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How Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled’s PS4 exclusive retro items were created

Beenox details the extra goodies awaiting PS4 players in the revamped racer

Nostalgia helps us re-live some of the happiest moments of our lives. Playing Crash Team Racing in 1999 was that perfect place filled with happy thoughts for me. So when we started discussing the idea of developing bonus items for PlayStation players of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, the nostalgia factor immediately kicked in. A few ideas were shared, but none stuck as much as the idea of re-creating retro items for the game.

Going old school

And here we are! Revealing the retro skins and karts for Crash, Coco, and Cortex. It is one thing to upscale the graphical fidelity of characters from Crash Team Racing but it is another to proactively downscale their polygon count and texture resolution to recreate the visual constraints of the late ’90s.

Gone are the fur shader and the 1024 x 1024 textures. Instead, they are purposely replaced by a faceted visual treatment with no smoothing groups and 64×64 textures. Some going as low as 32×32 pixels! Can you imagine? We’ve come a long way since 1999!

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Retro characters

In order to craft the retro skins, we gathered references from the original Crash Bandicoot Trilogy and the original CTR to define the level of details we wanted to achieve. We decided to lean into the models in the original CTR’s character selection screen since they provided a little more personality than the racing models, and we felt they would translate well to the modern day version of the game.

Once each reference sheet was created, the artists jumped right in and worked their old school magic to create the retro models. Then, once the models were finalized, we validated they would react appropriately with their updated animation rig from their next-gen counterpart. A big priority was making sure they retained their charm from back in the day.

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Authenticity

We hope PS4 fans will appreciate going back in time with the bonus skins and karts. And, as also announced today, we will be providing PS4 players with a retro track in the game as well, to really drive nostalgia into high gear! We can’t wait to show that off for fans soon.

I’ve talked about our approach to the retro content, but really, the same thing can be said about gameplay. Although we’ve modernised the experience quite a bit by introducing a brand-new level of visual fidelity in world building and character animation in CTR Nitro-Fueled, we’ve approached this remaster with an old school mentality. We spent a great deal of time polishing the racing experience for the nostalgic fans. To all the Crash Team Racing fans out there, I hope you will agree.
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7 Comments
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I’m sad that this post doesn’t say anything more about CNK content too!

Also, the PS One game got no shading, only gradients, so the above looks more “retro” that it should, sadly…

MiseryPrincess 26 March, 2019 @ 02:37
1.1

That’s the same problem I had with the RE2 “retro” models. They don’t really remotely visually look like PS1 things at all.

The PS1 did have (and use) gouraud shading too.

In fact on PS1 in Crash and Spyro, there were using “gouraud shading” + different colors on vertex edges with no real bitmaps in advantage to imitate textures, and it was looking so great and smooth! That was a clever solution, as lot of objects don’t have textures at all, but were looking better than those textured :D Even if some characters were just different kinds of blobs :P

I’m keen to get the Nitrous Oxide edition but feel like there’s no enough extras to warrant the purchase. I may change my mind but there’ll need to be more than a few skins and extra character as extras. Needless to say the game looks fantastic and am looking forward to reliving old memories!

Nitro Kart tracks will be in “base” game or only in “nitro cart” or when you pay for DLC? If it’s first option, then indeed it’s too expensive, but if Nitro Kart tracks are only in the NOEdition, then it’s definitely worth this money!

xscapeguy2007 27 March, 2019 @ 08:39
3

Thomas, one thing i think your missing here is having a PSVR add on or version of this game. Nintendo dont have Mario Kart in VR YET but if you had a version for Crash racing this would be amazing. Plus if you look at state of play its showing so much support for VR and given the user base now and attach rate for games i think its something you should be doing or if not looking into.

MiseryPrincess 27 March, 2019 @ 20:53
3.1

The attach rate for VR is actually quite low. By the advertised numbers alone the rate of games per headset is around 5-6, about half the normal PS4s.

But anyway, you’re basically asking a money hungry company like Activision to do extra development for a small niche for free. Big publishers are only interested in big profits, something that just doesn’t really happen in small specialist markets. Which is probably why basically all of them have pulled out of VR entirely (Capcom/Bandai/Square/etc./etc.).

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