You know, there’s some things in life that when it first comes to you right in the face, you’re finding yourself in total surprise, but when you reflect on it after a bit of time, you’re thinking that you should’ve seen this coming. This is one of those things.
I know this era is the Crash Bandicoot franchise is still rather young with Activision claiming to be one of its top-priority brands only just recently, but given that it’s a multiplayer-focused game in the 8th generation of consoles where long-term engagement being heavily pushed from publishers to players has become a very common thing, yeah we should’ve guessed.
During the highly-coveted season of E3 2019 and after dropping the launch trailer for the game two weeks ahead, indicating that news coverage on the content at launch has come to an end, Activision and Beenox has announced that Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled will get post-launch support through new DLC content released in a seasonal pattern, named The Grand Prix, or alternatively CTR TV.
And unlike what many should suspect from them, it’s at no extra charge from the base game you would buy. It’s entirely free! In fact, they just happened to confirm that the entirety of Nitro-Fueled, both at launch and post-launch, is microtransaction-free! Any fear we had about the Wumpa Coins system has been annihilated.
But back to the Grand Prix, this is HUGE NEWS! Not only because it proves that they’re showing a level of care, attention and dedication to this franchise that has yet to be matched but it also leaves the door open to new possibilities with this game and would be a way to cover up all of the missed opportunities for the launch content in terms of new characters, tracks and more.
When this dropped, the overload of info got my brain overwhelmed and I struggled to do a quick recap of it on my Twitter. There’s A LOT to talk about here and it deserves to be told in great detail. So let’s do so, shall we?
What Exactly is the Grand Prix?
Well, a Grand Prix is one among a soon-to-be-growing roadmap of themed seasons, each revolving around its flagship track with a set of specific challenges to complete. Among the different types of challenges you would find, it includes reaching top speed, power sliding, racing in reserve, etc. and their difficulty can vary from easy to hard.
When you finish one of the challenges, you get awarded with Nitro Points, that are pretty much experience points, which gets filled into the Nitro Gauge and it will continue to fill up when you complete more and more challenges. When you fill up the Gauge to certain levels, you unlock rewards such as new kart bodies, new character skins, new customization items and even brand new racers to play as, but we’ll get into it later.
But wait, what if I miss out on the Grand Prix, would I miss out on its rewards? No. You would still be able to unlock the new content after the season ends, as right when it begins, the content is also made available in the Pit Stop which if you don’t remember, is where you can unlock characters, kart bodies, wheels, paint jobs, decals, stickers and skins by redeeming Wumpa Coins that you earn while playing and progressing through the various components of the game like Adventure Mode. By the way, you also get awarded with Wumpa Coins when completing the Grand Prix challenges in addition to Nitro Points.
Nothing has been mentioned about the outcome of the seasonal racetracks but I’ll assume that in addition of the rest of the content being accessible in the Pit Stop, these tracks would be permanently added into the game among those that you already have access to, as soon as they’re introduced. Unless the tracks will also be found in the Pit Stop but nothing about tracks has ever been mentioned in regards to that. What we do know is that we can play them online or locally from that season on, as you only need access to the Internet to download the update.
Finally, the Grand Prix challenges are introduced through cutscenes which depicts a fictional live sports coverage channel appropriately named CTR TV, hosted by none other than Chick Gizzard Lips and co-host Stew from Crash Tag Team Racing!
Yup, they’re back! Keen eyes may have already spotted them back in the Customization trailer, but here they are fully introduced with their respective personalities you’ve come to expect from the calm and collected Chick to the eccentric quipping Stew. They’ll introduce each season and explain the different challenges to achieve and what rewards awaits you.
So yeah, with that extra story material, you could see the Grand Prix seasons as an additional campaign mode.
What About the Seasons?
We’ve been provided full details on the first two Grand Prix seasons set to enroll soon as well as a confirmation on the third season’s overall theme.
The first one to launch on July 3rd, two weeks after the game’s launch, is titled the Nitro Tour Grand Prix. And I’m happy to say that its flagship track, Twilight Tour, is brand new! Yes, you heard me right! BRAND. NEW. TRACK. A fully original track layout with visual theming that’s a mixture of the Ancient Egypt and Arabian Town levels from Crash Bandicoot: Warped.
This is the kind of track I wanted the most to be an addition to the game and I’m so glad that it’s a thing. And just like the Egyptian and Arabian levels remastered in N.Sane, it looks gorgeous! And its musical theme, which is also brand new, has a nice catchy beat and captures the oriental feel through the instruments. Come to think of it, I wonder who came up with the new compositions. Sadly not Josh Mancell, as even though he’s confirmed to be a consultant on the music, he wasn’t commissioned to come up with new pieces.
But wait, there’s more! Among the rewards to unlock, there’s a whole set of playable racers, which includes the long-requested, maybe the most requested, Tawna Bandicoot alongside the other bandicoot girls formerly known as the Trophy Girls, that being Isabella, Ami, Liz and Megami.
The thing is now, all five of them has been formed into a band of dedicated professional racers hailing from all over the world known as the Nitro Squad! This is highlighted by their new wardrobe of motorsport outfits which you can unlock as skins either by fueling on Nitro Points or in the Pit Stop.
May I comment that not only we should be grateful that the Trophy Girls has majorly upgraded from their original positions as… well, trophy girls but also that the idea of Tawna turning to a career of motorsports after the events of Crash 1 and that being canon is just lovely to me! She just rocks that outfit and that pigtail!
Oh oh, one more thing about them. This game will mark the first time ever where these characters get speaking lines, as when you look at some of the E3 gameplay like this one, you can hear them talk. Well, mainly Tawna and personally, her voice is quite fitting. Although I now doubt it’s Debi Derryberry voicing her again which I may remind she provided grunts for her in N.Sane.
To close up on that first season, among the plethora of rewards to earn, you’re also offered the chance to unlock a new kart body inspired by “Le Chaux” from Crash Tag Team Racing.
Now, when it comes to the second season to follow, the Back N. Time Grand Prix, we’re a lot more short on details since this one wasn’t showcased extensively at E3.
What we do know so far is that the flagship track is another brand new one inspired by Warped, that being Prehistoric Playground which its theme is undoubtedly taken from the prehistoric levels. Also, that season will include its own set of new racers which naturally includes our dinosaur buddy Baby-T as well as… Baby Crash & Coco??
Yeah, from the sound of it, that would be some pretty unseen stuff. And from my personal take, perhaps a gleeful jab at the abundance of baby characters in Mario Kart. However, we could theorize this could be Crash & Coco as normal animals before they got hit by the Evolvo-Ray. If so, it’s definitely interesting. But why didn’t they go with Baby Cortex & Tropy? Who knows?
Oh, and among the rewards, you get to unlock another kart body inspired by the “Probulot 2000”, again from Crash Tag Team Racing.
And finally, we have the third season where although details about its challenges, rewards and specific set of characters is unknown for the moment, we do know its overall theme. And it’s going to lead to yet another crossover event in the Crash franchise’ history with our favorite purple dragon. Yup, it’s the Spyro Grand Prix alright!
Now, there’s no doubts that Spyro the Dragon himself will be a playable racer and we can easily assume that we’re getting yet another brand new track centered around its respective universe as previous leaks with concept art of a Spyro-themed finish line from long ago would hint at. However, given that previous seasons each provides a set of multiple racers and not just one, it’s not far-fetched to assume that side characters from the Spyro universe would also become racers as well, Hunter the Cheetah being a safe bet.
And that’s about it when it comes to the Grand Prix seasons confirmed to be in the works so far. Beenox has stated that even more seasons will be enrolled after this but how long will this post-launch support will go is anyone’s guess. I assume it will entirely depend on the game’s commercial performance at launch, which given the anticipation sounds highly promising.
But there’s one more exciting tidbit I would like to note about the Grand Prix seasons and it’s that, according to the updated fact sheet and Facebook E3 stream, we will eventually get to see not only the playable racers from Crash Tag Team Racing, which are Nina, Pasadena and Von Clutch respectively (hooray!) but also tracks “inspired” from that same game.
It sounds to me that these inspired tracks would be using the locations and scenery from CTTR but with a different layout that’s much more accommodated to CTR’s gameplay with boosts, drifts and jumps. Which would be a much better option than straight re-doing them as the original CTTR tracks are so basic that if you removed the tag team gameplay aspect, they would be really really boring to race through.
Well, that’s a wrap! This is the last time that I’m covering news in one recap for this game, as its release date draws closer and closer. It’s actually just a little more than a week away as I’m writing this.
I’ll also take a break from social media for a while so you won’t hear anything from me until the end of June, where I should publish my review of CTR Nitro-Fueled which focuses on its solo and local multiplayer components. I’ll also write quick impressions on the online component and seasonal content afterwards.
With that said, enjoy your day!
This is the Wumpa Gem, signing out!