Crash Remaster Trilogy DLC Adds An Unreleased Secret Level, Free For A Limited Time
Stormy Ascent arrives today for free.
A super-hard level that was cut from the original Crash Bandicoot is finally set to make it into players' hands today, more than 20 years after the game's release. Everyone will finally have the opportunity to die countless times on the level, Stormy Ascent, as Vicarious Visions has announced a DLC pack that adds it to Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.
This was announced today to coincide with a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, where team members from Vicarious Visions (developer of N. Sane Trilogy) and Naughty Dog (creator of the Crash series) are sharing stories about developing Crash. Stormy Ascent is a level that shipped on the original Crash Bandicoot PS1 disc but was not accessible without the use of a GameShark or--later on--an emulator.
According to N. Sane Trilogy director Dan Tanguay, who spoke with GameSpot ahead of the announcement, Stormy Ascent was cut because "it was just so darn hard."
"We got a hold of it, and the team really wanted to give that to the fans, because there's a number of fans who have gotten to play it, but a number of fans haven't," he says. "It's one of these bonus content areas that the team said, 'Hey, we've got the time to do this,' and sat down and made it, and finished the level out."
Stormy Ascent is available now on the PlayStation Store. It will be free during its first month of availability, and after that, players will be able to purchase it for $3.
Tanguay says that, while players have accessed the original Stormy Ascent through various means, "It was an incomplete level, so no one actually, technically finished it." The notoriously difficult level initially took one of Vicarious' best players around 60 lives to get through the stage successfully, describing it as the "ultimate challenge."
"That's why we really want to get it out there," Tanguay explains. "I think when all is said and done, the folks who have beaten all three games, earned all the Trophies, this is going to be a true test of their mettle."
Like the rest of the Trilogy, Stormy Ascent had to be built largely from scratch. However, as with the three main games, Vicarious had access to the original level geometry, which Tanguay says is "one of the best pieces of data to work with … with that core piece in place, we were able to deliver on it." The development process was similar to that of the Trilogy itself, but the sheer difficulty of the level was how hard it is.
"The key challenge, honestly, is just the difficulty of [Stormy Ascent]," he explains. "I think the thing that is most challenging about it is the timing of the hazards, getting everything just as it was in the original; it took a lot of time. It wasn't necessarily a technical challenge--it was more of a human challenge."
Difficulty in N. Sane Trilogy has been a source of criticism from some players, with Vicarious actually acknowledging recently that the remaster may actually be more difficult than the original games. Asked if the studio considered tweaking Stormy Ascent in light of that, Tanguay says it opted to keep the level faithful.
"[With] this particular level, we decided to really just capture the original spirit. We are releasing it as a fairly difficult piece of content," he explains. "And that's why we wanted to keep it somewhat separate from the original release, so it was very clear this was something that is going to be challenging. That said, certainly any of the other types of quality-of-life improvements that we made to the original games carry over to this as well. So any of the improvements we made to enemies, to user interface, adding analog control, those things are all present as well."
New Trophies are available with Stormy Ascent, but Platinum hunters can rest easy that these new ones aren't required to unlock Crash Bandicoot's Platinum Trophy. The only meaningful addition in terms of content is that of a bonus stage, which was missing from the original.
In addition to the new level, Vicarious also today announced that the original design document for the first game will be released by Dark Horse Comics. The 150-page book is coming next March and carries the hilarious long title The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania.
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