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The Reason Tawna Was Removed From Crash Bandicoot

Loyal fans of the Crash Bandicoot series may remember a character who only had a brief appearance in the life of the game's franchise. Crash's girlfriend Tawna was first introduced to players in the first game, playing the role of a Princess Peach type character who motivates our hero into action as a damsel in distress. Though she wasn't exactly the most dimensional of characters, she did serve an important purpose to Crash. At the end of the first game, after defeating Cortex, Crash is reunited with Tawna. The happy bandicoot couple then fly away together on a blimp into the sunset. 


This would seem like the perfect preface to the second game in the franchise, setting the two up for another whirlwind romance. Or, at the very least, a good jumping off point for another kidnap and rescue mission. If Mario could get away with the damsel in distress plot for so many years, surely Crash Bandicoot could as well.

But fans quickly noticed that Tawna was oddly absent from the second game. With no reference to her character at all, her disappearance became an unanswered question for years. The truth behind her exclusion from most of the games, however, actually had more to do with politics than with any pre-made plot device.

Tawna's original character design by Naughty Dog was something similar to Jessica Rabbit. With exaggerated womanly features and skimpy clothing, the developer wanted to emphasize the disparity between Crash and Tawna's looks as a comedic juxtaposition. Universal Interactive Studios, on the other hand, felt that the character design was far too adult for a family-friendly game. This led to a redesign of the character that didn't exactly mesh with the artist's original idea for Tawna. Because of this disagreement, Naughty Dog decided to completely exclude her from further games and instead created Coco, a little sister character, to be Crash's family-friendly companion. 


While Coco endures as a fan favorite, it would have been interesting to see how the games would have developed if Tawna had retained her place as the main female protagonist to our goofy bandicoot hero.