Warning: This post contains possible spoilers from the game, so be warned about other types of spoilers that you may find online!
(See the bottom part of the post and highlight the text at your own risk if you are willing to see important information with UC4 spoilers..)
Before “It’s that time of the year again”, let’s talk about a little good recap (other than the one from me, BetaM, some that dude, or another, etc), now its time to look at a combination of them, from JumpButton and Hexa on NeoGAF
Okay, let’s get on to the non spoiler-ish parts of the posts:
The first Crash Kart game on iOS was the top selling game app for several years in a row.
Since people STILL apparently don’t understand this:
Sony had a publishing contract for Crash 1, 2, Warped, Team Racing, and Bash.
They have no usage rights for them. And while I can’t say for SURE, this contract is presumably the reason that when they distribute the games AS IS, the copyright text is the copyright text that is already listed on the games, with Universal Interactive Studios, as the contract would most likely not be altered thereafter.
There were rumors (which were alluded to in an official capacity somewhere, unless I’m remembering totally wrong) that Activision was the reason it couldn’t be put out on Vita in NA regions.
If you need any more evidence, Naughty Dog used exclusively art from Crash 1-TR in their Art book. Art that they own and created (and some by Charles Zembillas and Joe Pearson, who are ALSO credited). They still had to credit Activision for their ownership of Crash Bandicoot.
If all the content in the first few games was owned by Sony just because they had the publishing and distribution contract, he wouldn’t have to jump through all the hoops to deal with Activision to release music HE WROTE. If it was Sony-owned, they’d have been released by now.
No matter who ‘made the content’ or whether it’s new or not, it’s ACTIVISION’S PROPERTY under the current trademarks.
Now, onto the spoiler-ish parts:
Anybody who has REALLY played the first Crash game can look at the Uncharted 4 segments and tell you CONFIDENTLY that it’s not the same code, and it’s only partially the same art. The physics are different, the crates act differently, it’s just NOT Crash 1. It’s a convincing approximation but it’s NOT emulated, and it’s NOT ported, which would IMMEDIATELY disqualify them from saying “Hey, we made this one, it’s ours” even if they DID have that level of usage rights, which they DO. NOT. HAVE.
They are using the Crash Bandicoot LOGO. Nate SAYS the WORDS “Crash Bandicoot”. Regardless of the game content, the logo and name are Activision’s IP regardless.
Another example of Activision’s full ownership: The Uncharted 4 segment uses Crash Bandicoot 1 music. This is ACTUALLY the BEST example of how Activision owns the first several games, now that I think of it: Josh Mancell, the composer of the music for Crash 1 through Team Racing, has been trying to work with a label to release the Crash Bandicoot music on CD and digitally — he has been unable to because Activision has not been working with him. Sony has told him that they do not own the music or content from the games, as well.
The fact they are not listed under the Uncharted 4 credits as owning it is VERY FUCKING SUSPECT when they are listed in the fucking art book, and 10 months ago, Naughty Dog members said that the fucking segment was IMPOSSIBLE (VERBATIM, mind you), for the very reason that they “didn’t own it”. The segment is IN THERE NOW. What does that imply to you? What else could people POSSIBLY ascertain from that wording and the resulting segment BEING in the game?
This is a fantastic post. I’m going to expand on it a bit, primarily related to the spoiled portions, so I’m just spoiler tagging everything.
The reason its important to enforce having some sort of trademark message in new works when something is licensed is that it provides an easy defense against naked licencing accusations. Naked licencing essentially means allowing a licencor to use a mark in a new work without exercising any control over said work, and can result in a loss of the mark. This happening is pretty rare, but major corporations aren’t known to take chances, and just having a requirement to throw in a “______ is a trademark of _____” when licencing is really simple, so in general it pretty much always a guarantee. Hence, for it to not be there in UC4 with Activision still holding rights would be incredibly bizarre if this is from a third party deal.
Second, what constitutes a new work. Ultimately licencing agreements aren’t set in stone and offer an incredible amount of flexibility. We may never know what exactly the full rights are of what Sony owns with the first three Crash games, but based on their comments earlier we can guess that it’s pretty limited when it comes to new works. Would Crash in UC4 count as a new work. It’s significantly different from the PS1 version in terms of code and even somewhat in terms of content. Could they argue in court that it’s the same work? They could… and I guess I can see somewhat of an argument, though I personally think they’d lose. But at the end of the day, none of that matters because as I said, big corporations don’t take risks with this stuff when it comes to other big corporations. They always work out some sort of deal beforehand, and said deal should involve crediting Activision.
Lastly, while TESS is updated daily on weekdays, who ultimately own a trademark in the USPTO database at some specified time doesn’t necessarily mean that the mark still belongs to them as they just need to file the paperwork within a reasonable time frame. However, Boyes said it still belongs to Activision. But the thing with UC4 is already there. So that would mean that there would have to be some sort of agreement involving licensing leading up to a transfer, but that’s also something really strange and something I’ve never seen before. Plus, it’s something they really didn’t have to do, as pretty much the only benefit of such a deal would be that Boyes could claim “Activision still owns Crash”, which really isn’t necessary. Another alternative is that they set the date of transfer to the UC4 release date, but that’s been delayed a good amount and agreements such as these are usually more set in stone before hand.
So ultimately, there is definitely something fucky going on with the Crash IP. It could just be a long series of coincidences teasing wise followed by Naughty Dog making a pretty dumb blunder in terms of accreditation for a deal that was supposedly hard to obtain a year before hand, but personally I believe pretty strongly that Crash is coming back.