Jason Rubin has said when he and Naughty Dog co-founder Andy Gavin released Crash Bandicoot in 1996, the two had decided ahead of time to release the game exclusively on PSone, because Sony was the only console on the market without a “mascot.”
Speaking with GI International, Rubin said the fledgling development firm was “aware of the difficulty, and yet completely sure,” it would be able to overcome any barriers to creating a mascot, despite Sony being new to the console business and Nintendo and SEGA already having high profile mascots such as Mario and Sonic, respectively.
“I made the audacious decision that because Nintendo and Sega already had mascots, we would make our game for the Sony PlayStation,” he said. “Sony was new to video games, and therefore, they had no legacy characters. We were in Utah after two days of solid discussion when we made the decision. Two 24-year-olds, who had never made a successful game, with all of their worldly possessions in the back of their car, were going to drive to Los Angeles, hire their first employees, figure out what made a great action game, work on their first 3D title ever, and create a compelling character and franchise.
“Then all that would remain to do would be to put in a call to Sony and tell them we had created the PlayStation mascot. It was simple, really.”
Despite such enthusiasm and conference, the duo has no way of knowing whether Sony was working on its own mascot or not, which would have “guaranteed failure.”
“Remember, at the time we were working with Universal, not Sony,” Rubin continued. “Sony had no way of knowing about what we were doing, and we had no way of knowing how they would react. Of course, who were we to attempt a game of this complexity and against such great competition? Again, to succeed as an entrepreneur takes a certain amount of blind faith, bordering on raw audacity and possibly entering the realm of stupidity.
“Andy and I had that kind of faith. By this time, we were certainly doing business planning. We had a budget, we had employees, and we had deadlines. Naughty Dog had become a business.
The first Crash Bandicoot title was released on PSone in August 1996, published by Sony and produced by Universal. The series eventually went multiplatform through various developers and now has over 18 different titles in its catalog.