In an alternate world, we might’ve never dreamed a bandicoot could’ve ever been so globally beloved. We would’ve been sitting down to play the original title developer Naughty Dog had in mind: Willy The Wombat. Our romp Down Under, inspired by Looney Toons’ slavering Tasmanian Devil, would’ve had us rampaging through crates and apples as a faster, more combat-ready wombat (arguably, still not the Bruce Lee of the animal kingdom). That is until the creators spotted a smaller, potentially less hostile bandicoot, leafing through a wildlife guide, and fell in love.
Of course, there aren’t many gamers in the modern world who haven’t done the Indiana Jones routine, fleeing from rolling boulders as the eponymous bandicoot. We all know the thrill of chowing down on hard-to-reach Wumpa Fruits and catching an Aku Aku mask to that wonderful gibberish – “Rutabaga”.
Big World, Little Bandicoot
Despite being disliked by then head of PlayStation, Ken Kutaragi, it’s safe to say Crash has spun into his own and become something of a mascot for the console. He is also a pioneer of sorts as the lead in the first ever third-person game, which placed us behind the character.
It’s safe to say Crash was an unlikely hero for a video game – an Australian marsupial in sunglasses sounds like Instagram gold, but carrying an entire franchise on his furred shoulders..? Surely, the whimsical charm would wear off quickly? Then again, you could say the same for a pineapple-dwelling sea sponge in trousers. Yet here we are – fresh from another colourful outing in Crash Bandicoot 4: About Time.
You might think our time wielding furry Aussie wildlife is coming to an end. Naughty Dog are now better-known for giving us doses of gritty realism in The Last of Us I/II. Well, the publisher just teased the reveal of another Crash adventure with a themed pizza box from ‘Aku Aku’s Steam-In Pizza Shack’. YouTuber unboxing videos revealed a less than subtle message to signal Crash 4’s October 18 arrival on the Steam platform. What’s really gotten us interested though is another message, which read: “Hungry for more? Try our new Wumpa Pizza for $12.08!”
Get Ready To Snatch Some Wumpas!
Now, that might sound innocuous enough. Wumpa Pizza. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Only that The Game Awards will be airing December 8 (12.08). So, chances are the annual show will bring us another title, headed by everyone’s favourite bandicoot. Remember that Crash titles have often featured in previous Game Awards and rumours are already spinning that this will be a party game: Wumpa League. In fact, with less than two months to go, we’ve seen new teases popping up across the internet – Activision have even stepped into the rumour mill as well.
We can only guess at what this cryptic pizza box really promises – we can assume it will involve Aku Aku and Crash Bandicoot himself. If it is Wumpa League, expect a competitive multiplayer in open 3D environments, replete with scattered fruits to snatch and a host of familiar (and new) characters. The proposed add-on to Crash 4 had 16 planned characters – all kinds of cartoonish critters – from hamsters to squid. And what more could you want?
Whatever this latest incarnation of Crash Bandicoot turns out to be, it’s safe to say you’ll be hearing all about it come December – “Rutabaga!