Months after acquiring the rights to the Bubsy games, Atari has put out a call to any indie developer with a pitch for the long dormant series.
In a recent interview with MinnMax, Atari CEO Wade Rosen said that if a smaller studio “wanted to reach out, we’d certainly be interested in hearing those [ideas].”He advised those interested to send their pitch over to Atari via its website.
He further notedthat pitches should be “interesting, innovative, and tongue-in-cheek. The last thing anyone wants is a really generic platformer these days. […] It’s an interesting challenge, and someone’s going to crack it.”
Bubsy was a series of platformers that first began with 1993’sBubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kindfor the Sega Genesis and Super NES. After three sequels during the mid and late-90s, the franchise went dormant for over two decades, with the most recent installment being 2019’sBubsy:Paws on Fire.
By his own admission, Rosen acknowledged the mixed-to-negative response toprevious Bubsy games puts future installments in an interesting position. “How do you make a great game while also acknowledging that he’s been in less than desirable things? Eventually, a good Bubsy game needs to be made.”
The platformer genreis in an odd place
Outside of Mario and occasionally Sonic, platformers mostly fell out of favor from the late 2000s up to the mid or late 2010s. Indie studios filled inthe gap left behind by mascots like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon via original properties like Playtonic’sYooka-Layleeand Maddy Makes Games’Celeste.
Meanwhile, veteran mascots were gradually retired by their developersor shut out of their own franchises. Rayman, for example, hasn’t starred in his own game since 2013’sRayman Legends; his most recent appearance was as a DLC character in 2022’sMario + Rabbids:Sparks of Hope.
Still, some platformer characters have managed a small resurgence in recent years. Toys for Bob has kept Crash and Spyro around via remasters (and in Crash’s case, more games). And after putting the series on ice for five years, Insomniac returned to Ratchet and Clank with the 2021 gameRatchet & Clank:Rift Apart.
Another platformer character who may be back on the rise is Croc. In June, Jez San (founder of Croc’s original developer Argonaut Software) revealed an HD remaster of 1997’sCroc:Legend of the Gobboswas in development.