I picked up the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy on kind of a whim, with some small trace of fleeting nostalgia coursing through my brain and piquing my curiosity. I can’t tell if I hate it or not; it’s fun and cute, but those busted physics are needlessly frustrating when they kick in. That said, I underestimated the power of Crash Bandicoot as it resonates with other people, as this game has sold like few other retail games have sold so far this year. The N. Sane Trilogy is selling like a scarce Nintendo product, catching even the people who made (Vicarious Visions) and published (Activision) the game off guard.
So what next?
In a recent earnings report-slash conference call with investors, Activision expressed intent to pursue further remasters. Of course, they also said they think they’re technically not new to remasters, citing recent works such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. That’s true in a way, but that game isn’t a remaster in the same way Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is. But Activision is sitting on some older IP, especially one in particular that will probably get a similar treatment, and probably sell just as well.
Yes, I’m obviously talking about Spyro. While originally developed by a different company, Spyro rose to notoriety and had a release pattern very similar to Crash. Three core games were released, all loved by kids at the time, and eventually things went south very quickly. But in 2017, it feels like Spyro has a similar fanbase asking for more, and quite possibly literally the exact same fanbase. Those games are still loved to this day, and although Spyro technically came back a long time ago in Skylanders, he was never really considered “back” in the same way Crash is right now.
Of course, Skylanders would eventually become its own thing far removed from Spyro, and now that series has fallen out of audience favor as well. Activison is getting ready to release a new mobile RPG, but after the 2017 console game under-delivered, the IP seems to have been shelved for now. This feels like a good opportunity to take advantage of the Crash Bandicoot hype and remove Spyro from the Skylanders brand for a bit, at least long enough for a similar remastered trilogy project.
What else could come out besides Skylanders? I think it’s not going to be a shock to see the rest of the Modern Warfare trilogy to come out in remastered form, especially now that the first one has finally been divorced from Infinite Warfare. Modern Warfare 2 especially feels inevitable, since that one is far and above the most popular and acclaimed of the set. The older games could also end up making a “sure, why not” appearance, especially something like a World at War, to ensure the whole storyline ends up available this generation.
Other than those two, there aren’t a ton of major IP Activision still has sitting around. An argument could be made for Tony Hawk, although that brand is currently in need of some hibernation thanks to some consecutive bad releases. Tony Hawk HD was a sort of attempt, but one that probably didn’t have the resources it needed. Much of Activision’s fare last-gen was licensed content as well, and I don’t expect to see something like a Spider-Man collection any time soon. However, one-off games like Singularity could be good fodder for re-releasing, but their more cult-like status would make them a hard sell.
Ultimately, it’s tough to look at what’s going on with Activision and remasters right now and think about anything other than Spyro. Spyro is probably the obvious answer, the golden ticket to replicating or at least coming close to the unexpected numbers of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. What do you think?