Fans of Spyro are in for a treat. Toy for Bob’s ambitious remake of the first three games in his, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, is an absolute joy to play, featuring a gorgeous new art style, an improved soundtrack, and the same classic gameplay we adored from back in the day.
We got the chance to go hands-on with the game at E3, as well as sit down with the senior producer at Toys for Bob Peter Kavic. He told us a bit more about Spyro Reignited Trilogy and how they are bringing the games back for a more modern audience.
“It’s really a love letter to fans,” says Kavic, when asked about the team’s philosophy. “We love this character and we have a history at Toys for Bob with Spyro, so the chance on his 20th Birthday to bring him back and the original stories that people fell in love was really alluring for us.” Toys for Bob were responsible for the Skylanders’ games featuring Spyro, so their passion for the purple dragon is clear.
We played a selection of three stages as part of the demo, including the levels Toasted, Tree Tops, and Sunny Flight. All three were quite different from each other, with Tree Tops introducing super jumps and Sunny Flight giving us a closer look at the flying controls. It all felt super intuitive, with Sunny Flight in particular packing a satisfying challenge, even for our seasoned platforming skills.
Arguably the first thing that really stands out about Spyro Reignited Trilogy is the revamped graphics. The game has an outstanding new art direction that expands on the visuals from the originals with new environmental and character art.
When we freed dragons in the levels, we were pleasantly surprised to see that they have new characteristics. The dragon Nevin in the stage Toasted, for example, is now a painter, with his art being scattered around as new decoration for the world. We even managed to find a self-portrait while out exploring. Kavic told us that this would be a thread throughout the different stages and that there would dragons dressed up as Baristas and sculptors too, giving the world more character.
“We were able to really embellish on what the world’s feel like and do things to make them feel more lived in,” states Kavic. He uses the example of the new reactive environment. While running through grass in the levels, it will respond to your movement, something that wasn’t possible in the original games.
This also applies to the music too. Stewart Copeland, the accomplished musician and drummer from The Police, composed the soundtrack for the first three Spyro games. His soundtrack returns, but this time with added layers of reactivity and detail. While traversing the levels, the music will change subtly depending on where you are and what you are doing.
In regards to the gameplay, however, it was more a case of staying the same and trying to recapture the feeling of those first three games. The team at Toys for Bob didn’t have access to the original source code, so they have had to carry out painstaking research in order to achieve this. They used emulators and a tool called SpyroScope, which they describe as a Spyro microscope, to achieve this. It’s safe to say that they have succeeded.
“There’s part of the experience that you just break if you aren’t being faithful,” says Kavic. “It’s really important that we respected those elements. Jump heights, how long an animation plays, how Spyro soars off a super jump: all those things were the sacred elements.”
That doesn’t mean the team haven’t added some modern conveniences. The first Spyro came out before analogue sticks were widely used in games, so the team updated the game to support this control method. As well as this, the team also had conversations about the UI and making sure it stayed consistent and clean across the three included games.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is everything we ever wanted from a Spyro remake and more. It’s a beautiful and loving recreation of the first three games, bringing them into the modern generation with style. Spyro swoops onto consoles on the 21st September 2018.