The release of Crash Team Rumble is just a few weeks away, a multiplayer board game that will feature several classic Crash Bandicoot characters such as Coco, Dingodile, Tawna and the main man himself. However, developer Toys For Bob took the opportunity to introduce a new character of their own with this title, which we actually know very little about given how close the launch actually is – Catbat.
We’ve known about Catbat for a while thanks to several gameplay demos, but Toys For Bob expanded on the character’s story and creation in a recent interview with Kotaku. In this interview, creative director Dan Neil and co-head of the studio Paul Yan confirm that Catbat is non-binary and that Crash Team Rumble will refer to the character with the pronoun they/them. This makes Catbat the first non-binary character in the history of the Crash Bandicoot series.
The original character artist for Catbat, Nicholas Kole, stated on Twitter late last year that he envisioned the character as non-binarybut he wasn’t sure if Toys For Bob would keep their gender after they leave the studio in 2021. Thankfully, Toys For Bob seems happy to have some non-binary representation in the series, even explaining that it helps at the David Bowie-inspired design that the studio is trying to channel.
“The concept from the art side of things was this attraction to a David Bowie-like character,” explains Yan. “Aesthetically, Bowie had this androgynous rock star look that we really liked. As we started to refine this character and his design, we finally got to the point [where] we had a model sheet, as a team we started referring to Catbat as ‘they’ and it was a very natural thing. It wasn’t ‘Hey guys, we need to get together and have a meeting about this.’ It was a very organic way of describing this character, and it stayed with us throughout.”
Yan explains that Toys For Bob wanted Catbat to be “a rock star who defies certain expectations and has a confidence and sense that’s downright magnetic,” and used David Bowie as an initial inspiration. In fact, Catbat’s story largely revolves around their discovery of music when they escape from Cortex’s lab and are saved by their love of rock and roll. It’s very silly, but it’s what you’d expect from a series like Crash Bandicoot.
At the end of the day – even if you’re not all that interested in Crash Team Rumble – it’s great to see that the series is more LGBTQ+, and that the big names at Toys For Bob like Neil and Yan are confirming that. Crash Bandicoot has always had a unique cast of characters and it looks like Catbat will be another great addition.
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