Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Origin of Crash Bandicoot

I've planned on featuring these drawings for quite a while now in honor of the many Crash Bandicoot fans the world over that follow my blog. They were first published in 2005 on the AnimationNation Forums which I maintain to make note of the 10 year anniversary of when I started working on Crash in his days as Willy the Wombat in early 1995.

The first set of sketches are my initial concepts of the character that would become Crash. The second set is a reworking of the first based upon Naughty Dog's input and Joe Pearson's take on the character. The third set are from when I locked down his look to everyone's satisfaction. I used Photoshop in 2005 to color these images.




10 comments:

Gabriele Fiasconaro said...

I already saw those, but now I can discuss about that with you so it's a million times better XD.
Well I have to admit that I always thought that the first one was a study for the non-evolved version of Crash, you know his animal form before Cortex evolved him into an antropomorphic Bandicoot. The second one is what I call Willy the Wombat, I don't know why. And the third is the Crash Bandicoot that we all know and love of course, even if there are some differences from the in-game model, like the mouth not entirely pink or the visible belly.

Pat Caldora said...

I redognize these images from Animation Nation Charles! You posted them with the Cortex sketches and shown images of the Willy the Wombat production bible.

Charles Z said...

I figured you guys have seen these drawings from before. It's good to show them here. I'll edit this topic later to include the production bible cover Pat mentioned.

Pat Caldora said...

Are we gonna see some more upcoming old Crash sketches from production of the game and maybe some of the other characters too?

Charles Z said...

I'll show whatever I can muster up. Be patient as I'm getting around to it. There's a lot of artwork I'm going through with Crash and other projects.

Pat Caldora said...

Take you time Charles, I don't mind because I would love to see your other besides Crash too!

Also, I could see that in the first sketches of Crash that you took some inspiration from Warner Brothers' Tasmanian Devil. They both almost have that crazy look and the same body proportion too and not to mention that they have the same trademark tornado attack too! Did you take some inspiration from the character since ND was inspired by cartoons like Tex Avery for Crash's world?

Gabriele Fiasconaro said...

I see a lot of Warner Bros influence in every Crash Bandicoot character and the first three games did a great job with the caqrtoony style, with that crazy sound effects and no violence, the only one that is victim of slapstick is Crash himself and this is what make him funny, think about it everyone loves Willy coyote because he is so unlucky in everything. This is what the later games like Twinsanity make wrong, they make Cortex the focus and the funny character when he shouldn't be, he should be the villain even if he team up with Crash.

Charles Z said...

The similarities between Crash and WB's Tasmanian Devil are there because that's what Naughty Dog was looking for at the beginning. We were directed to base the character on Taz. It was a point of contention between me and ND during contract negotiations for Willy/Crash especially since we were in creative communication with them prior to signing the deal. The language of the contract required us to indemnify ND and Universal Interactive for copyright infringement. In other words, they wanted us to bear the legal responsibility if they were sued, which I thought was ridiculous. They wanted Taz and at the same time expected me and Joe Pearson to cover them in case there was a legal issue over similarities with other characters. We worked out the language and warranted that everything they'd be getting from us would be original which is the only way I work. I pushed for originality with Willy/Crash as much as I could within the parameters of the direction I was getting from ND. I feel that was among my biggest contributions to Crash. To get him away from Taz as much as possible in look and behavior while being heavily directed by ND.

This is all very early in the history of Crash that almost nobody knows about. It's never been disclosed until now.

Pat Caldora said...

Nice piece of history Charles! I guess you and Joe had to stay on the safe side in order not to get sued by WB.

I could tell that in the second image of Willy that the tail and the tuft of hair wasn't going to cut it since the PlayStation had technical limitations and it would've flickered on the television.

Charles Z said...

You're right about the technical limitations of the original PS Pat. Keep in mind we were developing at a time when this was cutting edge technology that was on the horizon.

Joe and I were never worried about being sued by WB or anybody. Speaking for myself and for Joe we were always confident we could deliver something unique and original. The problem we faced was the language of the first draft of the contract. IF ND was sued for the decisions they made we would be dragged into it in a way that would obligate us to cover their legal expenses. This was ridiculous and it was quickly taken care of. Crash came from two directions. Taz and a personal project that was in my portfolio that creatively influenced the principals of ND when they saw it.

As I mentioned earlier my goal was to make it as unique as possible. I think we did a good job all things considered.