During an interview looking back at the making of Jak and Daxter series, developer Naughty Dog has revealed that it couldn’t continue making Crash Bandicoot games beyond Crash Team Racing because its relationship with then IP owner, Universal Interactive, had turned sour.
Speaking to GamesRadar, co-founder Jason Rubin revealed that having realized they could no longer work with Universal, several Naughty Dog developers quietly began working on a new game engine, which went on to form the foundation of Jak and Daxter.
“Our relationship with Universal had gotten to the point where we couldn’t continue to make Crash Bandicoot games,” said Rubin. “Although we loved Crash Bandicoot and we loved working with Sony, it didn’t make any financial sense. Universal owned the IP, and there was a hostility there that was just brutal.”
Naughty Dog’s relationship with Sony goes way back. The interview reveals that in 1999, the studio brought home the first ever PlayStation 2 dev kit to enter the United States. Apparently, co-founder Andy Gavin asked his team of QA testers if they wanted a “48 hour, all-expenses-paid trip to Japan with plenty of jetlag, and at least one good meal,” the result of which was the studio getting its hands on “the next-generation PlayStation it had been eagerly anticipating for years.”
Crash Bandicoot was originally produced by Universal Interactive, which later became Vivendi Games. Following a merger in 2007, Activision owns the IP. Naughty Dog developed the series between 1996 and 1999. Recent releases were developed by Vicarious Visions and Toys for Bob.