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New Crash Team Rumble hero is the non-binary Bowie-inspired Catbat

"A rock star that breaks certain expectations."

Toys For Bob has unveiled a new character coming to Crash Team Rumble: the non-binary, David Bowie-inspired Catbat.

Crash Team Rumble is a multiplayer game launching across PlayStation and Xbox later this month and is the first time the studio has added its own heroes into the series.

Catbat is a lover of rock 'n' roll and an escaped prisoner of main antagonist Dr. Neo Cortex, and has been introduced with a comic story. They will also be voiced by Erika Ishii, the genderfluid actor who voices Valkyrie in Apex Legends.

Crash Team Rumble - Reveal TrailerWatch on YouTube

"On the art side, [we had] an interest in this concept, aesthetically, of a David Bowie-like character," co-studio head Paul Yan told Kotaku. "A rock star that breaks certain expectations and has a confidence and flair that is just magnetic.

"Aesthetically, Bowie had this kind of rock star androgynous look that we really loved. As we started to flesh out that character and its design, and we finally got to a 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 a 'Hey, guys, we need to get together and have a meeting about this.' It was a very organic way of describing that character and that just sat with us throughout."

With Catbat, Toys for Bob wanted to capture confidence and flair. Catbat's origins are also similar to Crash, as a victim of Cortex's experiments.

That origin can be seen in a digital comic available on Kotaku, in which Catbat escapes Cortex's lab and finds solace in rock music.

As for how Catbat will play, the character was designed to show off vertical movement through flight, taking advantage of the game's open arenas.

"[After] Crash 4 we were more careful in our metrics to make sure that everything was really, really tight because it's a very controlled experience," said creative director Dan Neil. "There was a great excitement within the team moving into Crash Team Rumble with the more open arenas to allow players a sense of mobility and looseness in their capacity to get high in the air that Catbat provides."

Crash Team Rumble is an arena game in which two teams of four gather Wumpa Fruit and defend goals against the opposition. The game leaked back in March ahead of its reveal.

"I think Crash Team Rumble, at its core, is a multiplayer game focused on an expanding cast of heroes, and we want to make sure that as that cast grows, it covers new ground," said Yan. "Whether that's mechanically in a design space, aesthetically, its silhouette, its colour space. And I think gender representation is just another vector here that we want to explore in that cast as it grows."

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