About a month or so ago, I got the chance/ honor to review The Art of Spyro: Reignited Trilogy. As a lifelong Spyro fan and aspiring concept artist, this book was – well short version – absolutely incredible! It wasn’t one of those art books that end up being 70% screenshots or only 30 pages long; but rather a massive 200+ page celebration of the original Spyro trilogy. So needless to say, I wanted more. I wanted the recently announced Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time to get the same treatment! And as it turns, dreams apparently do come true!
Thanks to @WumpaGem over on Twitter, I learned that there was a listing on Amazon for The Art of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. And even though I learned this right after posting my Spyro Artbook Review, I wanted to wait a little while to (1) confirm the posting was actually legit – it’s 2020 & I have trust issues – and (2) to see if I could learn anything else. Full disclaimer, there’s not much more concrete details to go over beyond what the Amazon listing notes; HOWEVER, based on the details we see as well as what we know about Crash 4, there are some key details we can infer – with good certainty – about this book. So let’s discuss!
For starters, the cover art is NOT final. Like the stunning wrap around cover Artist Nicholas Kole designed for the Spyro art book, I’m expecting something similarly as impressive for The Art of Crash Bandicoot 4. Speaking of Nicholas Kole, he is confirmed to be working on the Crash 4 project along with another Spyro art veteran, John Loren. Though seeing as Crash 4 is being worked on by Toys For Bob, I’m expecting many – if not most – of the art team who worked on Spyro: Reignited will be back! And honestly, that fact alone is enough to make this book an instant buy for me! Though as I said at the start, sometimes an art book just doesn’t have much ‘art’ in it. How do we know if this book will be put together as lovingly as the Spyro art book?
Well the Amazon listing notes that the publisher and author are Blizzard Entertainment and Micky Neilson respectively – both of whom were the publisher / author of the Spyro Artbook. Add in the fact that the book dimensions are similarly noted as 11 x 10 inches and that there’s over 300 pages; and we can expect this one to be just as glorious and lovingly crafted as The Art of Spyro: Reignited Trilogy! That being said, there is one key difference here: Crash 4 isn’t a Remake; but an entirely new series entry!
The Art of Spyro: Reignited Trilogy didn’t have much in terms of ‘cut content’ because the artists were reimagining existing characters, levels and story. There may have been a few scrapped ‘alternate looks’ but that was about it. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time will feature a new story as well as loads of new worlds and characters so there would be even more to explore in terms of concept art since it’s being built from scratch! We could see plenty of unused concepts and levels. And the fact that this book (art from a single game) is noted as having 60+ more pages than the Spyro Artbook (art from a trilogy of games) reinforces that idea!
To further illustrate this, let’s take a look at the above screenshot of what appears to be some sort of space station level. The fine fellow looking up at Crash seems to share some facial features with Nitrous Oxide, the villain of Crash Team Racing. Could this be another member of his alien race? Does this outpost belong to Gasmoxia – the planet Oxide is from? The point I’m trying to show here is that the art of this book won’t be a simple one-to-one recreation. Rather, we might see how the artists took inspiration from all of Crash’s experiences and expanded upon them. We also must remember that we’re partially dealing with ‘alternate universes’ in this game, so there’s loads of room for the artists to play around without worry.
The Art of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is set to be released November 3rd and is available for Pre-Order on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and most other book sites. The release date places it a few weeks after the game itself, which is smart so it lessens the risk of ‘spoilers’. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for that game and this book! So stay tuned for more updates and the eventual Reviews of both!
*Note: An earlier version of this article noted the release date as October 26th; but that has since changed