first stone of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been laid. A stone that weighs almost 70 billion dollars and that carries a deep furrow of consequences behind it, some capable of overturning established realities in the industry. Among the many, the fate of two minor sagas in the Activision heritage comes to the attention of the players: Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. The Australian marsupial and the purple dragon have also become part of the Xbox family, and there would be nothing strange if it weren't for the fact that we are talking about two iconic characters of the golden age of PlayStation in the 90s. There is no one in his thirties today who hasn't played at least one of the many Crash or Spyro games on his first PlayStation, and to think that in a few months these series will fly the Xbox green flag is, if nothing else, a bit unsettling.

In this special we will explore the repercussions of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard and how it will affect Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon.

From PlayStation to Xbox: how to do it arrives?

Crash and Spyro are icons of the 90s That some players are a bit confused about the situation is more than legitimate, also because the transition from PlayStation to Xbox was not sudden: we are talking about a process that lasted about twenty years, which finally ferried Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon from one side of the chessboard to the other.

Crash and Spyro have had several common denominators since their beginnings. The first chapters of Crash and Spyro were developed respectively by Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games, now spearheads of PlayStation Studios, thus sharing a not indifferent birth pedigree; are series that have depopulated in the 90s, and both were born on PlayStation without ever having been really owned by Sony. In fact, Universal Interactive Studios has always owned the brand of the two IPs, and it is from this company that Crash and Spyro have begun to "travel" from hand to hand.

The first years of both sagas passed peacefully: the first three chapters of Spyro were developed by Insomniac, and the first three of Crash by Naughty Dog, which then continued with a racing spin-off, Crash Team Racing. Crash Bash was the first Crash to no longer be developed by Naughty Dog, passing through the hands of Eurocom. Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly instead is the first chapter of the series dedicated to the purple dragon not developed by Insomniac and marks the generational transition from PlayStation to Playstation 2.

Looking at the timeline of events, it is quite evident how the handover in game development coincided precisely with the generational change of PlayStation and the most experienced players know well how crucial the generation handover is for the development of a game. In addition, although there are few testimonies of the time, it is reasonable to think that the relationship between the development teams and Universal over time had cracked. According to Jason Rubin's words reported by Games Radar in March 2021, the co-founder of Naughty Dog said: "Our relationship with Universal had gotten to the point where we couldn't keep making Crash Bandicoot games. Even though we loved Crash. Bandicoot and we loved working with Sony, it didn't make any financial sense. Universal owned the IP and there was a hostility that I would call quite brutal. "

In 2000 Universal Interactive merges with the giant Vivendi, which in turn in 2007, announced yet another merger, this time with Activision Blizzard: the announcement was made in December 2007 and ended July 2008 with an agreement worth 9.8 billion dollars. In this way the intellectual properties of Crash and Spyro passed from Universal to Vivendi and from Vivendi to Activision Blizzard.

Numerous sequels of both Crash and Spyro are produced until 2009, with interesting and experimental titles alternating with others that are not really successful. The reset comes in 2017 with the release of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and a few years later the Reignited Trilogy by Spyro, despite the fact that the purple dragon had long since become the leader of the Skylanders, a spin-off mainly indicated to the public of tender age and developed by Toys for Bob itself, the software house behind the Reignited Trilogy.

Why Crash and Spyro struggle to function

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, developed by Beenox Despite the work done in recent years from Vicarious Vision, Beenox and Toys for Bob with the Crash and Spyro series, full of talent, respect and intelligence, the reflections that these two sagas raise are different. Crash and Spyro depopulated in the 90s, true, yet after a few sequels they were stale and out of time in many respects. After the abandonment of Naughty Dog and Insomniac, it didn't take long before the two software houses dedicated themselves to something else; after all, after every great love story you try to go on and live an even greater one. And these stories go by the name of Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank, two titles that at the time showed that 3D platformers still had a lot to say, but with a clearly fresh and new language. On the contrary, Universal passed Crash and Spyro into the hands of countless developers, probably convinced that the name was enough to move buyers. Philosophy turned out to be partly successful when the respective trilogies arrived which, however, also in this case, relied on the name, but above all on the nostalgia effect. Thesis further endorsed by the soon forgotten Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, curated and in some ways extremely interesting from a conceptual point of view, given that we could take it for example as one of the most shining examples of historical forgery in the world of video games, but very quickly ended up in oblivion.

Opening screenshot of the first Crash Bandicoot It comes naturally to wonder why in all this time, Sony has never taken the big shot by bringing Crash and Spyro back into their sphere of influence, especially knowing how many longtime players believe these two characters real PlayStation mascots. It must be said that there was a period in which such a move was thought: in 2013 the release of a trailer for PlayStation 4 sparked the hopes of gamers, confident that a negotiation for the acquisition of the Crash rights was underway between Activision and Sony. A hope so insistent, enough to push Adam Boyes, vice president of Third Party Relations & Developer Technology Group at PlayStation, to respond to the allegations with the following tweet: "Activision holds the IP, you should ask them ..."

At the time of Crash, it was considered too Western by PlayStation standards. A divestiture that we know never happened and, we would like to say, perhaps due to karmic causes. Because it is no secret that Naughty Dog in the 90s longed for a scenario in which his Crash would become as recognizable and iconic for PlayStation as Mario was for Nintendo, a true breed mascot. With hindsight, both Naughty Dog and Insomniac have seen this fulfilled, with Joel and Ellie now frontman and frontgirl of Playstation and Ratchet and Clank in great shape and representatives of Sony's 2021. Yet, at the time, Spyro was considered ugly as a character and Crash was too Western to be welcomed among the PlayStation mascots, at the time still strongly pro-Japanese.

Also think Crash and Spyro in the hands of Activision (but this is a pindaric flight that we allow ourselves in the stream of consciousness, NDR), it was knowing them all in all safe. When the N.Sane Trilogy came out, Sony did not fail to win the exclusive one-year timeline for the PlayStation 4; a move indicating sufficient interest towards the IP but not so much to be discovered with an acquisition of the registered trademark. After all, who would ever have the courage to acquire Activision ...?

Why Crash and Spyro could work

Xbox Game Studios is full of teams that could revive the fortunes of Crash and Spyro As mentioned, putting two franchises back on their feet with Crash and Spyro is really complex: on the one hand there is the weight of the name, important but, as mentioned, not so overwhelming as to be valid only for sales. On the other hand, the heaviness given by the old age of the structure of the games, linked to a design that is now too dated even for nostalgics. And this, in our opinion, is the key to solving the problem, or rather: avoiding giving in to nostalgia is the first step to revive the two franchises.

With the acquisition, Microsoft not only brings home the rights of Crash and Spyro, but also the teams that worked on the latest projects. Toys for Bob in particular, has in its quiver a big arrow to shoot, that is the experience gained with Skylanders, which for several years has attracted the attention of many children. Crash and Spyro, are probably destined to be timeless idols of the little ones and this could be the right path to take. Not to mention that the Microsoft family already counts Rare and Double Fine, two heavyweights in terms of 3D platformers.

Psychonauts 2 is proof that Microsoft believes in quality 3D platformers Despite Rare being deprived of some key figures now in Playtonic Games (developers of Yooka-Laylee, spiritual heir of Banjo-Kazooie), we are still talking about a team of great experience and that alongside Toys for Bob could do great things. If you wanted to add a splash of style to the formula then, Double Fine has plenty of it to dispense, and the excellent Psychonauts 2 is what the Tim Schafer house has to offer most eloquently in conversation. Do we really want to exaggerate because we like to dream? A technical consultation, a coaching, from a certain Mojang would still remain a favor asked of those who belong to the family, is it so unthinkable? Futuristic scenarios aside, there is no doubt that Microsoft in its Xbox Game Studios possesses a series of realities with a high synergistic value and capable of reviving the Crash and Spyro sagas, returning to the little players two mascots that for us grown-ups have made the difference.

Looking at the PlayStation stable, the only ones able to take up the challenge, in our opinion, would have been the British Media Molecule and the Japanese Asobi: although Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was a great game, Insomniac is grown up and probably Spyro, or Crash, can't be their past and future at the same time. As mentioned, the great love stories end, the only thing we can do is look to the future and, if we have really loved, wish all the best to our loved ones.

Welcome to Xbox Crash and Spyro, and good luck!

Have you noticed any errors?

Powered by Blogger.