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Playstation's Crash Bandicoot Found Inspiration From This Iconic Super Nintendo Franchise

It's been a long time since the dawn of the "Crash Bandicoot" franchise, but as one of PlayStation's most historically successful characters, he's not getting left behind any time soon. On the original PlayStation, there were three "Crash Bandicoot" games, and each one was a massive success for the chart-topping console. Funnily enough, though, the PlayStation icon "Crash Bandicoot" might not exist — at least not as he is known today — if it wasn't for Nintendo.

Companies taking inspiration from each others' successful products is nothing new; the team at Naughty Dog wanted to emulate the successes of other companies by making Crash a PlayStation icon like Sonic was for Sega or Mario for Nintendo. Though the main protagonist's personality and design were important factors, gamers would also remember the "Crash Bandicoot" series for its unique 3D platforming gameplay. According to a 2012 interview with Crash Bandicoot's creator and Naughty Dog founder Andy Gavin, this gameplay loop was directly inspired by the "Donkey Kong Country" games — which itself almost looked a lot different. Still, "Donkey Kong Country" wasn't the only series that influenced "Crash Bandicoot."

Crash Bandicoot platforming took a page from Donkey Kong Country, but in 3D

There were a handful of inspirations behind Crash Bandicoot's final gameplay design, but "Donkey Kong Country" proved the most notable. Even with their flaws and campy moments – like the horrible DK Rap – developers are still inspired by "Donkey Kong" games. The team at Naughty Dog specifically aimed to create gameplay that emulated elements of the "Donkey Kong Country" style but in 3D. 

As outlined in the interview, Andy Gavin and fellow "Crash Bandicoot" co-creator Jason Rubin initially called it the "Sonic's A**" game. "And it was born from the question: what would a 3D platformer be like? Well, we thought, you'd spend a lot of time looking at 'Sonic's A**.'" Gavin noted it was challenging to get players to identify with a character only seen from behind, but he was determined to make it work.

According to the interview, Gavin and Rubin saw that Sony didn't have a mascot character for the PlayStation and aimed to fit Crash neatly into that open niche. "Essentially, we planned for Crash to become exactly what it did — but the fact that we were successful still stuns me," Gavin said.

Despite initial worries, the rear-view 3D platforming was a hit among players. Though based on a series housing a game few people have beaten, the blend of inspirations worked. But that's only one factor for Crash's success, as the titular character took inspiration from "Sonic" games.

Crash's design was inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog and a field guide to Tasmanian Mammals

Though "Crash Bandicoot" was initially called the "Sonic's A**" game by Naughty Dog, the blue blur's behind wasn't the only thing on developers' minds. Naughty Dog considered how Sega turned the small, slow, utterly harmless hedgehog into one of gaming's most iconic characters and wanted to replicate Sonic's success.

"We wanted to ... find some kind of animal that was cute, real, and no one really knew about," Gavin said. "We bought a copy of 'Tasmanian Mammals – A Field Guide' and flipped through." Gavin said they originally considered the wombat and potoroo, as well as the bandicoot, as potential animals on which Crash could be based. But ultimately, they chose the bandicoot because they liked how the word sounded.

But Naughty Dog went for a very different personality than Sonic, and the result is the goofy Crash fans know and love. Sonic is a talker and can sometimes be a bit cocky. On the other hand, Crash would not talk, and he wore the game's zaniness on his sleeve.

So while the gameplay of the "Crash Bandicoot" games was directly influenced by the "Donkey Kong Country" series, Crash's personality, appearance, and overall brand are based on the success of "Sonic the Hedgehog." And even though Andy Gavin left Naughty Dog in 2004, these inspirations and design philosophies are still reflected in the character today.