From a gamesindustry.biz
interview with Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin
Naughty Dog made the decision to not renew its deal with Universal Interactive. By the time that Crash 3 rolled around, Universal's role had shrunk to nothing. Sony was financing and publishing the games, and additionally providing valuable worldwide production advice. Mark Cerny, who started at Universal and was a large contributor to Crash's success, had become an independent contractor and continued to work with us. And, of course, Naughty Dog was doing the heavy lifting of developing the titles. Universal was simply being paid for the intellectual property rights.
Andy and I decided that we were not willing to split the developers' share of revenue with an entity which was contributing nothing to the mix, which was extremely difficult to work with, and which was actively trying to take credit for Crash's success. So, we announced that we were not renewing our contract and we were leaving the lot after Crash 3. At that point, Universal Interactive's management lost their minds.
We were forced to develop Crash 3 in the hallways of their offices. Although they still had a contract to give us office space, they decided to make our lives as miserable as possible. We were under extreme deadlines for a Christmas release, so we couldn't move the team in the middle of the project. We had to stay in those hallways until the game was done. Naughty Dog was working 16- to 20-hour days that year with no weekends. To make matters worse, Universal refused to pay for the air conditioning in their offices, and thus their hallways, after hours. Los Angeles summers, especially in the San Fernando Valley, are extremely hot. At night, and especially during the weekend, the heat on the thirty-fourth floor passed 100 degrees. This is not an exaggeration. We had to buy thermometers and measure the temperature constantly because the heat was affecting more than our comfort. Our servers were going down because the internal temperatures of the hard drives were going over 130 degrees. And the building wouldn't let us bring in portable airconditioning units, so we were forced to cool the servers by blowing air over a bucket of ice with a fan. That solved the problem until we managed to disguise an air-conditioning unit as a mini-refrigerator and sneak it in.
I could tell endless tales of Universal Interactive's spite and contractual misbehavior that year, but that's all history. They tried to break us. They couldn't. Although we all worked shirtless at desks in hallways that year, we got Crash 3 done. To put all of this in perspective, Crash 3 was guaranteed to make Universal hundreds of millions of dollars in profit. Yet, as a company, they didn't have the decency to accept our decision as independents to chart our own destiny. And they were vindictive enough to risk their financial windfall had their nonsense caused us to fail. If Universal had been more humane and reasonable, it is possible that Naughty Dog would still be making Crash products today.
Two of the levels in the game, Ski Crazed
and Rings of Power
, are named after two Naughty Dog
games of the same name
References to the Game
In an episode of the WB
(season 2, episode 5), Noel and Elena become obsessed with this game for the entirety of the episode.
Information also contributed by
- Game Informer Magazine
- August 2001 (Issue 100) - #26 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
- Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (Entertainment Software Association Germany)
- 1999 - Gold Award for selling more then 100,000 (but less then 200,000) units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland