Crash Bandicoot generally doesn’t get the same kind of love as classic gaming mascots like Mario and Sonic in gaming’s nostalgia-obsessed zeitgeist. So the success of the recent Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy re-release is taking even publisher Activision by surprise, and it has the company thinking about reviving other classic properties.
N.Sane Trilogy was the top-selling game globally for the month of June, Activision said during a recent conference call, despite being only available on one console for two days of the month. The game was also the most downloaded title on PSN for July, according to Sony, results that “outperform[ed] even our most optimistic expectations” as Activision put it. That success is even leading to what’s probably the first ever example of some popular Crash Bandicoot-themed memes.
“We knew that there was a passionate audience out there for Crash—full disclosure, myself among them—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 that’s a real mass audience until you put something out there. Crash has surpassed all of our expectations by a pretty wide margin.”
Hirshberg went on to point out that the re-release strategy isn’t exactly new, citing other recent and upcoming re-releases like 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 there will be more activity like this in the future with more great IP,” he said.
“We’ve lined up additional releases of that kind of beloved fan-favorite content going forward,” another Activision executive added on the call. “There’s a beloved IP out there that our community would love to engage 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 property’s more recent relevance through the Skylanders spin-off series. Activision also has some well-loved retro Spider-Man games that would probably go well alongside their upcoming movie-based title. We also wouldn’t mind seeing Tony Hawk make a comeback in a more polished way than the underwhelming Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD.
The unexpected level of 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 follow-up for later this year. While nostalgia has always been a potent force in the world of video games, these latest blockbusters show that there’s plenty of room left for publishers to exploit their past catalogs for present profits. Up next, we turn our eyes to the upcoming and hotly anticipated Sonic Mania to see if the trend can continue.