A big part of what made Naughty Dog who they are today is Crash Bandicoot. The 3D platforming series helped give Sony an unofficial mascot to compete against Nintendo with Mario and Sega with Sonic, as well as establish a new way to engage in challenging platforming back on the 32-bit console. Well, despite all the success that cartoony and spirited depiction of characters like Crash helped bring Naughty Dog, they won't be returning to the series anytime soon.
Power Up Gaming spotted some quotes made by lead animator Josh Scherr in an interview with Game Informer, where he answered the obvious question of whether or not Naughty Dog would be returning to games like Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. Scherr stated that...
No, I don't, because we've got an amazing team of people making some really expressive performances with our current stable of realistic characters. I mean, animating the stylised stuff is a lot of fun, but the stories that we're trying to tell right now are a little bit more grounded and a little bit more grown up than they were back in the Jak and Daxter days.
In a way, this was already kind of covered in the 30th anniversary video for Naughty Dog.
We basically see that Naughty Dog is growing up and maturing into a different kind of storyteller, just as Scherr notes. They're aiming for more grounded adventures without all the colorful, stylized characters and animations that gave Naughty Dog the jump-start early in the studio's lifespan.
Telling more mature stories and abandoning the sort of overzealous animations and caricatures that made up for Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter are no longer on the table for Sony's first-party outlet.
According to Scherr...
I think that's part of it. I think that it's also dictated by what the market wants, too. You know, that was a lot of what our decision was bounded by and based on when moving from Jak and Daxter to something more like Uncharted. And it's also what we're interested in, too.
It's kind of unfortunate given that I think games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity kind of prove that the colorful, animated adventures aimed at younger audiences still carries strong market value. Games like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8 also lend credence to the desire from some sections of the gaming community for lighthearted romps in beautiful, bright worlds.
However, it's hard to argue with Naughty Dog's recent string of success following Uncharted 2, where they've had nothing but award-winner after award-winner, including their latest outing The Last of Us.
It's not unsurprising that Naughty Dog would prefer maintaining the trend that currently sees them making both money and critical headway in the interactive entertainment marketplace.
The company currently has Uncharted 4 on their plate and that game is scheduled to release later this year, exclusively for the PS4. The game continues to follow in the trend of a grounded story experiences, but Scherr at least admits that there are a elements that get kind of “crazy”. So maybe not all hope is lost to when it comes to getting a little bit of the old Naughty Dog back?