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Crash 4 Developer Toys for Bob Is Officially Going Indie

Amid mass layoffs, studio closures, and general industry uncertainty, today began with a handful of studios and companies reclaiming control of their own destinies. We learned this morning that Saber Interactive and Gearbox are reportedly breaking free of Embracer Group. And now, it looks like Crash Bandicoot developer Toys for Bob has sprung free of Activision and Microsoft.

The studio announced this news via a blog post today, stating that Toys for Bob would be spinning off into indie development in an effort to return to its roots.

Over the years, we've inspired love, joy, and laughter for the inner child in all gamers. We pioneered new IP and hardware technologies in Skylanders. We raised the bar for best-in-class remasters in Spyro Reignited Trilogy. We’ve taken Crash Bandicoot to innovative, critically acclaimed new heights.
With the same enthusiasm and passion, we believe that now is the time to take the studio and our future games to the next level. This opportunity allows us to return to our roots of being a small and nimble studio.

While going independent would notable deprive Toys for Bob of its access to the IPs its become known for - Crash Bandicoot and Spyro especially - it sounds like there might be hope for those series after all. Toys for Bob goes on to state that it's currently exploring "a possible partnership between our new studio and Microsoft" and adds that both Microsoft and Activision are "extremely supportive" of its new direction. While Toys for Bob's first project as an indie studio is apparently "in the early days" still, it's possible this could bear fruit as a revival of Crash, Spyro, or another IP that Toys for Bob has become known and beloved for.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows. 86 employees were let go earlier this year as part of broader cuts at Xbox, and its physical studio in Novato, California has shut down. It's possible Toys for Bob's move to independent development was part of a broader move to save the studio long-term, and didn't come without a heavy cost.

Toys for Bob was first founded way back in 1989 as a joint effort between Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford. The two oversaw the studio through its development of the Star Control series, and a handful of Disney licensed titles. Following a lengthy partnership with Crystal Dynamics, Toys for Bob was acquired by Activision in 2005 and went on to develop the Skylanders games, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. Reiche and Ford left the studio in 2020, leaving Paul Yan and Avery Lodato in charge. Since then, Toys for Bob has largely worked as a support studio on multiple Call of Duty games.

Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to rvalentine@ign.com.

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