The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is remaking the first three games in the Spyro series, bringing them to current consoles and giving them a major graphics overhaul, but the games are getting more than just a fresh coat of paint.
At E3 2018, I was able to get a closer look at the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. Peter Kavik, senior producer at Toys for Bob, was on hand to talk about the process that went into recreating the games, and some of the tools the team used behind the curtain in order to recreate the feel of the original games.
The team created an internal tool called the Spyroscope, Kavik told me, or “Spyro under a microscope.” Built on top of an emulator of the game, Spyroscope was able to figure out the exact placement of enemies, the exact number of gems that would appear, and the exact height Spyro could jump, among other things. In other words, all the math, all the parameters of the base games were there, and the team just had to build on top of it. The goal, I was told, is for players to be able to pick up and play with the same muscle memory from the original games.
With the original gameplay locked in, the team was then able to work on adding more to the world around Spyro. One of the areas I toured was part of Nevin’s castle, from the original Spyro the Dragon. In the original game, the castle is pretty plain, and Nevin doesn’t do much more than warn Spyro about the boss ahead. In the Reignited Trilogy, however, Nevin has a lot more personality. He’s an artist, and the walls of his castle are decorated with paintings he’s made. When talking to Nevin himself, his all new-animations show off his somewhat flamboyant, artistic side, adding more backstory to what was, before, a pretty plain castle and dragon.
That same idea—to simply add a little more, or go a bit more in depth, without changing the actual gameplay—has been expanded to most parts of the game. The original score has been rebuilt, but now has little tweaks to make it more dynamic; if Spyro stands still or enters a cave, the music grows quieter, and if he enters a boss fight, more instruments join the mix to make it more bombastic. Similar work was done on the sound effects. Where many of the original sound effects were compressed for the original PlayStation, they’ve now been restructured with different layered sounds to round them out. Characters, like Nevin, gain added animations when they talk, and even Spyro has been made a bit more bouncy to make him seem like the little kid he really is.
A few other quality of life changes have made their way into the game. Players can move the camera around using the right stick, something that’s common practice now but wasn’t around for the original Spyro the Dragon. Save Fairies have also been made quicker; reaching one will now auto-save your progress, instead of having to go through a button sequence and dialogue to save the game. For players who want a game that’s completely true to the original, however, these quality of life changes can be turned off.
It looks like a lot of love and care is going into the Spryo Reignited Trilogy, aiming to make games that are as close to the originals as possible, but with added polish and detail. For any older fans wanting to return without digging out an original PlayStation, or for any new fans who never got the chance, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is looking like a pretty great way to meet Spyro.