Sunday, May 05, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of N Tropy - Part 2

Here's a couple more early concept sketches of Nefarious Tropy from the development of Crash 3. I'm not exactly sure as to the sequence of the drawings so I'm breaking down the presentation in terms of how the character evolved design wise. Early on I gave him a device that would allow him to travel in time. Something that he would wear. My first idea was to give him a belt like contraption with a readout as to the year he intended to travel to. The drawings are dated January 22 1998.


Gabriele Fiasconaro said...

It's awesome! He started not so close to the actual design but the basics are all there. Charles who came up with the idea of N. Tropy and his powers?

Charles Z said...

I don't know. I was working in the big corner conference room at the tower at Universal where ND had their studio at the time. Usually Jason or Bob or both would meet with me and discuss what they were looking for with the characters they had in mind. Sometimes Mark Cerny would stop by to check in.

I worked away from the rest of the crew but I'd interact with them too now and then when I'd walk around or take a break.

Pat Caldora said...

Once again, nice designs Charles! The first retains some of the designs used in the final model!

Charles, when ND were called to do Crash 2 and Crash 3, how were you approached? Did you started right then and there? Did ND tried to apologize to Joe P. for misinterpreting news for Crash 1?

Also, with the success of the games, where you ever invited to the launch parties they had when their games were successful?

Charles Z said...

When time came for another Crash game I'd get a call from Jason and I'd come in and discuss the next project with them. I'd return when they needed me and I'd work for a few sessions until they had what they were looking for. It was fun working with them.

The only event I was invited to through ND that I can clearly recall was for the E3 convention when it took place in Atlanta. I think it was 1998 or maybe 1999. Not sure which year but it was around that time. They covered my flight and hotel. Mark Cerny coordinated it. It was good of them to do that but I was pretty much isolated. I didn't hook up with them besides saying hello and letting them know I was there. I was on my own so I spent my time walking around Atlanta and meeting people on the street.

In 2003 Vicarious Visions flew me to Albany, New York for the launch party for CNK. That was a different story. Hung out with VV all the time and throroughly enjoyed myself. Accommodations were excellent. I was treated very well.

Never had a discussion with Jason or anyone else at ND about Joe P after my initial phone call to them in 1996 voicing my extreme displeasure at how they handled the press during the debut of Crash 1. I let it go until they pulled the same thing on me with J&D and that was the end of it all.

ND cultivated an image of cool snowboarding guys who were making video games and hitting the slopes. If you were older than them you didn't fit the image. Joe and myself were mature adults and beyond the adolescent hype so we were not usually involved in what ND would do socially or otherwise. David Siller was older too and didn't fit into what they wanted to project.

Gabriele Fiasconaro said...

It seems like Vicarious Vision really wanted to do something good and that recall's of the good old days, the game could come out a little better however, but it's still fun to play.
I remember an interview made but Pat with Joe about his experience with Crash, he said that ND tried to apologie to him.
Ehi Charles I have a tough question: If the old ND team, the one you worked with, is in charge of the new Crash game and they ask you to do the concept art again would you join them?

Matt said...

"Pulled the same thing on me"

Any chance we could see that story in it's full depth? Sounds like you guys fell out!

Charles Z said...

To Gabriele - ND's excuse for the false misrepresentation in the press about our involvement with the development of Crash was that the reported decided to leave out info and change the article. They blamed it on the reporter which of course was ridiculous. Joe's decision not to work with them after they offered an apology was his choice. In retrospect he would have done it differently and stayed involved with Crash. He did however return with Crash Nitro Kart.

To Matt - Yes, there was a falling out after Jak and Daxter. I've described what happened in detail a few months ago in comments on one of the entries on my blog. I'm pretty sure it was picked up by Crash media and republished. I'd rather not go over it again. Maybe someone here can direct you to what I related about the situation.

Pat Caldora said...

Don't worry Charles, I'll take it from here.

To Matt, ND contacted Charles (circa 2000) to help them with their next big game (which of course, was Jak & Daxter which was codenamed Project Y at the time). By this time, Sony fully purchased ND for their success with the Crash franchise which Universal has full ownership of as of today.

For about year and a half, Charles worked on creating the universe for J&D, including characters, environments, etc... Charles by this time was the highest paid game designer of the industry.

When development was done, Cgarles received no credit whatsoever (in the credits, he's under Additional Character Designer), especially on Daxter. When Daxter was awarded Best Character of 2001 at the GDC, the accolade was credited to Bob Rafei (who worked very close with Charles on the game). It was this that Charles called quits on ND's immature shenagains and went to do other things like developing CNK with Joe.

Hope that helped!

Anonymous said...

Hello Charles!

I always wondered that, how did ND invent Tropy's name. I mean, N. Tropy's name is pun of "entropy", but I really wonder [and probably laugh], did ND just invent name, because it's pun of "entropy" [they knew something about time already] or did they even study physics and time to know, what's "entropy". Sorry about my bad explaining. Not good at English. I still hope, you understood.

Oh, forgot to say, those pictures are pretty nice!

- RL

Charles Z said...

RL - Naughty Dog came up with the name. They had it when I started work on the character. It was a play on words consistent with N Cortex or N Gin etc.

"Entropy" is defined as...

1. Physics - a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.

2. Lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.

In ways it's a word befitting his name.

Mysteria said...

Hello Charles!

Just having small question...
I'm making a Finnish Crash Bandicoot-wiki and I would like to use few of your designs and works in my wiki to show them for my Finnish buddies etc. It would be really nice, if I would use these. Don't worry, I can credit you in my wiki, if you want.

So.. can I use your designs in my wiki?

Charles Z said...

Hi Mysteria. Feel free to use the designs. Please include the copyright notice and also if you would kindly link back to the original blog post when you can. Thanks for asking and good luck with your Crash-wiki. Post a link when you're ready so we can see how it looks when you're done.