Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time will introduce optional challenge levels called Flashback Tapes which crank the platforming to 11 while fleshing out the history of Crash himself.
The Flashback Tapes were revealed during today's Gamescom opener, with producer Lou Studdert outlining how they fit into the game. "They are a peek back in time to the '90s when Neo Cortex was actually testing on Crash and Coco before the events of Crash Bandicoot 1," eh says. "They're these devious puzzle rooms that we've made, and they're really hard and really awesome.
"Players actually have to collect the Flashback Tapes in the levels themselves, and to pick them up, they have to reach them in the level without dying," Studdert explains. "It's kind of our homage to the death routes in the original trilogy. Players have to reach these objects in the level, pick them up, and once they get them they'll get access to these unique levels."
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"We used these as puzzle rooms, nefarious ways for Crash to really express that pure platforming aspect. Narratively, it was really cool to layer in a unique perspective. This is when Cortex is really excited about the prospect of Crash being on his team, since Crash was originally created by Cortex, so it's a weird point in time that's never really been explored in the games before."
These Flashback Tapes sound a bit like the extra strawberry levels in Celeste – super-hard bonus levels that are also pretty difficult to unlock. The remade Trilogy wasn't light on challenge in the first place, but it's cool to see Crash 4 pushing that old-school element even further.
Earlier this month, we saw new abilities and an all-new game mode (opens in new tab) for Crash 4.