The carpet riding polar bear Crash randomly faces in "Ice Station Bandicoot" is recycled from the prototype version of the level, where it would have been an enemy on platforming area below.
The final ending in which Crunch is inexplicably knocked out and unbrainwashed next to Crash abides by an earlier scripted ending in which Crash directly fights Crunch and Cortex smashes his control panel in a fit. In the boss of the game itself you spend most of the time hitting Cortex, with Crunch still conscious by the end of the battle, leaving the ending making less sense.
The Other Darrin: Debi Derryberry plays Coco Bandicoot from this game onwards. Corey Burton also plays N Gin and N Tropy.
As this early test animation demonstrates, The Wrath of Cortex was meant to be more revolutionary under Mark Cerny's direction, taking on a more wide open level design. After a fall out with Cerny however, VU handed the project over to Traveller's Tales, asking for a more conventional Crash platformer in a twelve month deadline. Developers still toyed with Cerny's ideas beforehand however, remains of unused areas and concepts actually still exist in the final version's memory (and in cases such as "Crash and Burn" and "Ice Station Bandicoot" were disguised inside the final more conventional level designs). Traveller's Tales director Jon Burton made note of Cerny's original plans:
Burton: Mark Cerny's original feedback to my design said "Crash 5 should keep the very simple fixed camera, but freer now because the polygon limitations are less extreme. That means linear paths and semi-open areas, with the camera now freer to track Crash. Keeping the focused gameplay of Crash is a special challenge in this context.". So when Mark was involved the game originally was to be "semi-open". When Sony lost the rights Universal asked us to make it more like a traditional Crash game.
Other features such as a multiplayer mode and in-level mini bosses were also considered, but quickly dropped.
The game was also set to be released on the Sega Dreamcast before its production ceased.
Troubled Production: Mark Cerny was pulled out of the project rather quickly in, with Universal pushing for a recreation of the original games for the next generation consoles within a year of development time.