First non-binary Crash Bandicoot character makes their debut

First non-binary Crash Bandicoot character makes their debut
Images via Activision

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Published 

8th Jun 2023 12:08

The Crash Bandicoot family is growing, as Activision's long-running franchise is adding its first non-binary character. Crash, Tawna, and Coco are welcoming Catbat with open arms. There's no better month than Pride Month to fly the flag proudly for non-binary representation. 

Crash Bandicoot first spun onto the PlayStation back in 1996, and since it's humble start under Naughty Dog, it's now evolved to become a AAA franchise from Activision - even if we're still waiting for an official announcement of Crash 5. We've met a kooky cast of characters over the years, but who is Catbat?

Catbat is Crash Bandicoot's first non-binary character

Catbat Non-Binary Crash Bandicoot
Click to enlarge

Speaking to Kotaku, Toys For Bob Creative Director Dan Neil and Co-Studio Head Paul Yan explained Catbat's importance and how they fit into the upcoming roster of Crash Team Rumble. Spreading their wings for the online multiplayer, Catbat is apparently a David Bowie-inspired creation for the franchise.

"On the art side, [we had] an interest in this concept, aesthetically, of a David Bowie-like character," said Yan. "A rock star that breaks certain expectations and has a confidence and flair that is just magnetic." As for how Catbat was created, Yan described it as a "very organic process."

He says Catbat's origins are similar to Crash himself, albeit with an "angstier twist" at the hands of Dr Neo Cortex's experiments. "I think that one thing that was interesting for us to tell was how different that relationship is in terms of how Crash Bandicoot sees Neo Cortex," says Yan.

"Catbat almost has a resentment for their origin and, through this build-up of a confrontation, figures out that they are their own person and they're born out of kindness from a stranger." Kotaku unveiled a digital comic that gives you more about Catbat's origin. 

As for Catbat being non-binary, Character Designer Nicholas Kole said he'd always envisioned Catbat as non-binary from the design stage, but wasn't sure whether their queerness would stick after he left the company. 

The internet responds to Catbat

As you can imagine, there are the usual grumbles of needing "straight pride" and accusations of virtue signalling, but for many, Catbat is an important addition to the Crash series. Of course, we've seen more representation with the likes of Apex Legends' Bloodhound and even the titular Hollow Knight being non-binary.

One fan cheered, "Honestly, if the mere existence of this character bothers you and is enough to make you quit the franchise, you didn't care about the franchise to begin with. I promise you won't be missed." Another added, "They are the moment Also I gotta love their anatomically correct wings."

A third said, "A non-binary characters actually good it shows that as a society we are evolving and excepting people for who they are," and a fourth questioned, "They look sick as hell Maybe could show up in Skylanders in the future?"

Catbat is voiced by Erika Ishii, a genderfluid actor who uses all pronouns. You might know them as the voice of Valkyrie from Apex Legends. In a world where we can have a dingo merged with crocodile, some of you are mad about a non-binary character...go figure.

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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