Reigniting Spyro: How Toys For Bob Remade a Legend
The team at Toys For Bob has been thrilled and honored to be able to play our part in the Spyro universe, and we can’t wait to share Spyro Reignited Trilogy with the world when it launches on PS4 November 13. Since the launch is just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to give you some perspective from team members here about their experiences working on these beloved games.
Peter Kavic (Senior Producer)
What has been your favorite part of bringing the first three Spyro games back to life in the Reignited Trilogy?
Peter: For me, it’s probably the degree of inspiration and passion this game brought out in the team and the fans!
When you get to go into a discussion with the team, for instance, that ‘enemy X in level Y should be reacting sassy, but cautiously, because A, B, and C is going on with other enemies and NPCs in the level’… you’re transported to this place of creative depth and problem solving.
In instances like these, the team was able to rely on their experiences with the original games to infuse additional humor and help make the world feel more lived-in. Add to that the stories of how Spyro and his adventures have meant so much to so many people over the years… people doing some amazing fan art, getting tattoos, and sharing opinions so we can make the experience feel as accurate as possible.
On a personal level, that all was fuel to make thoughtful decisions and keep the player experience at the forefront – that’s easily my favorite part.
What do you think the fans will be most surprised about when they get their hands on the Reignited Trilogy on November 13?
Peter: It’s gotta be that pang of fond memories – it’s profound! There’s a reason these games are so beloved, and having them fully scaled up on today’s consoles just makes it clear that the Reignited Trilogy is a really memorable experience.
Stephan Vankov (Music Remixer)
How did you approach bringing the soundtrack of the original Spyro games back for the Reignited Trilogy?
Stephan: The original Spyro trilogy holds a special place in people’s hearts, and a large part of that is due to Stewart Copeland’s memorable, bold, and innovative soundtrack. We felt a great responsibility in making sure we shepherd his amazing music into a new generation with care and respect in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. So, setting out on the Reignited Trilogy, we had an interesting challenge on our hands – how do we give players a new way of experiencing the themes they love so much, while staying true to the original music’s intention and style which gave the franchise so much color and vibrancy.
What was the process to make sure you achieved this?
Stephan: To create the “reignited” music, we reconstructed all 120+ themes from the original trilogy, transcribing each piece note-by-note. This gave us the flexibility to update some of the instrumentation and also gave us access to individual instrument parts for use in our dynamic music system, which allowed us to add a whole new dimension to the music experience. Our goal during the production process was to stay faithful to the energy, feel, and instrumentation which gave the original music its distinct flavor, such that without a direct A/B comparison most fans wouldn’t immediately recognize that it’s been touched.
We met with Stewart several times throughout the project to share progress, and we think we even managed to trick his ears on a couple of tracks! In general, our mantra was “how would Stewart make this music sound, were he composing it with today’s tools?” In most cases, we strictly used the original music as goal-posts, constantly switching back and forth to make sure our rendition was capturing the essence of the composition accurately.
In cases where appropriate, we referenced the awesome level art that our team was creating to see if we could gently nudge the composition in a direction that would better match the aesthetic of the remastered levels.
Exclusive clip from the Frozen Altars realm in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, showcasing the remastered soundtrack
What was it like working with such a beloved soundtrack, and getting feedback from such an iconic musician as Stewart Copeland?
Stephan: Working with Stewart Copeland throughout the project was an amazing experience. He’s such an approachable, fun guy, and his enthusiasm is infectious. This energy permeates the music he has created for the original Spyro trilogy and we wanted to make sure that our work accurately captured this spirit.
So, we met with him several times throughout the project to share progress and get his feedback. We also showed him what we were doing with dynamic music and were happy to find out that there were discussions about having dynamic music in the original games but they were unable to achieve it at the time due to technical limitations.
We’re honored to bring such an iconic soundtrack into a new generation, and we think fans too will appreciate the love and care that’s been poured into the Spyro Reignited Trilogy music experience.
Jan Stec (Senior Technical Designer), Russell Vaccaro (Senior UI Artist):
Why do you think fans connect so much with these games, and particularly, with the Spyro character?
Russell: Players really like that Spyro is an underdog, he is a small dragon that is taking on the world. For me, playing Spyro makes me feel like when I was younger, fun, carefree and courageous. There’s something timeless about a journey like that!
Jan: I think it comes down to creating lasting memories. Character-based games create deep connections between players and protagonists, because we’re bringing those characters to life as we play. Spyro in particular is super playful and fun to move around, and I think those feelings of happy muscle memories are really sticky, even 20 years later.
When fans saw the announcement for the Reignited Trilogy, all those feelings came back, and though we each experienced the original games in our own way, we’re all bound by the same happiness. When I’m walking around with a Spyro shirt on, I’ll get excited comments from complete strangers from all walks of life. We don’t know anything about each other, except that we share the same happy memories. Isn’t that wonderful?
Above all, what is the one thing that you hope the fans take away from the Reignited Trilogy?
Russell: I hope people feel like we were honoring the original games, because we loved these games, too.
I got to work on a game that inspired me when I was younger and hope we did its justice for today’s audience. If I had to boil it down, the details that we wanted to fold in, like the minimap across the three games or the different color theming between the titles, that you can see on the game select screen… little touches like that were our way of adding life. It felt like we got to restore a treasure of the past.
Jan: We hope both returning fans and newcomers feel the same magic and sense of wonder we all felt 20 years ago when we first played Spyro The Dragon, through the amount of love, passion, and attention to detail that we put into bringing him back to life. It really mattered to us that this was done the best possible way, because we’re huge Spyro fans as well!
On a personal note, I hope fans enjoy how Spyro controls in the game. When reimagining Spyro’s controls, our goal was to design them in a way that felt familiar, yet fresh and modern.
In addition to nailing details like how high he jumps or how fast he runs, there was a lot of art, math, and magic put into modernizing how the player interacts with Spyro, and how Spyro interacts with the world. Some things will obviously change in a remake, but the magic stays the same!